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Francis of Assisi, Patron and Protector of ANDECO
St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of ecology. In ANDECO we have made him our Patron Saint and Protector. He has inspired us on this course which we undertook in 1999, to protect and love the creation and to work for the restoration of Nature. Francis loved the creation because he loved the Creator. The two are linked. Francis understood that the animals, plants, the earth, sun and the heavens reveal the Love, Goodness and Beauty of the Creator.

Francis is the patron saint of ANDECO because of his extraordinary example of brotherhood with nature, for having attained a balance between interior ecology and exterior ecology; a balance between his internal harmony and his love for the creation. He felt a deep compassion within himself that he projected outward towards human beings and all other creatures. Francisco could experience the heart of things, understanding their essence and appreciate in a natural way the bonds which interconnect us one to another and link us to the heart of the Heavenly Father.

Francis of Assisi perceived the original value of people and all creation. He understood from the heart the invisible language of the creation. Francisco saw beauty where others could not. In that beauty he discovered the love and boundless goodness of the Creator. For that reason he loved the beauty of nature deeply.

Our modern culture lacks deep experiences. Human beings have lived accumulating knowledge but not wisdom; burying the heart, the intuition, sensitivity and tenderness. We have lived without care and compassion for one another and without protecting our earth for the benefit of present and future generations. This lack of spiritual consciousness is causing a global crisis and all the environmental problems. There exists a great existential vacuum in our modern culture caused by living outside spiritual principles and values, by an absence of dreams and ideals and by a serious lack of knowledge about the working of the laws of creation.

The principles of the universe are not relative. They are imprinted on our conscience and this guides us throughout our life to live in accordance with the purpose for which we have been created. Developing our heart and character in harmony with the laws of the universe is the basis of peace.
Francis of Assisi shows the way for us to act from the heart. He grew up in the midst of a rich family, living a comfortable life; but one day he listened to the voice of his heart and underwent a deep internal change. He developed a great capacity to feel and resonate with the value of people and things from the perspective of the heart, over and above logical reasoning. Knowledge by means of the heart lead him towards a full communion with the creation and the Creator.

The surest way to protect nature is to develop a heart that loves it. We have to become conscious that nature is our best teacher and to think of nature as a cosmic museum teaching love.

We find in Francis a vision of Universal Brotherhood which is profoundly linked to the Love of the Creation which inspired the beautiful Canticle of the Sun in which he considers all the animals, the plants and the stars as his brothers. It is through feelings of universal brotherhood that we will be able to transform our heart, learning from Francis who treated all things with utmost respect and veneration.

The heart of Francis gives thanks to the Creator for all creatures, considering each of them brothers and sisters. His life was a universal reconciliation; brother sun, sister moon and stars, brother wolf, sister earth, sister water, brother wind and brother fire. This vision of brotherhood with the universe has inspired and transformed the relationship of man with the earth. In Francisco we find a balance between how we should relate to nature and how we should relate to each other.

Francisco understood the language of the flowers and the language of people. He captured their essence and knew how to translate it into words. He knew how to listen to the myterious beats of the creation. His poems and songs are a beautiful example of this sensitivity, so refined an delicate, so tender and of such creative imagination. Francisco felt himself to be the most humble of servants and this permitted him to glimpse the greatness of the Creator. He always occupied the last place. His humility was the key to completely open his heart towards understanding the mysterious language with which God speaks to us through the creation, discovering His wisdom, godness and beauty. Francisco perceived the silent melody that God sings in the creation and interpreted the silent song which all creation renders to the Creator. He shows us how to understand nature as the language through which God communicates with us. In nature we can understand Him and understand His laws and principles.

The vision of Francis for Ecology and Peace is not summarized in a set of good ideas to protect nature. It is not an external commitment that requires learning a code of best practices. His vision goes well beyond that. It is deeper. It entails a substantial change of heart. Francisco expresses to us a tender vision of the creation, an exquisite appreciation of the beauty and harmony that there is in the heart of the Creator.

Francis knew that we can know the artist through his works and that these reflect the essence of his heart. He knew that peace is built from a harmonious heart connected to the Creator because from there is born love for people and nature.

The construction of a solid basis for peace is linked to respect for the creation. Therefore from ANDECO we work with a vision to protect nature, uniting communities and cultures in order to preserve the natural inheritance of the earth and the heritage of our ancestors, serving as an instrument to contribute to understanding and peace among the diverse peoples of the planet.

Francis of Assisi was a pioneer in the West for his love, so overflowing with tenderness, sweetness and gentleness, for the creation. He is without doubt an extraordinary model for all of us who love nature and wish to heighten our awareness and share with the world that sensitivity, love and compassion for all created beings.

Tenderness is like the nectar of love. Tenderness expresses itself when we go beyond ourselves and connect with the interior world of the other, capturing its essence, goodness, authenticity and beauty; when we share its existence and we appreciate it, opening our heart. Through tenderness we can develop a love that is sustainable through time, an unconditional and sincere love, a pure and compassionate love. When the heart becomes tender one experiences unity with the other. Tenderness is the condition for a true encounter.

Nature shows us infinite tenderness, living in constant dialog with the environment. This exchange shows us the value of communication, love, harmony and peace. Francis of Assisi maintained a high standard as a creator of peace, He was a man of peace. He is for us a guiding light. His way of handling relationships inspires us to reconciliation.

Human relationships and peace among men formed part of the mission of Francis. The peace he shows us is based on respect of the rights of each and every one, fo rwhich he established peace conenants, thus restoring past errors. From ANDECO we seek a new alliance with the creation. Peace and sustainability must be linked to respect for the creation and in connection with the Creator. We must protect nature, developing a heart that loves it. When God created us he gave us three great blessings: “Be fruitful, multiply and take dominion over the earth”. This is imprinted on our conscience. It is what guides us throughoutn our lives to live in accordance with the purpose for which we were created. Francis of Assisi shows us with his example that if we are in peace with God, who is our Father and Creator, we will be able to construce peace with all creation and peace among all peoples.

We have wrongly understood the commandment “take dominion over the earth”. It does not mean exploit it and destroy it according to our personal interests. It means connecting with nature from the heart becoming, brothers with it. The vision of Francis is anthropological and ecological. It is a vision of gratitude ot the Creator from a pure heart, appreciating that all is good and beautiful. God has created a world overflowing with beauty, love and goodness; a world from its sustainable origin. Therefore it is the responsability of human beings to love it and preserve it. The lack of a spiritual consciousness is what is causing the global crisis and all th eenvironmental problems.

Francis inspires us to develop a heart of gratitude along with a genuine desire to preserve the integrity of the creation. He inspires su to love and maintain alive the feeling of universal brotherhood for all creatures and to develop an open, pure and sensitive heart like a child. His mystical vision of nature approximates closely the wisdom of children. His language, which is of the heart of love, reaches the deapths of the human being. His message is universal and it is for the present-day. It is for everyone. Peace and sustainability are built in unity and in harmony with the Creator and his creation.

Marian Barnes
Founder of ANDECO.