St. Francis and the Present Moment | The Rev. Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

10.4.19 | Community, Pulpit Posts, World

When she was eight years old, my niece Audrey asked me the very important theological question, “Does God have pets?” Now, she had an ulterior motive for this question, as she was angling to be allowed to get a dog (this was before Penny, and then Hugo, came into her life!) – but nevertheless, it is an intriguing question. I responded, “Yes, I think WE are all God’s pets.”

If we are all God’s pets, maybe there is something to be learned from our relationships with our own pets, that can then be applied to our relationship with God. One of the things that makes us human is that we have a perception of time – of the past, and of the future. So much so, in fact, that we spend quite a lot of time rehashing the past, or worrying about the future, and we spend relatively little time in the present moment.

Animals though seem to live almost entirely in the moment. They are fully present in that moment, whether they are eating, playing with a ball, barking at potential danger, even just settling down for a nap. And there is a radical simplicity to that kind of existence. It might be hard for us to achieve that kind of presence to the present, if you will. But there are a few people who have come close – to whom we can look as role models – and St. Francis is certainly one of them. Today is his feast day, and we will celebrate him this Sunday at 2 pm with a Blessing of the Animals in the garden.

And in his honor, I invite you this week to spend a little time each day being more like your pet, or more like Francis. Letting go of the joys and sorrows of the past, and expectations and fears of the future, and just feeling what it is like to truly be in the present (as you eat, play, or even settle down to a nap) – truly present to others, to ourselves, to God who is always present to us. Who knows, maybe it will move you, like Francis, ever so slightly closer to sainthood!!

Rev. Susan Hill

Rev. Susan Hill


Stay current on activity at the Soup Kitchen, guest stories, thoughts from Clergy, news and events.

Subscribe to receive the latest news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more — right to your inbox.

Church of the Holy Apostles

We are an open, inclusive Christian Church celebrating in the Episcopal tradition.

Sunday Service is held 11AM (on site and via livestream). Weekday services are held on Zoom.


For Newcomers

Learn about our faith community and explore ways to connect with our work and worship.


Reflections on Holy Scripture from our Clergy.


Founded in 1844, with a focus on social activism and the desire for social justice.

Clergy, Staff & Vestry

The Vestry is the governing body of the Church of the Holy Apostles.


Music commands a strong presence at the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Space Rental

Host your next meeting or event in our landmark building.

Soup Kitchen & Pantry

Nourishing hungry New Yorkers since 1982 in an atmosphere of respect and hospitality.

Daily meal service

Serving a free, nutritious meal every weekday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Meal outreach

Distributing bagged breakfasts and lunches throughout Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

About the soup kitchen

Learn more about our mission, our history, our performance, who we are, and what we do.

Pantry Program

Providing fresh and nutritious groceries to food-insecure New Yorkers.

Sunday Supper

Bridging generations and building community over a monthly family style meal.

Give Layers of Love this Winter

Help Keep Our Guests Warm this Winter.

Social Support

Meeting basic needs, stabilizing lives, and supporting individuals and families to achieve their goals.


Addressing the needs of the whole person through basic needs, counseling, and referrals.


Offering learning and skill-building opportunities.

Community Partnership

Partnering with others to expand the services offered to our guests.

Get Involved

Holy Apostles is a great place to channel your time, talents and generosity for good.


Make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and hunger.


Join our efforts to serve others and provide for people who are vulnerable.


Your gift provides food, community, and hope to New Yorkers in need.

The Latest

Stay up-to-date on all happenings at Holy Apostles.

Food For The Soul

The official blog of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

Voices of Our Community

Guest stories, poetry, and more.


See our calendar of events.

Church Pulpit Posts

Read weekly meditations written by our clergy.


Holy Apostles in the news.