Thought For The Day 08/16/12

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The Wisdom of Friar Jeff!

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The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend. 

Henry David Thoreau

http://quotegarden.com/friendship.html

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I am going to be incapacitated for a bit because of Monday’s surgery and so I have asked someone who is not just my very dear friend but my colleague as well, Friar Jeffrie L Wallace who lives in Scotland, if I might be able to share a few of his writings with you for the next few days. And “Thank You Jesus”, he has agreed. So sit back and read and enjoy these words from a man who truly lives one of the most God centered lives of almost anyone I can think of!

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Saint Francis & the Wolf : The Legend
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written 07/11/2012
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There was in Italy the town of Gubbio, a prosperous village that had a  great problem. A wolf was eating their livestock, and attacking the  people. Nothing the townspeople did protected them from the wolf. Never  had they seen such a fierce predator. He killed a shepherd, then the  shepherd’s brother and father when they went out to deal with this  menace. The next morning the town was abuzz with the story told by the  shepherd’s mother and sisters.

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The mayor of Gubbio announced he would send three of his best guards  to find and slay the wolf that very afternoon. At dusk the townspeople  could hear shouts and clashing of metal from the woods. Then it was  quiet. The guards had met the wolf.

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Late in the night the only survivor of the encounter struggled into  the anxious town and collapsed. After he was revived, he told his tale  of their fight with the fierce and powerful wolf. As the story rushed  through town the wolf grew larger and more ferocious. Fear was in the  eyes of everyone in Gubbio. Children were kept close by, weapons at the  ready and the defenses of the town raised.

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The mayor consulted with his advisors and decided to see if Francis  of Assisi could help them. They had heard that he could talk to animals  and that God talked to him.

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Several brave messengers were sent to find Francis and ask him for  his help. They had the good fortune to find him in Assisi at the house  of Bernardo Quintivalle, his first follower. They told him of the tragic  attacks of the wolf and how the frightened people were almost in a  state of siege. They thought Francis was the only one who would be able  to help them. They begged the simple Holy man to help and implored him  to come with them right away.

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Francis was moved by their plight and wanted to do  what he could. He said they could leave in the morning and they should  eat and rest with his Brothers that night. After dinner they prayed with  Francis for a solution and slept that night with hope in their hearts.

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Dawn found them walking down the hill from Assisi on their way to  Gubbio.  In time they arrived at the woods near the town. The messengers  pointed to where the wolf had slain the two guards not far from the  road. They stayed in a tighter group as they hurried the rest of the  way, watching for the wolf.

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The gate to the town was opened as they arrived and was quickly  closed behind them. The entire town followed Francis to the town square  where the Mayor eagerly met them. They went into the town hall to eat  and discuss what Francis would do with the wolf.

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The mayor wondered what Francis could do with such a challenge. The  mayor hated that wolf. He knew the men who were killed and their  families. One of the guards was a cousin to the mayor’s wife. If he were  younger, he would have led the guards after the wolf.  He wanted  Francis to strike the wolf dead or send him to the town of Spoletto,  their old enemy. Either would satisfy a need for revenge and stop the  attacks.

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Francis listened as the mayor described what had happened to their  peaceful town. He had much empathy for the families of the victims and  wanted to meet the wolf and hear his story, too. Francis stated that the  next morning he would go the woods where the guards had been killed to  see if he could find the wolf. That night he prayed for the wisdom to  find a solution that would benefit everyone.

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Early the next morning, refreshed and confident this would work out,  Francis was accompanied by the townspeople to the gates of Gubbio. They  wished him well and retreated to their homes, worried that Francis would  share the fate of the shepherds and guards.

 ~

He walked on to the woods, ready to engage the wolf. As he neared the  first stand of trees, the wolf appeared and began to stalk Francis. His  slow, deliberate steps, the walk of a predator, announced his  intention. He drew nearer and nearer, closing in a circle around the  holy man from Assisi.

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Seeing the wolf, Francis felt a connection. He made the sign of the  cross and called the wolf to meet him in peace under the grace of the  Lord. The wolf watched as Francis came closer. “Come Brother Wolf, I  will not hurt you. Let us talk in peace.” The wolf froze in mid step.  The wolf struggled with doubt and uncertainty. Finally, understanding  that Francis meant him no harm, the wolf walked to Francis and sat back  on his haunches, ready to listen.

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Francis  told the wolf that he had come from Gubbio and described what the  townspeople were experiencing because of the wolf’s actions. He  described the pain and resentment they held toward the wolf. “How did  this come to happen?” Francis asked the wolf. “Why did you kill the  livestock and people?”

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The wolf told Francis his story.

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He had been left behind by his pack  because he was injured and couldn’t keep up. He could only catch prey  that didn’t run fast, like sheep and goats. He really preferred to eat  deer and rabbits, but, with his injured leg, that was out of the  question. He explained to Francis that all he wanted was to eat when he  was hungry.

