Contact with nature
Many publications and several entire books have scrutinised every aspect of St Francis' picturesque encounters with animals and birds. For some they are merely sentimental folk tales. The church itself had to step in to refute those who wanted to dismiss them as animist or pantheist heresy. There are scholars who consider the stories merely projected on to Francis a cluster of legends which originated round the lives of early hermits and the Irish saints, who were already well known in Europe as great lovers of the natural world. Others still persist in regarding his sermon to the birds and his negotiations with a wolf as allegorical.of life in nature, of the living organisms, plant and animal, is a reflection of the life which is in God. And so also all the love in human nature.