After reading a children’s book that quickly covered the highlights of Francis’ life and faith, the rector invited me to add some words. I had not planned it, but I told this story:
One of the greatest sins I ever committed happened one day while I was driving home. I saw a homeless man pushing a shopping cart piled with plastic bags and his other shabby belongings. Tied to the cart by a worn rope was a puppy. The dog trotting alongside the man appeared to be some kind of a golden retriever mix.
Immediately I felt this anger rise in me. “What was this man doing with a dog? He probably doesn’t feed him right. He certainly can’t afford vet bills.” Thankfully, in almost the exact same moment those thoughts entered my heart, grace intervened, and I felt completely ashamed of myself. I realized that probably this was the only unconditional love this poor man had in his life.
So often, we try to understand God’s unconditional love for us by surrounding it with too many words. Perhaps all we need to do is look into the eyes of our animal companions.