Creation, Justice and Peace
Francis lived about 800 years ago in central Italy. It was a world and time very different from our own. Yet some of his ideas are very timely for us. He had an intuitive grasp of the relationship between all the parts of creation, and their creator. Everything in creation is part of an intricate web created by God. Each part speaks of God’s presence and purpose. This presence and purpose is best expressed when all parts of creation are in right relationship with each other and witness to the peace and righteousness which is God's will for creation.
Humankind is given a great gift in creation, yet with this gift comes the responsibility to live in right relationship with each element. Francis called them sister and brother. This wasn’t just weak sentimentality. He knew that he owed his life to earth and water and wind and sun and moon and stars—even fire. The biblical concept of justice is not so much about judgement, as it is about making right. Making right relationships with each other and all that God gives us in this world. These relationships are ones of peace, where each element can flourish and be what God made it to be.
Francis wrote a Canticle in Praise of the Creatures. By addressing them as brother or sister, he brings them into the closeness and intimacy of human relationship. He gives them a voice. They too offer to God their praises as we give God our praises for God’s goodness. God has given us such a beautiful world for our home.
In the time of Francis the damage which humankind could inflict on creation was limited. But in our day the potential for destruction is so much greater. We are given an awesome responsibility. How do we use our God-given gifts of intelligence and creative skill to care for this planet Earth, our home? How do we ensure the justice and peace so that all can flourish in right relationship?
The voice of Francis from 800 years ago still calls out to us. How do we love those sisters and brothers God has given us in all the many and various parts of creation? What world do we give to the generations who come after us?
- Hearing the Cry of the Earth (Third Order Ministers' Meeting, June 2019)
- Franciscans and Indigenous Peoples: An Urgent Appeal for Collaborative Action and Communion in a Perilous Time (Third Order Ministers' Meeting, Sep 2020)
Environmental Mission in Solomon Islands
The First Order brothers in Solomon Islands recently expanded their understanding of mission to include all of creation. In 2020 they began a partnership with Franciscans International in response to the widespread destructive logging in their islands. They have since been joined by the Catholic Dominican Sisters and Friars in Solomons and now more recently by the Sisters of the Church.
Some key documents and videos:
- Joint Franciscan / Dominican Submission to the UN Human Rights Council on the Human Rights Situation in the Solomon Islands, 15 October 2020
- Summary of Stakeholders' Submission on Solomon Islands, 22 February 2021
- Video talk by Brother Lent SSF to UN HRC Pre-Session 25 March 2021
- Advocacy Paper - The Impact of Logging Activities on Human Rights in Solomon Islands, May 2021
- Report of the [Human Rights Council] Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review - Solomon Islands, 28 June 2021
- Report of the [Human Rights Council] Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review - Solomon Islands - Addendum - Views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by [Solomon Islands], 13 July 2021
- Video talk by Sr Teresa Tebaia OP to UNHCR - 28 September 2021
- Press Release: Franciscan Brothers and Sisters of the Church take a stand against environmental destruction in the Solomon Islands February 2023
Important Message from TSSF re: Walking With Our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters
Read More and Get Involved!
- Franciscans International - FI is the NGO which advocates at the United Nations for the protection of human dignity and environmental justice.
- The Laudato Si' Revolution is a global campaign whose aim is to encourage and promote integral ecological conversion, i.e. environmental, economic and social ecology. The human and social dimensions are at the heart of this campaign, as we want the values of social and environmental justice, care and respect for creation and intergenerational solidarity to be part of our daily lives.
- Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus, and the example of Saints Francis and Clare, the Franciscan Action Network is a collective Franciscan voice seeking to transform United States public policy related to peace making, care for creation, poverty, and human rights.
- CCFMC (Comprehensive Course on Franciscan Missionary Charism) is a study-reflect program with the primary objective of offering Franciscan communities worldwide, and also to interested lay friends of Francis and Clare, an instrument to know deeper the Franciscan charism, its story and development, its significance for the evangelization, for living a Franciscanly marked life in our time, and for inter Franciscan cooperation.