Tag Archives: Francis

Dancing with Speeches #28 Francis of Assisi

While we can’t be completely sure St Francis gave his speech, a cosmic rhapsody, the Canticle of the Sun is attributed to the 12th century monk from Assisi and is the inspiration for this week’s dance from the vantage point of the River Murray.

Dear Friends,

I speak to you today from the banks of an ancient river, lost to the inland and often struggling to find its voice. Home to an abundance of creatures and more likely to be silenced by others than to speak for herself. She rests gently between two banks and gets separated by man-made devices who regulate her passage across the land.

The creaks in the house boat give a little, adjusting to the changing temperature as day breaks, as the earth beneath expands opening up to welcome the rays. Next comes the warmth from Brother Sun as he finds his place in the sky, settling in to cast both light and shadow. There is no place to hide, all of creation is conspiring you to applaud and rejoice in the wonder and beauty. The smallest of creatures the ants make their way to water, collecting nano drops of hydrogen and oxygen to sustain their tiny lives. The pelicans rise in formation from the fog on the river, with their head wind breaking captain pointing them to food from her vantage point. Corners of the sky compete on how blue they can be (the west is winning).

Teeming with life and promise, the day breaks confident it will unfold and ready to receive what is offered. The day brings yes and, not yes but. Here is some fresh air would you like birdsong with that? Here is some greenery, would you like all the colours of the rainbow as well? Here is some laughter, would you like sighs and crying so you know what joy is?

All affairs of the heart leave you poetically speechless, overwhelmed by the astonishing thought that you are loved back for who you are, no strings attached, unconditional, pure. When Creation sings her song to you, wooing you and wowing you with her beauty, seduction is inevitable and surrender the only option.

Rapturous and voluptuous clouds confirm Brother Sun readily accepts the instruction to shine. And in his shining, he fills every nook and cranny, finding himself slipping through cracks no one thought possible, even at times, appearing as if coming from the bowels of the earth, refracting off complicated sets of angles and mirrors masquerading as flints and glass. He banishes fog bringing clarity by burning off the clouds who get in the way, letting them fade and dissolve. Letting the sun do his work is a lesson for us at any time – light is the most powerful of all instruments when it comes to revealing truths.

Be seduced my friends and yes, surrender. Surrender to the light and to majesty. Bow down to the ants and look up to the pelicans, prostrate yourself to the sky – they are your teachers and you are their apprentice. Let the Master of the Universe with his first brother, Sun, shine in your life, into the dark and dank places to reveal the truth of who you are: full, completed and a loved piece of Creation.


PS: Long before Brother Sun was named by Francis, a mighty warrior hunted the Murray cod and made the river.

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Source accessed 9 July 2016

Spring Love

The heady scented blend of freesias, jasmine and native frangipani are inhaled and fill me with confidence that the season of spring is here. The buds on the Geraldton wax are synchronising with the roses and coming into fullness as a duet. It is however the grevilleas that support the bees and honey eaters to fill their hives and nests and bring the promise of new life, that ground me in this season of spring.

The vineyards that I see every day are beginning to green, just as the baby birds are feathering up.  It is no wonder that spring and love inspire poets, writers, composers, artists – spring and love were made for each other.

In the beautiful new collection of Australian Love Poems 2013 there is a haiku from one of Australia’s greatest living poets and lyricists, Paul Kelly writes:

Time is elastic

Together, days disappear

Apart, seconds crawl.

Distilled in new words, the essence of the longing of separation and the eternity of union is the duet of spring and love. I can’t really imagine one without the other – the blossom,  the expectation, the sanctity.

Keeping yourself in springtime and in love is knowing that the seasons all give way to one another in a virtuous cycle. It is one of the reasons I have loved living near vineyards, which I have fortunately been able it do most if my life. The seasons unfold and remind me of all the lessons of life – pruning, renewal, harvest, rest, new beginnings from old growth.

The attraction of spring can also mask the reason it is here – to herald a new era and to let the old season pass. It is seductive to want to be in springtime all the time … and it is not possible.  What is possible is to know that spring comes and love comes back to life even when it might have looked dead.

I am constantly falling in love, with new ideas, new stories, old stories, new people, people who have been with me for a long time and each time spring turns up I fall in love with spring too.  I sprout some new shoots, or birth a new part of my being, or breath in deeper to inhale the new fruits take  shape.

As I enjoy the spring, my God is getting bigger and there is more than enough room in the nest for everyone.

The seeds sown in the dark, are all finding their way to greet the light on the surface and are dancing now as new life in the sunshine and being soaked every now and again by the heavy seasonal showers.  I have even been kept awake by this full moon, insisting I remain vigilant to springtime and love.

The Canticle of the Sun by Francis of Assisi must have been written for this time and it is with great joy that I too can proclaim:  “so much in love with all that I survey” this spring.  His namesake in Rome is announcing spring; just as clearly as the magpie does; and like the maggie, is swooping down from the nest to remind us that spring is here and it is time to protect all that we love that is in the nest. Morality anxiety must give way to Big Love.

My favourite blessing to sing is the Long Time Sun Song and I offer it to all you who are reading this blog so that you too might have your spring enriched.

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