Finding God in caring for our common Home

Mini-experiment
Finding God in caring for our common Home Photo by Léonard Cotte on Unsplash

Description

Scripture: Psalm 8

1 God our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the world! Whoever keeps singing of your majesty higher than the heavens,

2 even through the mouths of children, or of babes in arms, you make a fortress, firm against your foes, to subdue the enemy and the rebel.

3 I look up at your heavens, shaped by your fingers, at the moon and the stars you set firm-

4 what are human beings that you spare a thought for them, or the children of Adam that you care for them?

5 Yet you have made them little less than gods, you have crowned them with glory and beauty,

6 made them lord of the works of your hands, put all things under their feet,

7 sheep and cattle, all of them, and even the wild beasts,

8 birds in the sky, fish in the sea, when they makes their way across the ocean.

9 God our Lord, how majestic your name throughout the world!

Focus: We truly want to consider Creation as our common home. We share with other created beings – animals, plants - , with the poor, people of different cultures. All are blessed by God, all are meant to be fruitful (cf. Genesis 1,22). A home that has been given to us, and we want to thank the Giver by taking care of it.

Prayer for the grace of the day: Dear God, fill me with wonder for your Creation. Let me experience my connectedness to it - my right place in it: as a creature made from the same earth, as your steward.

Exercise:

  • Introduction: Take a deep breath. Notice that the air coming into your lungs is free and plentiful: even if there are many people around you, there’s more than enough for everyone.
  • “I look up at your heavens, shaped by your fingers, at the moon and the stars you set firm- / what are human beings that you spare a thought for them, or the children of Adam that you care for them? Yet you have made them little less than gods, you have crowned them with glory and beauty”: ‘Little less than gods” – this is who I am in the face of God, He gave a place to me on this earth, and indeed to all human beings. Being created is the first sign of God’s love towards me. Can I let this thought enter deeply into my spirit?
  • However, there is also a fragility to all of this. You can read It between the lines: ‘even through the mouths of children, or of babes in arms, you make a fortress, firm against your foes, to subdue the enemy and the rebel’. There are ‘enemies’ and ‘rebels’ who act against human nature and against the whole of Creation as God intended it. I try to imagine who or what they are concretely – pollution, climate change, wars, and people who are responsible for them – diseases. We are ‘like gods’ but we are not God. We ask Him to protect us, to guide us safely on our way.
  • “[You have] made them lord of the works of your hands, put all things under their feet, sheep and cattle, all of them, and even the wild beasts, birds in the sky, fish in the sea”: I feel my connectedness to all creatures, yet also my special position among them as a human being and my responsibility towards them. What does it mean to use created things with proper reverence? I think about saint Ignatius of Loyola’s words:

Take another deep breath. The atoms of air that you breathe in and out are a shared gift: shared both with other humans and with the animals and plants in the immediate area. This air constitutes a radical physical connectedness with all other living beings.

Through this, we also feel a deep connectedness to the One who is the Giver of all, the One who created it: God our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the world! Whoever keeps singing of your majesty higher than the heavens”.

Then you can meditate on the psalm with the help of the following points:

Human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save their soul. The other things on the face of the earth are created for humans to help them in attaining the end for which they are created. (Spiritual Exercises §23)

Readings: Augustin, City of God, 11. 22

Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a

great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you!

Look below you! Note it. Read it. God, whom you want to discover,

never wrote that book with ink. Instead, he set before your eyes the

things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?

Why, heaven and earth shout to you: ‘God made me!’

Francis of Assisi’s ‘Canticle to the Sun’

O Most High, all-powerful, good Lord God,
to you belong praise, glory,
honour and all blessing.


Be praised, my Lord, for all your creation
and especially for our Brother Sun,
who brings us the day and the light;
he is strong and shines magnificently.
O Lord, we think of you when we look at him.

Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Moon,
and for the stars
which you have set shining and lovely
in the heavens.

Be praised, my Lord,
for our Brothers Wind and Air
and every kind of weather
by which you, Lord,
uphold life in all your creatures.

Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Water,
who is very useful to us,
and humble and precious and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom you give us light in the darkness:
he is bright and lively and strong.

Be praised, my Lord,
for Sister Earth, our Mother,
who nourishes us and sustains us,
bringing forth
fruits and vegetables of many kinds
and flowers of many colours.

Be praised, my Lord,
for those who forgive for love of you;
and for those
who bear sickness and weakness
in peace and patience
- you will grant them a crown.

Be praised, my Lord, for our Sister Death,
whom we must all face.
I praise and bless you, Lord,
and I give thanks to you,
and I will serve you in all humility.

Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, §139

When we speak of the “environment”, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it.

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