Friday, January 24, 2014

St Francis of Assisi Icon

St Francis of Assisi Icon by Sue Orchison
In this image St Francis preaches to the birds who listen to his word.
Francis told the birds: "My sweet little sisters, birds of the sky, you are bound to heaven, to God, your Creator. In every beat of your wings and every note of your  songs, praise Him. He has given you the greatest of gifts, the freedom of the air. You neither sow, nor reap, yet God provides for you the most delicious food, rivers and lakes to quench your thirst, mountains and valleys for your home, tall trees to build your nests, and the most beautiful clothing: a change of feathers with every season. You and your kind were preserved in Noah's Ark. Clearly, our Creator loves you dearly, since He gives you gifts so abundantly. So please beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and always sing praise to God."
The people who witnessed Francis' sermon to the birds reported that the birds listened intently to everything Francis had to say and remained attentively gathered around Francis until he blessed them and they flew away. Famous Saints

Lord, my King and my God,
 the sparrows find a home near your altars;
    swallows build nests there to raise their young.
My soul yearns for the courtyards of the Lord. Psalm 84
The mountain represents the Spirit - where we go to the high mountain to pray.
We go to a place set apart - be that a place quietly within ourselves
or another space
where we can be still and listen to the quiet, small voice of the Lord.
Notice in this Icon of St Francis of Assisi his mouth is closed and his ears are open,
in an attitude of listening to the Lord.
The TAU Cross is depicted on the book held by St Francis
The Franciscan symbol of the "crossed arms"  depicts the arms of JESUS and Francis crossed over the TAU,
both bearing the imprint of the Crucifixion nails. Francis' arm is enclosed in the sleeve of his habit.
It is a celebration of that remarkable gift of grace which St. Francis received on Mt. Alverna, September 17th
 - the Stigmata ... the bearing in his own body of the marks of his crucified Lord.
Just before he died on October 3rd, Francis stretched out his arms over his brothers in the form of a CROSS and blessed them in the power, and in the name of their crucified Lord.
Then he told them, "I have done what was mine to do;
may Christ teach you what is yours".
An Explanation of the Tau Cross
Francis used the TAU in his writings, painted in on the walls and doors of the places where he stayed,
and used it as his only signature on his writings.
The first recorded reference to the TAU is from Ezekiel 9:4, "Go through the city of Jerusalem and put a TAU on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." The TAU is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and looks very much like the letter "T".
At the Fourth Lateran Council, on November 11, 1215, Pope Innocent made reference to the TAU and quoted the above verse in reference to the profaning of the Holy Places by the Saracens. It is widely accepted that St. Francis was present at the Fourth Lateran Council and that he heard the words of Pope Innocent III when he said, "The TAU has exactly the same form as the Cross on which our Lord was crucified on Calvary, and only those will be marked with this sign and will obtain mercy who have mortified their flesh and conformed their life to that of the Crucified Saviour. From then on, the TAU became Francis' own coat of arms.
Francis used the TAU in his writings, painted in on the walls and doors of the places where he stayed, and used it as his only signature on his writings.
Thanks to The Franciscan Web site for this wonderful information -


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