Today the Church remembers one of my heroes, St. Francis of Assisi. In a sermon last year I had the privilege to speak of the things I find so inspiring about him. He was a man who deeply desired to be faithful to Jesus and to really live the Gospel. As a result he helped the Western Church find it's true love again and started a reformation that preceeded the Protestant Reformation by 300 years. He's most commonly remembered for his love of creation which I find unfortunate because this pales in comparison to his passion for deep intimacy with Jesus. Another little known fact is his desire to peacefully share Christ with Muslims, evidenced by his crossing enemy lines during the fifth crusade to preach the Gospel to the Sultan who was so impressed that he sent him away with gifts of fruit and ice!
Today I also remember the birthday of my Great Aunt Ida, may she rest in peace and rise in glory, and had the pleasure of spending a wonderful day with her son, my cousin Gordy, and his wife Anne: walking under newly changing leaves along the lake here, touring the chapels at the seminary, ringing the Angelus together (great fun!), going to the local gelateria (fruit? ice? who says gelato isn't a Franciscan devotion!) for gelato and espresso and sharing a dinner together around our table talking about our family, their numerous and wonderful recipes and their ancestral Italy over sausage and pasta. Truly a fitting way to celebrate Aunt Ida and St. Francis.