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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Franciscan formation

One soil type that is particularly prone to slides is called the Franciscan formation. It has many fractures and weak spots that can give way when saturated. The hills behind Cayucos and much of the Santa Lucia Range into Big Sur consist of Franciscan formations, Rosenberg said.

This soil definition refers to the city of San Francisco rather than to the religious order. But I can't help but think how appropriate this can be in regards to certain Franciscans who seem to be oversaturated with certain types of eco-spiritualit that tend to divinize creation and minimize the transcendence of God. For example, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have established a center called Prariewoods with the following goals:

to be open to the divine presence within all members of the earth community; to integrate the principles of the universe (interiority, diversity, and communion); to reverence all of creation as sacred and revelatory of the divine; to embody a lifestyle that cares for earth and celebrates the human; to extend hospitality to all; and to impact ecological consciousness.

What is interesting is not so much what it says - the importance of concern for creation, which is good but what it does not say which is that there is any focus on the transcendent, on the One who is not created and not part of the universe. While one can indeed discover God in creation, one must never think that God is creation. A Christian cannot live with his head always in the clouds but nor can he live as a naval gazer. This is why the scriptures so clearly teach us that we are in the world but not of the world and why Francis himself said "My God and my all!"


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