07 October 2015

TSSF Principles, Day 7

The Second Aim
To spread the spirit of love and harmony.
(7) The Order sets out, in the name of Christ, to break down barriers between people and to seek equality for all. We accept as our second aim the spreading of a spirit of love and harmony among all people. We are pledged to fight against the ignorance, pride, and prejudice that breed injustice or partiality of any kind.
Breaking down barriers, seeking equality, spreading love and harmony: these all arise out of the fundamental Franciscan principle of fraternity. All creatures are inextricably interconnected in a way that is best put in personal terms. And this is most clearly illustrated by Francis himself. During his life he learned to love even the most insignificant creature (he is reputed to have moved worms out of his path so that they wouldn’t be trampled on) and of course he celebrated our personal relationship with the rest of creation in his Canticle of Brother Sun in which sun, moon, and stars and the four elements are presented as our brothers and sisters.

So as Franciscans we seek to break down the barriers created by treating others as objects (I–it relationships) and treating them instead as our brothers and sisters (I–Thou relationships).

One obvious way of breaking down barriers is simply to step across them and join our brothers and sisters beyond the pale, in the ghetto, in the slum, in the detention camp, in the Bantustan, in Gaza. Another way of breaking down barriers (especially the less tangible barriers) is to look for the beauty, the goodness, the truth in the other: 
when I can see this, there can no longer be any barriers between us and we can learn to love one another.

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