Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Feast of St Francis of Assisi!

No, this is not some obscure traditionalist grace before meals but a meal involving French people enjoying one of their greatest delicacies, Ortolan, a small finch like bird that, to my certain knowledge does not provide a pandemic threat of crop destruction or  disease carrying world population decimation.
It is, allegedly, scrumptious delicious and this is the time of year when, in one or two places in France, they still eat the little bird.
Ahem, pause while we all ritualise the phrase 'garlic eating etc'.

So delicious is this little bundle of feathers that the French eat it with napkins over their heads (not serviettes, please note, they are all busy on the sanctuary).
This may strike you as an unusually obsessive anti-social way of carrying on but then, I can recall some dinner parties when such a disguise would have provided light relief from chatting to one's neighbour!

However, back to the point. Here we are on the feast of this great saint, lover of all things four footed, feathered, finned or furry, and we are all (or a large proportion of us) going to tuck into steaks, chops, lamb shanks, sausages, liver, chitterlings (don't ask), sweetbreads (definitely don't ask) and other choice cuts of various types of animals. And you call yourselves Catholics?

The answer is, of course, each to his own. Almighty God gave us the world that we live in and its creatures for us to decently manage as best we can.
If you wish to eat parsnips for the rest of your life - fine. Equally, if you wish to dine on anything that kicks and squeals (with the exception of the poor ortolan) then that is fine also.

I am sure that St Francis, while sticking to his frugal repast of roots and leaves, would not begrudge his fellow man a few mouthfuls of mammal or fish, even if he had just held an intelligent conversation with one!

So - a Happy Feastday to one and all and here is the prayer attributed to St Francis............................

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

1 comment:

  1. I understand that it is illegal to eat that bird, hence the covering of the head to avoid recognition. Some tradition or other I believe. Like eating frogs' legs and snails no doubt.

    Personally, I like all meat. Some Christians believe that they'll meet their pets in Heaven and other animals too.

    I hope not. I'd hate to come face to face with the Sunday roast admonishing me for what I have done.

    God bless.