i’ve been talking so much about my hero, St. Francis. He says it is making him SICK! “Sono Stanco di Francesco” is the way he puts it! “I am sick and tired of Francis!”
Yes, he and i often chat. Anyone who has been to the Portiuncola in Assisi, the Home of Franciscanism, will hold the little big man forever within. i called my website “The Adventures of FriarDad,” because although i was a friar-priest for many years, now i’m a father to six. And though “i left my heart with San Francisco,” he travels by my side wherever i go. The Irish say, “The Irish never leave Ireland; they take Ireland with them!”
So, this morning, after his grand worldwide Feast, St. Francis says to me – in beautiful Italian, of course – “NON PIU SU DI ME! Se si vuole dire al mondo la mia semplice messagio, quindi blogga di dogga.” i say, “WHAT!? i get the first part (“No more about me. If you want to tell the world my simple message, then…) WHAT?!” He points to my beagle, Rudy, BLOGGA DI DOGGA! OOOHHH! Blog the Dog!
Now there is exactly what we were talking about yesterday, about Creation Mirroring the Creator! You can’t get much closer than in a dog. If you want to stare into the eyes of God, just look for a while into your dog’s. My good friend, Giovanni Luongo, for example, sent me this picture of his Riley. Have you ever seen anything so tender or true?!The Passion, the Yearning for Communion!
Giovanni says it so well that a dog does not see color or race or nationality. Concepts such as “pretty” or “sexual orientation” mean nothing to them, nor does young or old. Dogs just peer deeply into a person’s heart; is it good or bad, whatever, their love is unconditional.
At some point in the creation of the English language, some neologist (i.e. maker of new words) faced a great dilemma, when the meanings of two words would be so incredibly similar, almost “twins,” so he decided to just keep them as close as possible – “Hey! Let’s just spell them backwards! GOD & DOG!” God is so many things, but to St. Francis of Assisi it was very simple. God is this Pure Love, no matter what, and this constant longing to be together with the beloved. He just wants to walk with us, by our side – always. Now who does that sound like?
My precious Rudy suffers from congestive heart failure. His enlarged heart presses on his larynx and cuts off his breathing. He goes into a horrible cough, so painful for Rudy, doubly painful for us, because this cough is especially brought on by his excitement over us. For example, if i leave the house for ten minutes, my return home will put the poor dog into the throes of passion. We try and we try to keep him calm, but there is just no containing his love. It can honestly be said, or predicted now, that my dog will die of Love. (i’m just not exactly sure whether it will be for me or for a piece of bacon; his allegiance can be held in question. LOL! He IS a beagle, after all!)
A few days ago i was part of a massive crowd of people of every age, size, color, creed, orientation, etc., etc. who each wanted just to touch one man who is like Rudy, like Riley, like Francis, like God. All felt so comfortable in his company, as all felt loved, each as he or she is. It reminded me of a day thirty years ago when i was in a very similar crowd, where everyone wanted to touch another Pope. A large group of teenage girls, one in particular, was trying to reach him as if her life depended on it. And when Pope John Paul II bent that extra bend to meet hers and their fingers touched – just like the Creator and man on Michelangelo’s ceiling – the girl exploded in tearful bliss. And i caught it, the magical mystical moment. All that i could think of was Carole King singing, “All you have to do is touch my hand…and something happens to me that’s some kind of wonderful.”This is what happens every time i take a moment to connect with my adoring dog. And this is what happens every time we are ready to let the Master connect with us, be it through prayer or when we really feel that Awesome Love TOUCH US deeply through a loving parent or sibling or a child or true friend, or an ocean or a forest of sycamores. It is really “some kind of wonderful,” and we could know it constantly, if we could just learn how to break from our busy or self-centered lives to LOVE and to be LOVED more…just like a Dog or God.