Tuesday, October 04, 2005+JMJPT+
As a cyber shout out to a friend who had not heard the story I thought I would post this again for her and for everyone else since this the Feast of St Francis of Assisi.
Great St Francis pray for us all and lead us all to Christ through the Immaculate Heart of Mary! Amen.
Omnia Pro Iesu Per Mariam!
Saint Francis and Brother Wolf
There was in Italy then a town called Gubbio, which was held hostage by a fierce Wolf. This Wolf was very large and very hungry. Not satisfied with rabbits and other wild game, it came into the town to devour the sheep and the dogs and even the people of the town. When folk would go out into the country roundabout there was every chance of meeting the Wolf of Gubbio and losing their life. Like most towns of those days, this one had a big wall all around it and the gates were shut tight at night.
People who had to go out always took weapons with them in case they met the Wolf. Even so, many were killed, as this criminal animal managed to escape every time.
Once St. Francis came that way on his travels through the country and lodged in Gubbio for a while. He was a monk and had no weapons at all; he was armed with nothing but his love for God, man and all creatures, and his faith in Jesus Christ. When St. Francis learned of the Wolf and the way it was terrorizing the town, he decided to cast out this demon. He told the people of his intention to walk right out of the gates toward the hills where the Wolf had his den, alone and unprotected. The townspeople raised a howl of protest. They warned of the fierce and savage nature of that animal, and tried to stop Francis, whom they now loved very dearly, from carrying out his plan.
But this was a fearless man, and a determined one, when he felt he knew what was right. Prevailing against their protests, he walked right into the hills, while people climbed to the top of the wall and stood on the roofs of houses. And what do you think they saw? Here came the Wolf, running and panting toward St. Francis, its jaws opened wide and sure of an easy meal. But Francis held out his arm, made the sign of the cross, and the Wolf closed its jaws, slowed to a trot, and came up to the saint's feet. Wonder of wonders! And more was to come.
"Brother Wolf," said St. Francis, "come here. I order you not to hurt me nor anyone." The Wolf lay down on the ground at his feet. "You have done great harm in this region, destroying God's creatures without any mercy, and even eating human beings, made in the image of God. I want to make peace, now, between you and these people of Gubbio who fear and hate you." The Wolf began to wag its tail in agreement and to flap its ears, as it lay peacefully at his feet. "They must forgive you for your crimes of all these years, and you must change your way of life and promise not to kill here anymore."
"This is what we will do:" St. Francis said, "We will make a pact between you and the people of the town. They will give you your food every day so long as you live. I know, Brother Wolf, that it was due to hunger and greed that you did all this mischief throughout these years. But now you will not have to be hungry any more. Never again will you hurt man or animal-- this must be your promise. Now how shall I know that you have agreed?"
Brother Wolf stood up and put his paw in the right hand of Francis and wagged his tail. By these tokens it was understood that he consented to the bargain. Then, like a lamb, he followed the saint into the town and began his new life. The people were astounded.
After some days St. Francis departed the town. The Wolf lived two years more, going from door to door for food. It hurt no one and no one hurt it, and everyone in Gubbio felt bad when it finally died.
More information and related sources can be found in the text of this posting.