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Francis implored him to explain his actions. The wolf continued. The  first shepherd he had killed was trying to protect his flock and the  wolf had no choice but to fight back and kill him. That afternoon two  more men came after him and instinct took over. He quickly killed them,  leaving their bodies where they fell. The next day the three guards came  hunting him. He was only defending himself when he fought them. Two  were slain. As the third man was no longer a threat, he let him go.

 ~

Francis could see that the wolf was only acting to fill his needs. He  had made unfortunate choices that affected people of whom he knew  nothing. Through Francis the wolf was able to feel the pain of the  people in Gubbio and he felt remorse. He was sorry for the pain he had  caused, but he needed to eat. What could he do?

 ~

Hours passed as Francis prayed.

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The wolf watched closely, not fully  understanding what was taking place, but sensing that Francis believed  he felt remorse at having caused such pain. When Francis emerged from  his contemplation, he quietly suggested an answer to the dilemma. It was  a suggestion that could meet the needs of both the town and the wolf.  He proposed to the wolf that the townspeople could feed him and, in  return, the wolf would stop killing the people and their livestock.

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The wolf thought this would work well for him, but worried the people  would still want to kill him. Francis understood the wolf’s concern and  assured him he would present the idea to the townspeople in such a way  that he would be forgiven and welcomed into the town.

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He knew they could  let go of their fear and hate if they saw the wolf ask for forgiveness  and accede to a peaceful relationship.

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Francis extended his hand. The  Wolf showed agreement by placing his paw in Francis’ hand. Francis and the wolf walked back to Gubbio.

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As  they neared the gate, the citizens could not believe their eyes.  Francis and the wolf continued to the town square, although the mayor  and the entire town watched with hate and fear. The wolf had to keep his  eyes on Francis to still his fear.

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Francis called out, “Come countrymen, the wolf will not hurt you. Let  us talk in peace. I have spoken with the wolf and he apologizes for his  actions and wants to make amends.”

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Francis told them the wolf’s story. “He has the same needs as you and  only wants to eat and not go hungry. Can the people of Gubbio feed him  if he promises to never again take the lives of the people and their  animals? Remember, our Savior taught forgiveness. He taught us to love  our enemies.”

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The citizens returned skeptical stares. Francis continued, “This will  be your wolf. He can’t be killed or passed off to Spoletto or Perugia.  He will serve the town as a defender as long as he will live.”

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The citizens of Gubbio asked Francis to talk privately with them, to  help them understand his suggestion. The Mayor guaranteed no one would  hurt the wolf while they conferred.

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The people of Gubbio talked with each other for hours. Relatives of  the dead were the hardest to convince. They harbored a hard place in  their hearts for the wolf. Francis wept with them and touched them in a  way that softened their hearts. Finally, after many tears, they found  compassion for the wolf.

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At Francis’ suggestion, they addressed him as  Brother Wolf.

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Francis asked the Mayor and Brother Wolf to declare a pact. The  people would be safe from the wolf. The wolf would be safe from them.  Everyone expressed joy that the shadow of fear had been lifted from  their town.

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The wife of the shepherd, the man who was the first to fall, brought  out food to feed Brother Wolf. She was crying in relief to have the  burden of hate lifted from her spirit. Brother Wolf was humbled when he  found his apology accepted.

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More food was brought out and soon everyone  was eating together.

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Word spread to other towns.

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Soon the people of Gubbio were  proclaiming proudly that they had a special wolf, Brother Wolf.

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He lived  another two years like that until he died, cared for by the generous  and forgiving town of Gubbio.

Friar Jeff

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7) “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;

Job 12: 7

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40) Upon the seventh day the king went to bewail Daniel: and when he came to the den, he looked in, and behold, Daniel was sitting. 41) Then cried the king with a loud voice, saying, Great art Lord God of Daniel, and there is none other beside thee.  

Bel 1: 40-41 KJVA

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Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry

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About Mandy Bruscella

Mandy's Story: As a Registered Professional Nurse with Certification in a number of specialties including home care, I was afforded the opportunity of working closely with various Social Service Agencies in NY and NJ. ~ A lifelong Christian, I was ordained as a Presbyterian deacon in 1993 and, after relocating to SC in 2000, elected to become ordained as a non-denominational minister. ~ I established "MandysPath" Ministry in 2011. "MandysPath" Ministry is a member of Pacific Life Church, El Sobrante, CA, network of ministries. ~ I direct an outreach ministry in an alternative setting, providing spiritual care to a congregation of more than 500 people from around the world via the Internet. ~ As part of this outreach, I write a daily faith based blog. In March, 2012 I was asked to become a board member of Heroes For Children which is a non-profit foundation, established to assists the Guardian ad Litem program of Horry County, SC. Guardians ad Litem are a group of court appointed advocates who represent the best interests of children in Family Court proceedings involving allegations of abuse or neglect. Working closely with these men and women who make a difference in the lives of children, I completed training and have been sworn in to serve as a Guardian ad Litem for the state of South Carolina . ~ I have been married since 1975 to a wonderful man, Daniel. I have a son Daniel and his wife Melissa who live in NYC. My daughter Sabrina and my grandson Landon live here in SC. ~ My father Harold continues to share his wisdom with me and is responsible for many of the ideas I write about!

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