The celebration of the past four weeks of prayer, activity and commitment to living so as to realise “A home for all” – the theme of this year’s Season of Creation (1st September to 4th October 2021) has been a profound one, as we were pointed towards a better understanding of the integral web of relationships that sustain the well-being of the Earth. Abraham’s tent provided a symbol of “our ecumenical call to practice creation care as an act of radical hospitality, safeguarding a place for all creatures, human and more human, in our common home, the household (oikos) of God”. May we too realise today that there is no end date to the ‘Season of Creation’ as long as we continue to strive to live authentically (individually and together) through each new creation, resulting from our daily encounter with God, through eyes that are opened to these ‘footprints of God’.
The life of St. Francis
Today, the 4th October is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi whose radical expression (through his life) of the inter-relatedness and inter-relationship of all things, has opened out a way of understanding and living in unity, compassion and peace with all living things. In today’s daily mediation shared by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM (CAC.org) on his Congregation’s Founder’s day he shares:
“Francis of Assisi knew that the finite manifests the infinite, and the physical is the doorway to the spiritual. If we can accept this foundational principle we call “incarnation,” then all we need is right here and right now—in this world”.
In the same meditation Franciscan sister Ilia Delio explains:
“Francis came to realize that it is Christ who sanctifies creation and transforms it into the sacrament of God. The intimate link between creation and Incarnation revealed to Francis that the whole of creation is the place to encounter God.
As his eyes opened to the holiness of creation, he came to see that there is nothing trivial or worthless. Rather, all created things point beyond themselves to their Creator …”
[…] These footprints of God impressed on the things of creation enabled Francis to find God wherever he went in the world, and finding God in the things of creation led him to the embrace of Jesus Christ, for Christ is the Word of God made visible in the world”.
(From Ilia Delio, A Franciscan View of Creation: Learning to Live in a Sacramental World, The Franciscan Heritage Series, vol. 2 (The Franciscan Institute: 2003), 15–16).
I think God might be a little prejudiced.
For once He asked me to join Him on a walk
through this world,
and we gazed into every heart on this earth,
and I noticed He lingered a bit longer
before any face that was weeping,
and before any eyes that were
And sometimes when we passed
a soul in worship
God too would kneel down.
I have come to learn: God adores His creation.
(attributed to St. Francis of Assisi).
As today marks the passing of Saint Francis into eternal life, we wish all the Franciscan family and friends everywhere a blessed and joy-filled feast day.
Our work to confront a problem like the climate crisis or global poverty needs to be realistic, attuned to the true nature of the crises, the communities most at risk, and the political realities that constrain our initiatives.
Yet, the joyful ethos of St. Francis and Jesus’ welcoming of the children point to another dimension of Christian spirituality which is likewise required for meeting the current moment.
Christopher Rice, Laudato Si’ Movement Theological Consultant in “Following St. Francis in hope and generosity” (see full article in link below):
As a complement to the practical work of studying facts, weighing alternatives, and moving people to action, God calls us a radical hope and generosity that is not so immediately tied to the practical. In the Christian context, hope is a theological virtue – a result of God’s grace – by which we anticipate with trust God’s promise of eternal fulfilment in heaven.
How do we combine a sober, hard-headed engagement with the challenges of the 21st century and a childlike openness to hope, generosity, wonder, and joy?
- How is God calling me to grow at this moment – toward greater engagement with the facts underlying our current crises and toward greater hope and generosity?
- What is one way I can emulate the spirituality of St. Francis this month and “accept the kingdom of God like a child”?
Some useful links:
Also an inspirational resource guide prepared by the SeasonofCreation.org “2021 Celebration Guide A Home for All? Renewing the Oikos of God” see 2021-SOC-Full-Guide Season of Creation
You can also download this and a range of other resources see Resources – Season of Creation