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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Autumn 2019 issue

From the Vicar, Fr Dr Colin Lawlor

‘If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.’

So wrote St Francis of Assisi, who died on 3rd October 1226. Francis was born in Assisi around the year 1181. His family were wealthy and as a young man Francis lived a carefree and reckless life. This changed following a direct revelation from God after which Francis renounced his wealth and lived a life of poverty as an itinerant preacher. He attracted many followers and eventually the Franciscan Order was born.

In 1224 Francis composed the Canticle Laudes Creaturarum (in Praise of Creation) which is often understood to be an affirmation of his own theology. Sometimes known as The Canticle of the Sun this hymn of praise thanks God for the whole of creation, ‘Brother Sun’, ‘Sister Water’, ‘Brother Wind’, ‘Sister Moon’. God is, says Francis, to be praised through all of his creatures; and then in one beautiful verse of the Canticle Francis writes:

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

Who sustains us and governs us and who produces

Varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs’

It is fitting that we reflect on Francis during the month of October, not just because his Feast Day falls at the beginning of this month, or because of Francis’ theology centred on creation, but also because it coincides with our Harvest celebrations, when we give thanks for the whole of creation, the beauty of the created order, the food that sustains us, the farmers that work the land, animals that provide food, warmth and companionship, the fish of the sea and the birds of the air. This was reflected in our ‘Blessing of the Animals’ service on the Saturday of our Harvest celebrations and in our Harvest Festival and Harvest Lunch on the Sunday.

In the Book of Genesis we hear of God creating all that is and that after he had created he ‘Saw that it was Good’. We are reminded of God’s call to humanity to be good stewards of creation. Our calling as human beings is to use that which God has given us but not to abuse it. To conserve and protect rather than waste and destroy. This should be at the forefront of our minds, not least at Harvest time.

During these past few weeks we cannot have failed to have been aware of protests against the way in which human beings are neglecting that call to conserve and protect. Whatever our particular views on the methodology employed by climate protestors, and doubtless there will be a variety of differing opinions even within our own parish, we should be grateful that many, particularly young people, are concerned about the future of our planet, of God’s creation. And it should encourage us to think carefully about how we, as individuals and as a parish, respond to God’s call to be good stewards. There will be times when the scale of the environmental crisis may make us feel overwhelmed. Perhaps at such times we might reflect on another gem of wisdom from St Francis of Assisi:

‘Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.’

Fr Colin

Alfreda at the Church Shop,

with a new toy that Fr Colin definitely is not going to get back.