I think of Saint Francis whenever I encounter the least of the little creatures around me. Today I found two spiders in my bathtub, who could not climb the slick sides of the tub. Recently someone put up a picture on Facebook of a spider. Half the comments were “gross” and the other half were “when I see spiders I smash them.” I am literally amazed that we are so cavalier with our fellow-travelers in the universe. Do people not realize that as far as we know there is nothing, nothing whatsoever, alive for trillions of miles in every direction outside the boundaries of this planet? The smallest living thing is precious. I recognize in myself no greater claim on life than they have. To suggest otherwise to me would be to suggest that the strong and the smart can take everything, which I will never believe. I coaxed them onto leaves and put them outside, as is my custom. When I do otherwise – when I am careless with such creatures – I am aware that something is fatigued in me.
They say that Saint Francis used to bring honey to bees in winter, and spend hours taking worms out of the road so they would not get smashed. This is holiness, and what is important in human society resembles it.