We Need Their Voices Today! Chapter (1) Saint Francis of Assisi


Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery

John Scales Avery, author of this book: We Need Their Voices Today! has generously granted Human Wrongs Watch permission to publish it in a series of chapters. This is Chapter 1: Saint Francis of Assisi. The others will follow successively. 

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John Scales Avery

The life of Saint Francis

Saint Francis of Assisi was born in 1181 in the Italian hilltop town of Assisi. His father, Pietro di Bernardone, was a prosperous silk merchant, and his mother Pica de Bourlemont, was a noblewoman from Provence.

Saint Francis was originally called Giovanni, but his father later renamed him Francesco because of his successful business dealings in France and his admiration for all things French.

After leading the ordinary (somewhat dissolute) life of a wealthy young man of that period, Saint Francis underwent a religious conversion, following which he renounced his inheritance and embraced a life of poverty and service.

Although not ordained as a priest, he began teaching what he believed to be the true Christian message. He soon acquired a small group of followers, and he traveled with them to Rome to ask Pope Innocent III for permission to found a new religious order. During his life, Saint Francis founded three religious orders.

francis

Figure 1.1: Saint Francis preaching to the birds in a painting by Giotto (public domain). Image re-published from the author’s book

Saint Francis continued to preach, and is even said to have preached to birds and animals, whom he regarded as his sisters and brothers. His attitude towards nature can be seen in his “Canticle of the Sun”:

Canticle of the Sun

“Most High, all powerful, good Lord,

Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor,

and all blessing.

To You alone, Most High, do they belong,

and no man is worthy to mention Your name.

“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.

Praise be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon

and the stars, in heaven you formed them

clear and precious and beautiful.

“Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,

and through the air, cloudy and serene,

and every kind of weather through which

You give sustenance to Your creatures.

“Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,

which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,

through whom you light the night and he is beautiful

and playful and robust and strong.

“Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,

who sustains us and governs us and who produces

varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

“Praised be You, my Lord,

through those who give pardon for Your love,

and bear infirmity and tribulation.

Blessed are those who endure in peace

for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.

“Praised be You, my Lord,

through our Sister Bodily Death,

from whom no living man can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin.

“Blessed are those whom death will

find in Your most holy will,

for the second death shall do them no harm.

“Praise and bless my Lord,

and give Him thanks

and serve Him with great humility”.

Canonization

Pope Gregory IX canonized Francis on 16 July 1228. Along with Saint Catherine of Sienna, he was designated Patron saint of Italy. He later became associated with patronage of animals and the natural environment, and it became customary for Catholic and Anglican churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of 4 October.

A prayer of Saint Francis

“Blessed is he who loves and does not therefore desire to be loved;

Blessed is he who fears and does not therefore desire to be feared;

Blessed is he who serves and does not therefore desire to be served;

lessed is he who behaves well toward others and does not desire that others

behave well toward him”

Saint Francis, friend of all life on earth, friend of the earth itself, true interpreter of Christian ethics, we need your voice today!

(To be continued: Chapter 2: William Blake).

Read the Introduction: 

We Need Their Voices Today! Compassion and Greed: Two Sides of Human Nature

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*AUTHOR: John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London.

He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent books are Information Theory and Evolution and Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf).

Read more John Scales Avery’s articles published in Human Wrongs Watch:

We Need Their Voices Today! Compassion and Greed: Two Sides of Human Nature

Interview with John Scales Avery, One of the Greatest Living Intellectuals on Earth

Trump and the Deep State

Individual  Responsibility

We Must Not Demonize and Threaten Russia

Tribalism, Nationalism and Fascism

Europe Must Not Be a Vassal to Trump’s USA

Trump Threatens the World with Climate Disaster

Gorbachev Appeals for Sanity, Dialogue

What U.S. Progressives Should Do on November 8

Science and Society

Fossil Fuels: At What Price?

Human Nature: An Evolutionary Paradox

Mainstream Media Are Betraying Humanity

US Elections Cry Out for Reform!

NATO Threatens Europe With Annihilation

USA: Another Stolen Election?

The Danger of Fascism in the United States

Creating the Future

OPEC Oil and Climate Change

A Scientist Presses for Action on Many Fronts: A Review of The Need for a New Economic System by John Scales Avery

John Scales Avery – Collected Essays

Pharming

Culture, Education and Human Solidarity

The United States Drifts Towards Political Irresponsibilty

Paris: We Need System Change!

Paris and the Long-Term Future

We Must Stop the Madness of Brinkmanship

Paris, India, and Coal

Paris: A Sense of Proportions Is Urgently Needed

Debt Slavery

Book Review: Aurelio Peccei and Daisako Ikeda, “Before It Is Too Late”

The Need for a New Economic System – PART IX: a New Society, a New Social Contract, a New Way Life

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VIII: The Cooperative Movement

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VII: The Global Food Crisis

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VI: Adverse Effects of Globalization

The Need for a New Economic System – PART V: The Threats and Costs of War

The Need for a New Economic System – PART IV: Neocolonialism and Resource Wars

The Need for a New Economic System – Part III: Climate Change and the Urgent Need for Renewable Energy

The Need for a New Economic System – PART II: Entropy and Economics

The Need for a New Economic System – PART I : Limits to Growth

Israel, Iran and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Debt Slavery

Will the Real Issues Be Discussed in 2016?

Militarism’s Hostages

New Hope for Avoiding Catastrophic Climate Change

Exponential Growth

Albert Einstein, Scientist and Pacifist

“The Path to Zero: Dialogues on Nuclear Dangers”, by Richard Falk and David Krieger

Millay’s “Epitaph for the Race of Man” 

The Future of International Law (Part I)

The Future of International Law (Part II)

The Future of International Law (Part III)

Europe Must Not Be Forced Into a Nuclear War with Russia

Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe – The Dangers Are Very Great Today

Why Is the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons So Urgent?

Why Is the Military-Industrial Complex Sometimes Called “The Devil’s Dynamo”?

Of Reciprocity and Karma

Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand Is at Our Throats

Perpetual War

Kill or Be Killed… Or Both!

Does It Make Sense to Saw Off the Branch on Which You Are Sitting?

Blood for Oil – The Close Relationship Between Petroleum and War

2017 Human Wrongs Watch

 

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