St. Francis of Assisi was something of an odd duck. This is especially evident in a cute little sermon of his addressed to his “little sisters, the birds.” St. Francis assured the birds that they were truly blessed: they can fly, they don’t have to till the land, and God was even gracious enough to give them a wonderful suit of feathers since they “know not how to spin or sew.” The birds get on just fine without all the planning and worrying that typifies humanity, and for this they ought to be very grateful.
Although it is fun to imagine St. Francis surrounded by birds of all species attentively listening to his sermon, it seems fair enough to assume that his Sermon to the Birds was meant primarily for people. It echos very closely the Sermon on the Mount, where the explicit message is that we humans ought not worry. Nature provides for all of the wants of the birds and the flowers, so why should we not also be provided for? The only concern for the birds, according to St. Francis, is that they must “beware of the sin of ingratitude.” Humans, who are presumably much better off than the birds, ought to be extra careful to guard against that sin.
Beer of the Week: San Miguel Pale Pilsen – St. Francis is usually depicted with birds and other cute wildlife. St Michael is usually depicted with a huge sword, stomping on a snake. Michael is also known for being the patron of funny shaped beer bottles from the Philippines. There, San Miguel beer it is often used to wash down balut, a popular Philippine street food that would almost certainly make St. Francis cry. Without partially developed duck embryos to chase, San Miguel Pilsen is not a very good beer. The head dissipates quickly and the smell and aftertaste are both a bit rough with a hint of burnt corn.
Reading of the week: Sermon to the Birds by St. Francis of Assisi – The tradition is that Francis actually delivered this sermon to a bunch of birds, which makes him just a little bit more interesting. Of course, the sermon is very short since birds must have exceedingly short attention spans.
Question of the week: Is listening to sermons a leisure activity or simply another sort of human worrying? That is, would a carefree bird ever sit still to listen to a preacher? And if he did, would remain carefree?