I was a joy to be part of a group of nearly twenty people last Sunday morning for the first in our series of sessions in our Lent Course called “Every Creature a Divine Word”.
Brother Samuel, a Franciscan friar of the Society of St Francis since 1974, has lived and worked at a number of friaries in the UK around the world. I invited him to introduce our series of speakers because he has been particularly associated with Hilfield Friary in Dorset, where for the past ten years there has been a focus on the care of creation and sustainable living, shaped by the Franciscan tradition.
It was St Bonaventure, one of the early Franciscan theologians, who coined the phrase “Every creature is a diving word becauuse it proclaims God”, and Brother Samuel challenged us to think about this term in three particular ways:
What does it mean to see the world around us as a gift, through yes of gratitude?
How can we change from a mindset that judges other aspects of creation simply through their altruistic value (how useful they are to us) to seeing everything as intrinsically good because it is created by God?
What small things can we try to do to contribute to a big action to begin to heal the problems we face ecologically and environmentally?
Brother Samuel has set a challenging agenda for us over these next few weeks as we look forward to hearing from our next three speakers.
Next Sunday Sunday, 17th March, Clare Bellefeuille-Rice leads a session titled Every person, a Divine Word – care for the stranger
Clare joined the Los Angeles Catholic Worker community at the age of 18, and spent eight years living in their house of hospitality and working in their soup kitchen. After obtaining a university degree in voice performance, she came to Europe and has been living the life of a volunteering nomad ever since. She is currently working at the London Catholic Worker, which operates a hospitality house for migrants and refugees without access to public funds.
Sunday 24th March, Nikki Coates leads out third session: Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle – are these Divine Words? Nikki grew up in North London, and attended Hornsey Parish Church for a number of years. Now a mother of two and member of St Michael’s Church, Wood Green, where her husband Fr Andy is curate, Nikki and the family are trying live as plastic-free as possible.
Sunday 7th April, Julia Lampard: Gardens and Open Spaces – nurturing the Divine Word. For several years Julia has been a volunteer with our Respite Night Shelter. She lives in Cranley Gardens, and is a passionate gardener and supporter of our green open spaces. Julia works at TreeHouse School in Muswell Hill, operated by the charity Ambitious About Autism, where she is overseeing a new social enterprise which will involve pupils growing vegetables to sell in veg-boxes. There are many ways we can all get involved in growing things and this is becoming ever more important.
These four sessions are on Sundays 12-1pm in the Lady Chapel . Everyone is welcome. (Please note there is no session on Mothering Sunday, 31st March)
With the assurance of my prayers
A couple of links that may interest you:
Brother Sam reminded us of the very important papal encyclical “Laudato Si” which may be a rewarding thing to read alongside the Lent Course. I have 6 copies available for sale at £5 each
The Muswell Hill Sustainability Group is supported by members of the congregation and worth a look with a couple of events coming up that are very much in tune with our theme…..