This week we celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, fondly referred to as Il Poverello or “the poor one”. He had a tremendous love for nature and recognized in creation the living Word of God. He, like Hildegard von Bingen, saw that
God’s Word is in all creation, visible and invisible. The Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. This Word flashes out in every creature.
Francis celebrated all of creation, the mighty as well as the tiny. He sings of this in his Canticle of Creation. Francis recognized that the Divine was reflected in every aspect of creation and that together creation proclaimed the wondrous fullness of God. The more we are aware of the beauty of all of Creation, the more we are aware of the wonder of God. Every stone, every sea and mountain, every leaf, every bird and insect, every fish, every reptile and mammal, every human sings to us of God. Do we listen? Can we hear the Word of God proclaimed to us every minute of every day and night?
As we celebrate St. Francis, let us be aware that all of us are interconnected with every bit of the universe. Each of us carries that stardust from which the whole of the universe was born and continues to evolve. Each of us embodies the Divine and each of us makes known the Divine to others by our lived and evolving reality.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, speaking about the African principle of “ubuntu”, says,
You share what you have. It is to say, “My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours.” We belong in a bundle of life. We say, “A person is a person through other persons.” A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are.
This week, let us celebrate the wondrous beauty of our environment, recognize our interdependence and interconnectedness, and together care for all who share our planet with us. Let us be conscious of the poor and the homeless amongst us and make the concerted effort to reach out to them.
Let us, as we mark World Teacher’s Day, celebrate all who teach us. Let us be grateful for poets and musicians, for parents, for prophets and teachers from the East and West who open us to unperceived realities, to hidden mysteries that tickle our curiosity, to knowledge that broadens our hearts and minds, and to compassion that enables us to reach out to one another.
READ: Pope Francis and Francis of Assisi
WATCH: Instrument of Peace and the Canticle of Creation (Oct 4)
CONSIDER: Get involved with World Habitat Day Activities and Campaigns (Oct 3)