Saturday, October 04, 2008

DAY OF SAINT FRANCIS

Saint Francis - Matutu 2006
Statue of Saint Francis at Matutu, Minas Gerais


Somehow, I really can't think of my love for nature and the forest without thinking also of Saint Francis of Assisi who, way back in the 12th Century Italy, had insight to reject the consumer-driven culture of materialism that had compromised both the market-place and the church of his day. Like in our present times, it seemed as if society had become distracted by shopping.


He Told Us to Go Shopping. Now the Bill Is Due.
(Click the link to read about it.)

He Told Us to Go Shopping
graphic by the Washington Post

And, it's not just going on in the United States!

Sign on building in central São Paulo
sign on a building in central São Paulo

[UPDATE: If you want to see the contemporary archetype of the binge of conspicuous consumption check out what's going on in Dubai here and here.]

[UPDATE 2: Lula Urges Brazilian Consumer to Ignore Crisis, Spend. Seems like the credit crisis is making some Brazilians more cautious.]

Peter Menzel has given us an incredible photo essay on the state of materialism around the world.

Peter Menzel - Material World
Material World by Peter Menzel

The US has the most. It was the first in the line and it really filled its shopping cart. And much of the world now seems to want to experience similar bad habits. Our hope on this special day is that maybe we can change. Maybe we can find a better way. As we search for a path beyond war and suffering and the destruction of nature, I can think of no better set of guides than those laid down by Saint Francis of Assisi:


Singing the prayer of Saint Francis at Flor do Ceu

Lord,
make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


May we all find a way out of living in a sense of a possessive separate ego that does not see that we are all -- both humanly and more-than-humanly -- connected now, always and eternally.

May we say, along with our Lakota Indian friends, Mituke Oyasin or All My Relations and know relatedness and reciprocity as the path of truth and happiness.

And may we learn to be as joyous and loving as Saint Francis

St Francis


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