Francis-inspired brother creates ‘eco-icon’

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BACOLOD City, Negros Occidental, June 21, 2015—It’s Laudato Si’ in colors!

Just a week before its much-anticipated release, a religious brother “wrote” an icon inspired by St. Francis’ famous poem-prayer which in turn inspired “Laudato Si’,” the encyclical on “the care of our common home.”

In an interview, Br. Jaazeal Jakosalem of the Order of Augustinian Recollects (OAR) told CBCP News he based the image on the “Canticle of the Sun” (or: “Canticle of the Creatures”) of St. Francis of Assisi from which the title of the recent encyclical is derived.

Windows to heaven

“Icons are windows to heaven,” said he, echoing the iconographer’s motto.

Called “Jesus of Creation,” Jakosalem explained that the icon depicts Christ as the Son of the Creator, His Father, who participates in the work of creation, and whose redeeming love transforms all that is made.
Besides the Son of the Creator, the icon also has the Poor Man of Assisi at the lower center in a way that calls attention to the message of his canticle where he refers to the sun as brother, to the moon as his sister, and to the earth—symbolized by the plant—as his mother.


Quite unlike the more familiar icons, he pointed out Jesus of Creation differs from the others in its use of Baybayin, the Old Tagalog script.

READ: The first encyclical wholly from Francis overturns expectations  

The word “Dakilang” is on Christ’s top left side with “Likha” on the top right, “Likha,” forming “Dakilang Likha,” which roughly translates to “distinguished among God’s Creation”, the icon’s alternate name.

“The icon ‘Jesus of Creation’ will be in Rome next week to be given as a gift to Pope Francis by the Philippine Catholic Eco-team delegation to support the Pope’s encyclical,” Jakosalem shared.

Canticle of the Sun

In translation, part of the St. Francis’ “Canticle of the Sun” reads:

Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.

Greenheart Hermitage

Jakosalem, who comes from a family of painters in Negros, is connected with the Greenheart Hermitage, an ecological center established by the Recollects in 2010 at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos in keeping with the congregation’s ecology ministry.

There the brother works with young people, creating environmental murals on public walls.

Introducing icons

Knowing how statue-oriented Filipino Catholicism tends to be, Jakosalem expressed hope that with his Jesus of Creation, Filipinos will slowly take an interest in icons.

Aside from Jesus of Creation, the Recollect brother earlier wrote “Jesus of the Poor,” especially for the ongoing Year of Consecrated Life, which the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) presented to Pope Francis for a blessing during his visit to the country. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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