St. Francis of Assisi, who lived in Italy in the early thirteenth century, was known for his love of animals. He was the first person who celebrated the birth of Jesus by gathering live animals around a manger. He often talked to the birds as he traveled along. Sometimes, the birds would fly down and sit on his head, shoulders, knees and arms. But the best-known animal story concerns St. Francis and the Wolf of Gribbio. St. Francis was known for his humility and his unwillingness to hurt anyone.
Once, when one of his followers spoke harshly to some bandits, St. Francis told the man to run after the bandits and apologize. In the same way, St. Francis thought of animals as his brothers and sisters. Once when he was warned about some dangerous wolves, he replied that he had never harmed Brother Wolf, and didn’t expect the wolf to harm him. While St. Francis was staying the hill town of Gribbio, he heard about a large, fierce wolf. The townspeople were terrified of this wolf that had eaten both domestic animals and humans. St. Francis decided to help the people and went out to talk to the wolf. The people watched in horror as the wolf came running to attack St. Francis.
But the saint made the sign of the cross. Then he said to the wolf that, in the name of Jesus, it should stop hurting people. The wolf then lay down at St. Francis’ feet. St. Francis addressed a little sermon to the wolf. He recounted all the terrible things that the wolf had done. But he added that he wanted to make peace between the wolf and the townspeople. The wolf nodded its head in approval.
In return for the wolf’s agreement to keep the peace, St. Francis promised him that he would arrange for the townspeople to feed him. When he asked the wolf never again to harm any person or animal, the wolf nodded again. Then the wolf put out its paw as a sign that it would keep its promise. The wolf walked beside St. Francis back into Gribbio. When a crowd assembled, the saint preached to them about how God had allowed the wolf to terrify them because of their sins. He told them to repent, and God would forgive them.
Then he spoke of the promise that the wolf had made and what he had promised the wolf in return. The people agreed to feed the wolf regularly, and the wolf again indicated that it would not hurt anyone. Again, it put its paw in St. Francis’ hand. The wolf and the people kept the agreement. Two years later the wolf died. The people remembered how it no longer hurt anyone and that not a single dog ever barked at it. The townspeople of Gribbio lamented its death. Whenever it went through town, it had reminded them of the virtues and holiness of St. Francis.
a long container, open at the top, in which food is placed for horses and cattle
CULTURAL NOTE According to the Bible, Jesus was born in a STABLE and laid in a manger as a bed because there were no empty rooms in the town.
the quality of not being too proud about yourself – use this to show approval
someone who robs people, especially one of a group of people who attack travellers
They travelled 30 miles through bandit country.
a fierce person or animal is angry or ready to attack, and looks very frightening
fierce guard dogs She turned round, looking fierce.
all the people who live in a particular town
the proud townspeople of Semer Water
a terrified little girl
Sid is terrified of heights. She was terrified of being caught.
We were terrified that the bridge would collapse.
He was terrified at the thought of being stranded in the woods.
terrified to do something
He was terrified to stay home alone.
a domestic animal lives on a farm or in someone’s home
cats, dogs and other domestic pets
a talk given as part of a Christian church service, usually on a religious or moral subject
give/preach/deliver a sermon (on something)
The vicar gave a sermon on charity.
[intransitive and transitive] if you assemble a large number of people or things, or if they assemble, they are gathered together in one place, often for a particular purpose
A large crowd had assembled outside the American embassy. He looked around at the assembled company (=all the people who had come there) . She had assembled a collection of her favourite songs.
[transitive] to put all the parts of something together
The aircraft will continue to be assembled in France.
to talk about a religious subject in a public place, especially in a church during a service
Christ began preaching to large crowds.
The vicar preached a sermon about the prodigal son.
He traveled the southern states, preaching the gospel .
to make someone extremely afraid
Her husband’s violence terrified her.
to be sorry for something and wish you had not done it – used especially when considering your actions in a religious way
He repented of his sins before he died.
to express feelings of great sadness about something
The nation lamented the death of its great war leader.