The Fellowship of Life
Wednesday November 29 this year will mark an anniversary of great
topical significance: it will be exactly ten years since the Holy
Father, in an Apostolic Letter, proclaimed St Francis of Assisi patron
saint of ecology and of ecologists.
When doing so, Pope John Paul made particular mention of St Francis'
famous "Canticle of Brother Sun" in which the Saint commends to God the
praise which all creatures give Him by their being and purpose, and in
which he refers to them as his brothers and sisters. "Sir Brother Sun,"
"Sister Water," "Brother Fire," "Our Sister, Mother Earth," and so on.
Although the Canticle is one of the great poems of all time, St
Francis was not just being poetic in his imagery: he truly visualised
every creature as his brother or sister in Christ, to be respected and
loved as such.
This is surely the message he holds out to us, as we face the grave
ecological crises which have so suddenly broken upon the world: which
have become apparent in the brief decade - a micro-second when measured
against the age of the earth - since Francis' appointment.
"The Earth is the Lord's and its fullness." The example of St Francis
invites us to approach our current problems in the light of that truth,
as God's stewards, and with our eyes open to the beauty of all that has
been entrusted to us.
Let us then use the anniversary well, in thoughtfulness and in
Capt Peter Kimm OBE RN (Rtd)
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