I would like to reclaim an ancient, evolving and very Franciscan metaphor to rightly name the nature of the universe, and to direct our future thinking: the image of “the Great Chain of Being.” It was a metaphor not of hierarchy but of connection, thus the word “chain.” The essential and unbreakable links in the great chain include
the Divine Creator,
the angels, saints, and ancestors,
the world of plants, trees, and vegetation,
the waters upon the earth,
the earth itself with its minerals and metals.
Each, in themselves, and in their union together, they proclaim the glory of God (Psalm 104) and the inherent dignity of all things. This image became the basis for calling anything and everything sacred.
(Adapted from Hope Against Darkness p. 135)