Let All Creatures

If you’ve taken a look around here on our site, you’ve no doubt noticed that one of the things we’re all about here at The FSF is advocating for animals. All animals. Any animals. 

We are connected to all life on this planet. It’s simply not tenable to imagine that our species is at the top of some imagined hierarchy and all other animals are here for our pleasure, our amusement or–worst of all–so we can eat or otherwise exploit them.

To have St. Francis as an icon, a model and a patron for our Fellowship is a good thing. His love for animals and for all God’s creation is very well known.

But adoring the Creation certainly did not begin with this holy and humble man.

Roughly 2,000 years before Francis came along, the Psalmist painted a vivid and engaging picture of how all manner of creatures “speak” their gratitude heavenward and join a chorus of voices which include people of faith:

Praise the Lord from the Earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps

Fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars

Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!

from Psalm 148

So when we’re feeling a bond with some other-than-human friends who are a part of the created order, it’s nothing new. We are merely engaging in a very human and very constructive behavior–expressing a fervent hope that all of God’s creatures praise him!

And as we do this, may we also root out the pernicious idea that our thoughts, our actions and our voices belong in this chorus but that others’ voices do not.

Brother Ben

At the Bottom of the Ocean! Really?

The deepest point on our planet is appropriately named Challenger Deep. You can find it on the ocean floor in the Mariana Trench, a mere 35,814 ft below the surface.

Intrepid explorer Victor Vescovo reached that point in a submersible last week and the results of that dive were released this last Monday, May 13th.

Although the expedition was a great success in so many ways, one of the things we learned from Mr Vescovo’s ground-breaking mission is that there is–wait for it–there is a plastic bag on the ocean floor, at the absolute deepest point on the planet!

Let that sink in. In Humanity’s mad rush to despoil the Earth, we’ve placed trash on the ocean floor. What an achievement!

If you’d like to read more about Victor’s very deep dive, follow this link.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

Can you eat compassionately?

Yes, you most certainly can! The food choices we make are very important, and in ways you may not have thought about.

The ways we choose to eat have big effects on our economy, the environment, our healthcare system and certainly on animals.

The effects that I’ve focused on the most lately are how my eating choices affect my own health.

I’ve told many friends over the years about how I went vegetarian for three years in the early ’90s. About how the health effects were startling. About how I lost 90 lbs. About how it made me more serene, more at peace.

Well, back in ’95, I went back to eating meat, junk food and lots and lots of pasta. Plenty of sugar, as well.

And, as you might imagine, the results were not good.

So the direct effects to our health and well-being are a big deal. I don’t want to make this post all about me but let me just say that the issue of our food choices is a big deal for me again now because back on Earth Day, I eliminated meat and sugar from my diet.

The results–just as back in 1992–have been startlingly good. For me, the strategy is just to go back to what worked. It worked very well for me a quarter-century ago, and it’s working again.

How our food choices effect all those other things I mentioned earlier in this post are extremely important, of course.

Here is a link to a brief and excellent article that covers ten of the most important reasons why eliminating meat from your diet is a good way to go.

Because acting compassionately is at the very heart of our mission here at the FSF, the ways in which our food choices affect animals is a very big deal. Here’s an article that focuses mostly on that aspect of this issue.

Yes, we most certainly can eat compassionately!

And for many of us, choosing to love and protect animals rather than eating them could be a very good place to start.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

A Step Toward Sustainability

There’s so much to like about springtime. And April just might be my favorite month.

Well, this April is really special, especially for those of us who are environmentally-conscious and are rooting for our planet while she is being brutalized by modern industry and billions of unaware and indifferent humans.

And we here at the FSF have joined our voice with the millions who are calling for getting serious about caring for the Earth, about taking the actions which must be taken if we are to stave off the day of environmental reckoning which is surely coming.

We are in the last few moments of April as I write this, but it was in this month that renewable energy–that is, hydro, biomass, wind, geothermal and especially solar–generated more power than coal.

Stop and think about that for a moment. It is quite a noteworthy event and shows clearly that in spite of all the ways that our planet has been horribly treated–especially in the last two years–we can, and we must, do everything in our power to make progress and to mitigate the damage being done to Mother Earth.

If you’d like to read a good and highly informative article about this salutary event, just follow this link.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

Today is National Arbor Day

More trees, please!

Many folks and environmentally-focused organizations will be out planting trees today. Caring for our environment and the natural world is a huge focus here at the FSF.

