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Tread Carefully, Prayerfully

Saint Francis of Assisi loved the earth; he walked respectfully over the land as holy ground. When he walked over rocks, “he would walk with fear and reverence out of love for Him who is called ‘the Rock.’” We too are called to tread lightly on our planet, always supported by our Earth home, which has been created to sustain us in every moment.

— from Care for Creation: A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth

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Winged Creatures

Bring to your attention all the insects—bees, dragonflies, lightning bugs, butterflies—all the little creatures that inhabit our planet. Think of all the services they provide us—they who help pollinate the flowers and plants, who help break down waste, who enrich the soil—all of them playing crucial roles in the interconnected mystery of life on our planet. Bring to mind the other winged creatures—sparrows, songbirds, bluebirds, great birds of prey. Bring them into your circle of awareness, all of God’s creatures being breathed by life right now in this present moment.

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The Poetry of Earth

Saint Francis recognized God’s work in creation and loved it. He was foremost a follower of Jesus, but in him there was no tension between loving God and loving all creatures of God. Rather, Francis reveled in the sun, gazed upon the stars, danced with the air, was drawn to the fire, marveled at water and loved the earth. He recognized the beauty of God in creation and loved God all the more for the abundance of this gift. He celebrated the beauty and interdependence of creation through poetry and called it “good.” And good it is.

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Life Is Amazing

Life is amazing. All life is utterly dependent upon our planet for everything it needs. God provides everything through creation. Water falls from the sky and runs through creeks and rivers. Plants and animals grow and are all part of the circle of life. Air circulates around the globe, refreshing and renewing all of life’s creatures. The sun, trees, plants, oil, coal and gas provide energy. The beauty of creation grabs our attention, inspiring us and providing for our needs.

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Creation Exalts the Creator

We are connected through time and space with all of creation, and our home is within a dynamic, expanding universe. We are made of stardust, along with everything else in the universe. As humans, we have evolved the capacity not only to know, but to reflect on what we know. Through humans, creation has become conscious. Because we can reflect on our knowing, we can make choices and thus change the course of things. We can learn from creation how to love and praise our common Creator, and we can use our human voice to speak on behalf of all that is created.

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One Family

Within Franciscan spirituality is the kinship of creation, the theological insight that we (all of God’s creation) are all fellow creatures, each uniquely loved and valued by God. This means, of course, that we cannot treat any of our fellow creatures as if they exist without value. In spite of all the distinctions between us, we are family. The heart of ecological conversion is the invitation to see, feel, and act in this kinship of creation.

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