St. Francis’ living legacy remembered

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A small statue of St. Francis of Assisi with the Cross of San Damiano. (Photo: Raymond A. Sebastián)

QUEZON City, Oct. 12, 2015 – The head of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) in the Philippines recently led his confreres in remembering their founder, St. Francis of Assisi, whose inspiring legacy, he says, lives on centuries after his death.

“This year, we are not so much interested in celebrating St. Francis’ 789th death anniversary, but his life-giving inspiration. That is his legacy,” said Fr. Cielito R. Almazan, OFM, Minister Provincial of Franciscan Province of San Pedro Bautista, on Oct. 4, Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

Francis’ influence

“So what if St. Francis is so popular today, even more popular than Aldub, on this planet? Should we just be contented [with] celebrating our joy of being identified with the great saint?” he asked.

The Franciscan claimed even world leaders charting the political, economic, and spiritual lives of whole nations deeply respect the saint.

Almazan noted there is no need to be a scientist nor an expert to help save the world as long as one follows St. Francis’ footsteps.

“If we simply imitate his formula, logic and system, all will be well. Less carbons will be burned. Immediately, rising temperatures will halt. There will be no more wars, no more violent demolitions, no more forced migrations, no more massive poverty. There will be more peace and security. There will be more joy in our homes and hearts. We too will preserve the little that we have which the next generations will surely appreciate,” he explained.

Laudato Si’

Almazan pointed out the Italian mystic known for his closeness to animals stands tall today because of “Laudato Si’” (Praised be), whose title was taken from the opening line of his “Canticle of Brother Sun.”

In this “Encyclical on Ecology on the Care for the Common Home,” he said Pope Francis cited the name “Saint Francis of Assisi” six times and “Saint Francis” seven times, proving the saint’s influence on his Jesuit namesake.

According to Almazan, in Laudato Si’ the Holy Father invites all to be one with creation, and to see themselves anew as creatures of God.

“We are not its creators or owners. We have no right to keep or accumulate things for ourselves at the expense of others. We are just stewards. We must make them available to others and in good order,” he stressed.

Evil trap

“We must not fall into the trap of the evil mind that subverts it that: we can amass without limit wealth and property; we can do whatever we want with anything that falls into our hands,” he added.

With this in mind, Almazan went on to denounce a culture of anthropocentrism, egocentrism, unbridled appropriation, corporate greed, and destructive activities, even those legalized by the state.

“The Pope is listening to the cries of the poor and the earth. He is appealing to us now in behalf of them. If we do not do something dramatic now, we will soon lose our common home, and we will soon all die,” he lamented. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)

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