It’s a very good thing that there is a day set aside for trees and the planting of trees. The Arbor Day Foundation has planted right around 250 million trees on this day in the last 43 years!

The banner photo is one of three majestic oaks that live right outside the apartment where I was living in 2015 and ’16. The view from my patio was just breathtaking.

If you’d like to know more about National Arbor Day, just follow this link.

Hug a tree today!

Brother Ben

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day, my kids’ school sent home a rock with each student. Their assignment was to paint the rock, and they would all be placed in the school’s Serenity Garden.

My daughter painted her vision of the Earth with the words “Love is the Answer” on it. But, after some contemplation, she decided to paint over “is the Answer” and just leave “Love”.  Why? Because although she believes in her heart that love really is the answer to all the problems of this world, she knows that if we just learn to love the Earth, we will love our way to the answer.

Big hugs.

-Stacey ❤

Happy Earth Day to all!

As many of you probably know, Earth Day falls on April 22nd each year. But it’s being celebrated in many communities today simply because it’s a Saturday and it’s much easier to get folks out on a weekend.

I’m in Central Florida and the Earth Day celebration at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando is quite an event here each year.

I hope there’s a party near you!

Here’s a link to a site all about Earth Day and celebrating it. A web search about Earth Day will also bring up a bah-zillion results, some of which may actually be about events in your area!

I hope today and this weekend go wonderfully well for you, whatever you may be doing.

Brother Ben

It’s time to ban the bags

It’s no secret that the Earth is slowly being buried under mountains of trash.

There are a million angles to this sad story and one of the most important involves the prevalence of single-use, plastic shopping bags.

Well, California was the first of the 50 States to ban single-use plastic shopping bags. That happened back in August of 2014.

New York is about to become the second to do it.

Of course, some members of the public think it’s an awesome thing. Some, predictably, are complaining about it.

Sara Goddard sits on the City Council of Rye, New York and is one of the folks who advocated for this new law in her State.

Now that it’s about to take effect, she has put together a quick feature in a question-and-answer format to help people get up to speed on how this change might work out, how it might affect them.

I have no idea whether anyone who may read today’s feature lives in the Empire State or not, but because similar legislation is under consideration in other states, I’m thinking that running it here could be a good thing.

I would love to see this spread to Florida, my home state. I consider that a long shot at best but public opinion on this issue seems to be changing very quickly.

And that’s a good thing.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

What does the EPA do?

If you’re a part of this movement or if you’ve taken a few minutes to check us out here at FSFtoday.org, you know that environmental issues are right at the heart of our ministry.

If you care about our planet, no doubt you’ve made sure that the way you go about living your life reflects that attitude of caring. Caring about the Earth on which we all depend.

No doubt you also think that public policy should be made and be carried out in ways that favor the Earth. Ways that, if they don’t actually help our planet, would at least not harm it.

Well, if you feel that way, you’d definitely be at odds with the way our policies about the environment are being made and being carried out right now.

If you’d read this far, some thought relating to the EPA most likely has popped into your head.

And yes, how the EPA goes about its business is a very big deal.

If you’re not quite sure what the EPA does or whether its work actually matters, this article from Nat Geo would be a big help.

It’s a fairly quick read. I recommend it highly.

Public policy matters. It matters a lot.

It’s time to step up our game. The welfare of our Planet and the survival of our species depend on us and what we do. Our elected officials are not only not helping, they’re making it harder for concerned citizens and Earth defenders to do anything.

The sad truth is that this will not change unless we force those in power to make the changes.

Brother Ben

The Legacy of St Francis

Yes, it is St Francis of Assisi who was chosen to be front-and-center for this new ministry.

Yes, that St Francis.

There are two great urgencies that are at the heart of what the FSF is about.

The first is to make compassion the foundation for all that we do, for all our interactions with our fellows.

And the second is use to treat the Earth, our common home, with wisdom and that same compassion. And to extend this compassion to all of Earth’s inhabitants, not just to the Human species.

With these two urgent priorities in mind, Saint Francis was a most suitable choice as the icon and a wise, compassionate patron for the Fellowship. He was a much-beloved figure in his time.

Francis’ love for animals and for the Earth were noted by his contemporaries and by the leadership of the Church in the 13th Century and are the reasons that he is considered to be a special patron for animals and for the environment.

So it is very fitting to have this well-loved and venerated figure to lead the way, so to speak, for our fledgling Fellowship.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

The Fellowship of St Francis is a new and completely independent ministry and is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.