Last week the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee published its report on ‘The UK’s footprint on global biodiversity’ which highlighted the growing number of animal and plant species that are threatened with extinction. The UK’s consumption patterns, the report concluded, remain unsustainable and overseas development assistance that seeks to integrate poverty and environmental objectives remains rare. 

Someone who understood all about the integration of poverty and the environment  
 was Saint Francis of Assisi, who was remembered by the church this week. The spirituality that Francis embodied; one which integrated justice, peace and ecology, was unique in European Christianity at the time. Today Francis is inspiring a renewed focus on the relationship between humanity, its Creator and His creation, not least by the current Pope, who took his name.

Renouncing the riches and prestigious clothes of his merchant father, Francis of Assisi embraced a life of material poverty, working for food or begging for alms. He didn’t leave an environmental footprint of his own because he was always walking in the footprints of Christ.

Find out more about his radical spirituality in this week’s Start:Stop reflection. Listen or download the audio reflection at the link above, or read the transcript by clicking here. 

Image – The San Damiano Cross, which inspired St Francis of Assisi