"My little sisters, the birds, much bounden are ye unto God, your Creator, and always in every place ought ye to praise Him, for that He hath given you liberty to fly about everywhere, and hath also given you double and triple rainment; moreover He preserved your seed in the ark of Noah, that your race might not perish out of the world; still more are ye beholden to Him for the element of the air which He hath appointed for you; beyond all this, ye sow not, neither do you reap; and God feedeth you, and giveth you the streams and fountains for your drink; the mountains and valleys for your refuge and the high trees whereon to make your nests; and because ye know not how to spin or sow, God clotheth you, you and your children; wherefore your Creator loveth you much, seeing that He hath bestowed on you so many benefits; and therefore, my little sisters, beware of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praises unto God." St. Francis of Assisi - Sermon to the Birds (1220)
The people of town of Gubbio alerted Francis to the presence of a ferocious wolf in their countryside. All efforts to trap the wolf or drive him away had failed, so they called upon the Saint to intervene. He went out with only the message of the Gospel: no weapon, no sanctions, no threatening bravado. Francis met the wolf and called him to repentance for the chaos and harm that he had caused.
“Come to me, Brother Wolf. In the name of Christ, I order you not to hurt anyone.” At that moment the wolf lowered its head and lay down at St. Francis’ feet, meek as a lamb.
St. Francis explained to the wolf that he had been terrorizing the people, killing not only animals, but humans who are made in the image of God.
“Brother Wolf,” said Francis, “I want to make peace between you and the people of Gubbio. They will harm you no more and you must no longer harm them. All past crimes are to be forgiven.”
From that day on the people kept the pact they had made.
Not to hurt the creatures brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them wherever they require it." Saint Francis