Sunday, February 3, 2019

Laudato Si Sunday Reflection: Love is patient

Today's reflection is brought to you by
1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13.

O God,
you call us to the excellence
that only love can bring.

No matter how eloquent,
or faithful
we may be,
no matter how generous or self-sacrificing,
without love,
none of it matters.

And our love
must also reach
beyond our own existence
to all that you have made.

You know us completely --
help us to know and love you completely
by loving all that you have made.

Make us patient in allowing nature to take her course.

Make us kind in the way we reach out to those in need.

Remove our envy and boastfulness,
so evident when we try to outdo others by having more than enough.

Take away our irritability and resentment
when our desires conflict with the needs of your creation
and help us to put it first.

Help us to bear all things,
believe all things,
hope all things
and endure all things
as we work to ensure
the common good
of our common home
for future generations.

Come, Holy Spirit
help us to heal our home
and all its creatures.


* * * * * * *

Early in Pope Francis' letter to the world, Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home, he quotes Patriarch Bartholomew of the Eastern Orthodox churches, who uses powerful words to call us to a deeper love of the environment. He challenges us to replace "consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which "entails learning to give and not simply to give up... a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God's world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed, and compulsion." (paragraph 9)

If we approach nature and the environment with love, openness, awe and wonder, if we speak the language of community and beauty in our relationship with the world, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then care will well up spontaneously, and we will never turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled. And that's how the world becomes a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise instead of a problem to be solved.

Of course, simple positive thinking isn't enough to solve all our problems, to make humanity ecology-minded and turn us from our present course of destruction. Positive thinking has to be translated into action. The challenge is to stop acting as masters, consumers and ruthless exploiters of the earth, trying to satisfy our limitless wants through taking everything.

So today... I want to put on my ecological mind. It's time to look around my life a little. Where am I overdoing it with my consumption of the earth's resources? Where am I failing to appreciate creation? Where do I need to care more and exploit less? It could be something as simple as remembering to turn off a light, or compost an apple core. To avoid buying something I don't need. To think less of myself, whose needs are satisfied, and offer my resources to do more for those whose basic needs aren't being met.

Making it a daily habit to be aware of our consumption of resources and to pray for our earth might also help us to restore the balance it has lost on our account. And that would be worth a lot!

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