Passion for Justice & Peace
‘May the Lord give you peace’
‘The Lord revealed a greeting to me’, wrote Francis in his Testament, ‘that we should say: “May the Lord give you peace.”’ This revelation shaped Francis’ whole life and work. He was known as someone who both helped others to make peace and who also lived peaceably himself: with his neighbours, with animals and with every part of God’s creation. Franciscans today are committed to working for peace in a troubled and divided world, particularly in situations of conflict and stress within the Church and within the wider society.
In the Anglican Church, divided over issues of women’s ministry, human sexuality, the authority of scripture and the integrity of the Christian tradition, the brothers and sisters – who among themselves may hold differing views on all these issues – are committed to living together in respect for each other and seeking unity in Christ.
|Among the churches the brothers and sisters are keen to work and share with people from different denominations; indeed, several of them have formerly been members of churches outside the Anglican Communion and continue to value their respective traditions.With people of different faiths, the brothers and sisters, while remaining true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, seek to live respectfully and humbly in the tradition of St Francis, not trying to exercise power or coercion, but finding in them the common humanity which has been shared by the Son of God.This living humbly and simply among people in the way of St Francis involves the brothers and sisters engaging with those on the margins of society, the homeless, the stranger, the refugee, and leads them to work for change, politically and socially. Franciscan community houses are places where people come to find asylum and a welcome in an often unfriendly, if not hostile world.|
The Franciscan tradition speaks to what is probably the most pressing concern of the age, that of the effect of human life and behaviour on the natural environment. Francis’ and Clare’s deep sense of the generosity of God in all things and their awareness that everything in creation points to God’s loving presence is a powerful antidote to a society driven by possession and consumption.
Their awareness that every creature, animate and inanimate, is a brother or sister within God’s family reminds a very fragmented world of the essential interconnectedness of all things and that everything, even the most humble, has a place in the universe. Their desire to join in the song of all creation in praise of God, the creator, redeemer and sustainer, gives the world a true goal and purpose which it seems to have lost.
|The brothers and sisters seek to live this spirituality of peace and justice within the world in their day-to-day lives, to practice peace and justice wherever they are.|
The Hilfield Community at Hilfield Friary in Dorset, particularly, is a place where people can come to work at conserving the natural environment and, with others, discuss and reflect on how such peaceful living can be carried on in their own situations. Br Samuel SSF (currently the Guardian at Hilfield) delivered a lecture on a Franciscan Theology of Creation. The text of the lecture may be found here.