Title: Francis 'Neath the Bitter Tree
Categories: Holy Men and Boys , Franciscan , Jesus
Icon Number: FNBT006
Francis, I first saw you in my little Book of Saints pictured beneath the cross of your dying Lord Oh, this was long before I knew you graced the bird baths and fountains of every yard and public place as the Holy Fool. And this was long before I saw you cradle the tiny Child in your arms, or tame the snarling grey wolf long before I knew you as the veritable tree for your precious winged sisters and animals of every pattern and stripe.
I first saw you 'neath the bitter tree locked in embrace with the crucified God who bent down for your tender comfort and most gentle love. Later I was told you stretched your scarcely visible frame to cover even the hopeless and the lepers of your day. And now I see, now I know why He flew to La Verna wrapt in resurrected wings to transfigure, to share the glory, with the one who had spared himself none of the suffering.
This icon of the "Alter Christus," Francis of Assisi with his suffering Lord, is based on the beloved paining by the Spanish Master Murillo and was commissioned by a doctor in New Jersey working with People with AIDS.