Thursday, June 15, 2006

Was Francis of Assisi a deep ecologist?

St. Francis of Assisi was a perfect model in the Christian tradition especially in his treatment of non-humans. He considered all forms of life and even inanimate things to be part of the fellowship of God. For Francis, all creatures are equal and interrelated. Francis insisted that wild grasses and flowers should be untouched so that they would announce the beauty of the creator. For Francis the existence of other creatures and wild plants should be valued for their own sake; they also have intrinsic value. Francis was against human greed which injures other aspects of creation.

Francis loved the creation because of the fact that in it he found the Lord. The nature spoke of God and from it, he could rise to Him. Sometimes we see Francis climbing up mountainsides to give himself over to contemplation of the only one. Francis was not content only with praising God for his creatures, but he lived with them all. He knew no sun, no wind, no water, no fire, etc., but “Brother sun, Brother wind, Sister Water, Brother Fire.


Jesus came to this world as the brother of humanity and taught us to call God “Our Father” (Mt.6:9; 23:9; Lk.11:2). Francis as the true bother of Christ joyfully addressed God as his father. Francis always used the word “Brotherhood” to express his relationship. He felt he had brothers and sisters throughout nature. He believed that everything was sacred because everything came from god and spoke of God. Since Christ Himself Was born in the midst of creatures in Bethlehem, this made Francis to respect and show reverence to creation. He saw the goodness of God in them, and listened to His Voice in them. Therefore, he could speak even to the trees of the forest and birds of the air. Francis invited all creatures to praise the Lord just as though they had power to reason.

Francis had the realization that the Father in Heaven is not only the Father of human beings but also of all other creation. Therefore the whole creation is filled not with creatures but with brothers and sisters. Francis had the urge to protect all and help all both animate and inanimate. Thus he established a blessed harmony in creation. There are numerous exa


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