Monday, September 28, 2015

Novena to St. Francis: Reflection on Francis and Nature.

Laudato Sii is out and it is well accepted by all irrespective Religions and political parties. The Church and religious Orders to learn and know the role are organizing the debates and discussions, seminars and symposiums that each one can paly in order to preserve the Nature. When we observe the nature with faith it enchants and takes us to spiritual realm. Saints and Sandhus of our Land have always recognized the importance and relationship of Nature and Spirituality. Everything in the Nature has the potency and power to take us to the spiritual realm provided we discover the hidden reality in it. The nature has led many souls to the Creator and it has been a constant and great source of wonder and awe. St. Francis of Assisi discovered that nature is continuing revelation of the divine. He understood better God as creator when he related himself to the creation. He gave an active response to the wonderful creation of God by calling them as brothers and Sisters. Francis first developed a strong and deep personal relationship with the God and that helped him to develop a right relationship with nature and other human beings.
Today the International community is crying out to save the nature and inviting everyone to participate because there is so much of ecological imbalance and crisis. We are all responsible for the deforestation, climate change, and pollution of air and water and soil erosion. These are big and dangerous problems, which we face in India and elsewhere in our world. The changes are enormous and beyond imagination, the nature and its blessings that we enjoyed are no more to be seen. Everything is affected and touched by this change. The international community is aware so every now and then it makes a clarion call to take some effective measures to restore environmental ills.
St. Francis, our father saw God’s glory revealed in the natural world that led him to compose the Canticle of Brother Sun. He wanted to preserve the Nature so he called everyone to admire and accept the nature. He was able to know and love God through the creation. He prayed thus: Praise be my Lord for our brother the wind, and for air and cloud, calms and all weather, by which you uphold life in all creatures.       
As Franciscans we can first care for the environment and then call and collaborate with those who care for it. Let us make it as part of our personal and communitarian life. Pope John Paul II said, “The ecological crisis is a moral issue and the responsibility of everyone”. Let us build up like St. Francis a wonderful relationship with the environment.
Let us not subdue and dominate the earth but like Francis consider it as our Mother and Father. Let us recognize and accept the marvels of the earth, its beauty and the wonderful creatures. The Life of St. Francis teaches us respect for the earth and calls us to live within its limits by accepting everyone as brothers and sisters.
The bible has abundant images that connect the earth to God, and teach about God; the wind, water, soil, seeds, trees, birds, sheep. Many passages speak of the need to respect the land, for example.  The metaphors of planting and tending, pruning and harvesting are used to speak of God and of life. The bible also teaches about an equitable distribution of resources, including sharing land, animals and water. This insistence on justice is often directed towards distributing the bounty of the earth and providing for those who are marginalized.  The profound interconnection between God’s care for humans and care for the environment is noted in Psalm 146: The maker of heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them … secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry … sets prisoners free … gives sight to the blind … raises up those who are bowed down … protects the stranger [and] sustains the orphan and the widow.
Each one of us is called to deepen our capacity to appreciate the wonders of nature as an act of faith and love. In the silence of contemplation, nature speaks of the beauty of the Creator. Let us collaborate to restore the environment and repair some of creation’s wounds, which have been inflicted due to our ecological sins.

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