As Franciscans, we consistently examine our relational understanding of creation. Looking to theologians like St. Bonaventure who developed a theological and spiritual vision that acknowledged all creation as emanating from the goodness of God, existing as a “footprint” of God, and leading us back to God if we are able to “read” nature properly. In order to assist you in your “reading” of nature, we offer you this guide, 40 Days; 40 Ways: A Guide to a Green Lent, by Dianne Scheper.
The Franciscan emphasis on the goodness of God and creation has many ramifications. Creation is the outpouring of God’s love into the universe. Creation reveals to us God’s love for us and God’s beauty which is why Franciscans call creation the mirror of God and that God has two books of creation—Sacred Scripture and creation.
Francis looked at life through the lens of all creation. He had a relational connection from which blossomed a perspective of deep empathy. He looked for ways to defend the environment according to the needs of each living being. Rather than viewing creation from ‘anthropocentrism,’ which literally means ‘human-centered’, Francis saw creation as ‘biocentrism’ which means ‘life-centered.’
We have read through “40 Days; 40 Ways” and find it inspiring, thought provoking, and very Franciscan. The guide is designed to provide a green environmental context for you to consider this Lent. Despite its title, “40 Days; 40 Ways” is not fashioned as a daily devotional. Dianne describes it as “a range of suggestions for merging your Lenten disciplinary spirit with creation-centered activities.” We hope you will consider challenging yourself with some creative action this Lent.
Please consider the environment before printing the guide. Where possible, print to both sides of the paper.