Spending time with the people of Chile in the wake of the destruction left behind by immense forest fires, I experience God's presence and the internal strength of the Chilean people.
Capital E: Earth
It's not "the earth," it's our home. In Capital E: Earth, GSR delves into climate change, ecology, sustainable living and eco-spirituality.
As I walk the woods and enjoy the autumn beauty of the elm and maple trees, I especially admire the sturdy evergreen cedars, the "pioneer trees" that begin growing first. Here at Cedars of Peace, they simply stand, their green boughs a contrast to the other trees of the forest.
It is doubtful that we feel "made for these times." We may well wish that we had been born at another time, one more settled and secure.
Column - What a change in their surroundings — and their attitudes. Before, some of them thoughtlessly threw refuse about. Now these members of Young Catholic Students of Nigeria are happy to take positive action for their environment.
Contrary to what is stated in Laudato Sí, I don't see a "lack of interest" — in me or in anyone else in seeking solutions to the environmental crisis. What I see and experience is a sense of powerlessness, a feeling of being overwhelmed, a fear of being swallowed alive by forces far beyond what the average person can control.
In early November, Lakota Sioux Therese Martin celebrated her 100th birthday in the crowded parish hall at Fort Yates, North Dakota, Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. To all gathered she said, "To see my people standing up for our rights, makes me so proud. Whenever I read about the water protectors at the camps along the Missouri and Cannonball Rivers, I pray they fight to the bitter end."
In my formation in religious life, we were taught to reach out with kindness to those who opposed us or with whom we disagreed. We were taught to build bridges as Jesus did. In my ministry on behalf of LGBT people and in my church reform work, I have interacted with traditionalists on a number of occasions. Each time I try to talk about what we have in common that unites us. That's how I feel we can begin to build bridges.
Several weeks ago I had one of those bad days. Or, maybe it was an accumulation of a number of bad moments and days accumulated throughout a long, hot summer. Difficult moments that continue to sit in the pit of one's stomach even after prayer or meditation.
Sharing 164 acres of Jubilee Farm with heritage chickens is one of several examples of the philosophy of sustainability that is foundational to this ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois. The farm was purchased in 1999 to "honor the Year of Jubilee and its biblical injunction to let the land lie fallow, to honor Earth and support the delicate bioregion."
The Feast of St. Francis is a good time to remember that the words we choose to describe life on our planet matter.
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