Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans of Canada - Franciscains du Canada
Ordo Fratrum Minorum
A Testimony by Marc Le Goanvec, Minister Provincial of the Franciscans of Eastern Canada
“Heaven and earth are within us,” Gandhi said. Each person carries within himself or herself the story of the universe: all those particles that form me today have already been part of something else, and will be part of something else again someday. In the universe, chaos and creation are intimately linked.
How did all this begin? We don’t really know. But the biblical tradition tells us that things started with the desire of the Creator: “And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1). Our world is not an accident. I am not simply a product of random evolution: at the beginning of it all, there was a God who loved to create and give life, who found joy in the beauty and diversity of beings. Each of his creatures bore his mark: God rejoiced in them because in each one God saw something or someone unique… “Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.”
But it is painful to be part of this creation. We are divided. We are divided among ourselves as humans, but even greater barriers exist between our humanity and the animals, plants, lakes and oceans, the air we breathe, the ground we occupy … Too often we live against them rather than with them: we “subdue” nature, we “exploit” its resources, rather than using them with respect and recognizing what creation offers us, what “Sister, our mother the Earth, who carries us and nourishes us” gives so generously (Francis of Assisi).
“People find too little pleasure in the natural, calm and simple things of life,” says musician Pablo Casals. Contemplating in silence the way the light dances on the surface of a river, smelling the warm scent of earth under a summer rain, touching the rock on a mountain, watching the movement of the trees when the wind blows, listening to the song of a bird, all this can be the birth of a deeper life, the beginning of a new relationship with the world… Each animal, each plant, each creature proclaims God and the universe in its own way; they speak a language we don’t understand. Listen! They will show us the secret of the universe.
That kind of paying attention may lead us to a sense of wonder: creation lives around and in us! What beauty, fragility and wisdom in a mere ant! How can I feel superior to what exists outside me? I am at the heart of a creation that freely and generously offers me the sight of its beauty. What joy to discover that I am invited to be part of this mystery, fully and completely!
Maybe the desire to take an active part in this evolving creation, to collaborate in the great mystery of life that has been unfolding for millions of years, to give the best of what I have received will be born in my heart, so that my tiny patch of earth flourishes in a unique way that has never been seen before in the universe. In communion with God and with our brothers and sisters, we really do create a new world together.