Skip to main content

Happy St Francis' and World Animal Day

On October 4 each year animal lovers celebrate “World Animal Day” in kind remembrance of Saint Francis of Asissi, the poor man who considered animals and all of nature as his brothers and sisters.

Of course St Francis is now considered to be patron saint of 1) animals, 2) environment, 3) environmentalists, 4) ecologists and environmental scientists 4) San Francisco and 5) All people named Francis. The Mass for All Creation  was once celebrated on October 4 but is now celebrated in the Sunday nearest October 4. I attended the Mass at our Carmelite parish. There was a lot of dogs, birds, cats, fish and of course the snakes and lizards. After all snakes and lizards are creatures of the Creator. There was a cacophony of barks and meows and chirps.

Saint Francis is believed to have preached to birds, fish and tamed the man-eating wolf of Gubbio. Francis believed that all animals and nature praise God. This was a rather unusual theological position to take in the Middle Ages. The Judeo-Christian tradition teaches that man is master of nature. But how did God intend this mastery to be? What is obvious that God gave this command to be master of creation before the Fall. So tradition teaches us that we have lost what our primacy over nature really is due to Original Sin. Saint Francis reminds us that we can still recover this primacy only through Jesus Christ who has redeemed all of creation.

Scientists know that the root of environmental problems lie on how we use resources beyond what we really need. Recent Popes on the other hand have said that the problem is really a moral one. This is supported by non-Catholic religious leaders too such as the Ecumenical Patriarch, Jewish Rabbis and Muslim Imams and of course the Dalai Lama. John Paul II wrote a strong message for World Peace Day in 1990 that links peace with environmental protection. In his inaugural homily, Benedict XVI  said that the “deserts”[ referring to the environment] we have created reveal much about our “interior deserts”. It should be noted that Benedict is an animal lover and once patron of an animal welfare society.

If the environmental problem is also a spiritual problem, then what could be the solution? Francis who held fast to Catholic beliefs believed that the Eucharist held the key. In the Eucharist, Jesus becomes truly present under the appearances of bread and wine. Here creation is again made Divine and so it will be once more, nature renewed. In the Eucharist the Master is really a Servant and no one will be Master unless he/she becomes a Servant. This is probably how are primacy over nature should be. We can only be masters if we are with nature and not separate from it.

So Happy World Animal day. We should reply, same to you since we are animals too, much loved by the Creator.


Popular posts from this blog

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

President Manuel Luis Quezon's Code of Ethics

Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.

1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…

Flame trees in bloom

The hottest summer courtesy of El Nino in at least 10 years gave runners and walkers in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus a visual treat. This year the flame trees Delonix regia are in full bloom!
In past summers it wasn't as hot and dry so the trees did not shed their leaves and few blooms were produced.
It is the tropical version of the Japanese Hanami or the Cherry blossom viewing season. While Hanami tells us the fragile impermanence of beauty, the flame tree hanami tells us that summer burns but soon it will all be over.