No matter where you are at the moment, it's spring everywhere
ST: Dearest Francesco, where I reside (northern hemisphere) spring is just arriving. I saw my first bumble bee yesterday and the willow tree here is budding, hints of new green all around with daffodils glimmering in the little sunlight we experience in April. I know you're a man of all seasons, but what can you tell us about the arrival of spring here and the arrival of fall in the southern hemisphere?
St. Francesco of Assisi: Yes, spring/fall and the equal days and nights bring such dramatic changes to the earth. During the spring the earth awakens from its deep winter sleep and in the fall, the earth prepares to hibernate for 3 to 6 months depending on where you reside on the earth. You call me "a man of all seasons" and I like this compliment. Every season has its beauty and its suffering. Often in the winter you dream about hot summer days but then during the heat of summer, especially midsummer I hear so many of you pleading for cooler weather. So it's not so much about seasons or changes of seasons, although change relieves boredom. It's about achieving balance or homeostasis.
So you ask, "How do we find this balance during a time of upheaval?" And look who you're asking. I can only tell you to focus on beauty. This is easy in the spring and autumn (especially since I'm a Libra) because the trees signal the greatest change. You either see delicate blossoms and newly green buds or you see leaves dancing in flaming colors, more spectacular than anything Hollywood can produce. Mother Nature knows how to give her all, she's so dramatic and she provides everything you need to satisfy your emotions. She is the spring storm that comes on suddenly leaving us in awe. She is the rainbow that blooms across the sky, also suddenly. She is the new flowers and plants pushing up through the soil in search of sunlight and air. The singing or migrating birds only add to the effect.
So as your Patron Saint of Ecology (really I'm honored), I ask you to spend time in nature, get to know the seasons intimately. Eat what's in season because it provides the greatest pleasure and nutrition. This is how we ate in medieval times, but we didn't have the food choices you have today. I'm thankful for that because we ate what grew in the vicinity and it gave us nourishment. I'm not saying you can't eat food from other places, but I want you to practice mindfulness with what is closest to you at this time, whether that's the willow in your yard, your cat, or the food you eat. By getting deeply in touch with the seasons you form an intimate bond with Mother Earth and God. Do you really want to go without those relationships?
So many of you seek fulfillment and don't find it. You tell yourselves when I get that job, when I sell my novel, when I marry the person of my dreams, when I move into a bigger house, a bigger city or leave the city, then I will find happiness. I'm telling you that unless you connect with Mother Earth, the seasons, and the Divine (whatever name you want to call the Divine), you will not find fulfillment. You won't, and you already know this, find peace of mind. Ask a wealthy person if they're happy. Ask a newly published novelist how fulfilled they feel and I bet you they will tell you that there is something still missing. AND THERE IS. There is nothing you can accomplish or own that will fill your heart with love. There are no people you can possess or who possess you that will bring you the security you seek.
ST: You sound somewhat preachy, Francesco.
SF: Yes, well, I tend to go in that direction, but you know what I mean. Not only that, you believe me. I'm not saying to give up everything and walk naked into the unknown like I did. In a way that was foolish, but the best I could do at that time in history. You should have seen the look on my father's face (chuckles). I'm just telling you to get your priorities straight because the only thing eternal here is your soul and your connection to The Divine, whatever name you want to call The Divine. Practice whatever spiritual path suits you and practice it well. The only thing I ask of you is that you practice integrity, simplicity (why make things more complicated than necessary), compassion, and promote peace. First you must cultivate these things in your own hearts.
And remember that we love you. Enjoy the earth while you walk upon it, but take good care of her too. I know you have your Earth Day this month (April), but take care of Mother Earth 365 days of the year. One day? You can do so much better than taking care of the planet one day out of the year. Grow in consciousness my friends. With spring awakening around you, time to wake up along with it and even if you're in the southern hemisphere this year it's spring there too, (line-up of planets in Aries).
We love you.
Saint Francesco of Assisi