Lived together, Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) form a ‘caring for creation’ spirituality, a way of living life in the Spirit. As followers of St Francis of Assisi, we Franciscans feel ourselves called to live this spirituality, and by caring for our sister-mother earth and for the relationships between all people on earth, we work to bring about the Kingdom of God, where all are valued and cherished.
When Christians pray the words of Christ, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are praying that each of these values – Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation – bears fruit as Jesus desired.
In JPIC ministry, we are committed to focus on three areas at this time: peace & reconciliation; environmental justice & ecology; and collaboration among the services of the Order, especially JPIC, formation, and evangelisation.
In 1979 Pope John Paul II declared St Francis of Assisi to be the Patron Saint of those who promote Ecology. St Francis came to view all created things as his brothers and sisters, loved into existence by God, our one Father. He celebrated how we are related to our Sister Mother Earth, on whom we depend. In a Franciscan view of the world, every element in the universe is related and interdependent: humans, animals, flowers, birds, insects, water, trees, fish, rocks, even the climate. As brothers and sisters to each other, we have a responsibility to care for one another. Praise the Creator using the words of St. Francis in The Canticle of the Creatures. To find out more, view our ecology website, Praying Nature.
“Following closely in the footsteps of St. Francis, the friars are to maintain a reverent attitude towards nature, threatened from all sides today, in such a way that they may restore it completely to its condition of brother and to its role of usefulness to all humankind for the glory of God the Creator” (Art. 71, OFM General Constitutions).
In order to educate ourselves about ecology and the need to care for creation, the friars have researched and produced two documents: “Environmental Justice” and “Care for Creation in the Daily Life of the Friars Minor.”
Environmental Justice deals with the relationship between ecology and justice, beginning with a reflection on St. Francis and our Franciscan spirituality. The study shows how our founder and our charism inspire us to be concerned with the current environmental crisis in which we find ourselves. It then explains the concept of environmental justice, and offers four situations from around the world where Franciscans are dealing with these issues.
Care for Creation in the Daily Life of the Friars Minor is a kind of environmental audit that invites us to reflect on our ecological footprint. The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the Earth’s ecosystems. It compares human demand with planet Earth’s capacity to regenerate. It represents the amount of biologically productive land and sea area needed to regenerate the resources a human population consumes and to absorb and render harmless the corresponding waste. The document deals with nine areas that will help us to consider our impact on earth and its resources. It invites readers to choose at least one of the areas where their fraternity or ministry can make concrete decisions to begin to address ecological questions in daily life.
God is revealed in his creation – all of nature is God’s sacrament. In the Franciscan tradition creation is seen as God’s ‘first book’ that speaks of God to us, a visible book – if we but could read it with the ‘eyes of the Spirit’ as St Francis would say.
St Francis sought out beautiful places in solitude so that surrounded by the goodness and majesty of the Creator he might more easily enter into commuion with his God.
“Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures!’
Check out the Franciscan site: Praying Nature
Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called children of God.Matthew 5:9
May the Lord give you PeaceSt. Francis of Assisi
One model of Franciscan peacemaking is demonstrated in the story told by the early Franciscans of how St. Francis brought reconciliation to the people of the town of Gubbio who were terrorised by a wolf. He did this, not by banishing the wolf, but by having the people feed the animal so that the needs of all were met. To read more about this, click on the ‘St Francis & the Wolf of Gubbio‘ link below.
His meeting with the Sultan of Egypt shows how Francis’ manner of relating to people was different: Francis came in peace in stark contrast to the Crusaders laying siege to Alexandria, against whom the Sultan’s armies were fighting.
St. Francis urged his followers always to be courteous and to avoid quarrels. The peace that St. Francis promoted was not merely an absence of violence but an actively non-violent way of life. It reached out in love to others, especially to those who are poor and who live on the margins of society. In St. Francis’ time lepers were those most shunned, and it was to lepers that he turned first to bring the message of peace and love. No one and no thing is excluded from St. Francis’ Peace which he believed was the Peace of the Lord God Himself.
Before being God’s gift to man and a human project in conformity with the pine plan, peace is in the first place a basic attribute of God: “the Lord is peace” (Judges 6:24). Creation, which is a reflection of the divine glory, aspires to peace. God created all that exists, and all of creation forms a harmonious whole that is good in its every part (cf. Genesis 1:4,10,18,21,25,31). Peace is founded on the primary relationship that exists between every human being and God himself, a relationship marked by righteousness (cf. Genesis 17:1). Following upon the voluntary act by which man altered the divine order, the world experienced the shedding of blood and division. Violence made its appearance in interpersonal relationships (cf. Genesis 4:1-16) and in social relationships (cf. Genesis 11:1-9). Peace and violence cannot dwell together, and where there is violence, God cannot be present (cf. Chronicles 22:8-9). From: paragraph 488, Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching (Social Doctrine of the Church)
Read about how contemporary Christians and Muslims are seeking mutual understanding through local dialogue facilitated by a Franciscan initiative called the Damietta Initiative.
Franciscans work for human rights through Franciscans International (FI), an NGO composed of Franciscan friars, Franciscan sisters and brothers, and Secular Franciscans and is based at the UN. FI is a service to the Franciscan Family. Its aim is to raise Franciscans’ concerns regarding the situation of the most vulnerable, in order to advocate at the UN for positive change.