Spiritual Advisor’s Comments
Several years ago Pope Francis declared September 1 – October 4 as the Season of Creation. In the stark reality of climate change, affecting millions of people globally – typically the poorest - he wanted to call attention to the earth’s cry for help. We humans, he said, reiterating what scientists worldwide have said for years, are responsible for most of this devastation: for the catastrophic fires, floods, droughts and famine brought on by our greedy plunder of earth’s resources with little or no thought of preserving our home for future generations. It is a big change for many of us to think of the earth as a living organism that we must respect, as we respect all life forms. Unless we live(d) very close to nature/agriculture, we may have considered earth and its gifts as property to do with as we pleased for our short term benefit.
Pope Francis, in his monumental work, Laudato Si, (“Praise Be to You…”) gives us wonderful background to help us see our world as God must see it: a dwelling place for God as well as for humans and all other creatures. Yes, God delights in creation and God’s Spirit moves in all creation (just as Genesis says). Once we can make that attitudinal adjustment, we will naturally, I believe, walk more gently, gracefully, and gratefully on this earth. We will want to do what we can to preserve its beauty, its diversity, and its abundance. We will take care to “reduce, reuse, refuse and recycle” wherever we can, even if that takes a bit more time and effort on our part. We will advocate for greater accountability in the public and commercial sectors, and yes, we will financially support such efforts with carefully monitored tax money.
Jesus obviously loved this earth, first of all enough to be born and grow up here; secondly he taught many lessons about God using fig trees, pearls, sheep, birds, lilies of the field, wheat, grapes, etc. He loved to pray on the mountains and in the desert; he even chose bread and wine to become his very own body and blood! THAT should tell us something pretty powerful about the high importance Jesus gave to what we have always called “the material world.” MATTER MATTERS! It can’t be rudely disregarded… or we risk walking away from God’s goodness and love.
I believe one of the best ways to grow in wonder, awe and profound appreciation is to take time to be outdoors: a walk down a country road or through a metro park, sitting on a swing the in back yard simply taking in the colors of the sky, the changing color of the leaves, the cool breeze on our skin, the aroma of harvest, the sound of birds singing and praising God. We breathe in peace and harmony as our body aligns with the rhythm of the universe. What a beautiful way to pray!
So even though the “official church” Season of Creation comes to an end in a few days, I do hope you will take a few minutes each day to notice the glory around you and to follow through on your particular way of caring for this earth – God’s beloved home as well as ours.
De Colores! (The colors will be even more astounding in a few weeks! Don’t miss them!)