NEWS 2020

Announcing a New Series! By Brian Grogan SJ

Fresh Images of God in Laudato Si

The Living Planet Report for 2020 has just been published. It’s scholarly and comprehensive, with some 20 pages of footnotes and references! But we can sum it up as an SOS from nature: there is vast evidence that nature is unravelling: everywhere our poor planet is flashing red warning signs of systems failure. We must immediately stop the degradation of our natural environment and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. If we do not act now, the world as we know it will fall into a terrible and irreversible decline.

This Report shows science at its best: many of the contributors have given the best years of their lives to gathering evidence for their conclusions. Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si , would endorse its findings but would add a new dimension by contextualising it within a faith context. While the encyclical deals with the global issue of future life on our planet, deepest down it urges us to reshape our relationship with God and thus to move to ‘eco-conversion’.

The roots of our ecological crisis are deeply spiritual: they are based in the fact that the plans of God as Author of our world are being ignored in favour of commercial interests and the myth of unlimited progress. Thus a basic disorder has emerged between nature and ourselves, and everything has gone terribly wrong. But it is not too late for humankind to experience a change of heart, and to learn how to collaborate with God in the protection of our precious planet. God will help us here, because God is far more concerned about Planet Earth than most of us are.

In this series we will use brief quotations to highlight Laudato Si’s rich images of God’s view of the world. These are transforming images which can help us to see our world in a fresh way and from the divine perspective. You can explore them on your own or even better in a group. They offer material for prayer, self-examination, repentance and amendment. When the terms ‘nature’ and ‘creation’ come up, remember to include yourself! We easily forget that we are only ‘blow-ins’—a late-arrived species on Planet Earth whose actions unfortunately are devastating the other species who have been around for many millions of years.

The numbers refer to the paragraphs in Laudato Si, so you can explore the text more fully on your own.

Fresh Images of God in Laudato Si

5. God is a God of Relationships  

The divine Persons relate perfectly, and the world, created according to the divine model, is a web of relationships 240. God has united Godself definitively to our earth 245, and we are not disconnected from the rest of creation, but joined in a splendid universal communion 220. Each of us is a ‘thou’ to others and to God 119, and we are meant to live with and beside God 72. We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world 229. Intergenerational solidarity is not an option but a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us 159.

Reflect on what this suggests to you about your relationship to God, others and nature.

4. God is Revealed in all Creation

Nature is a continuing revelation of the divine. God has written a book whose letters are the multitude of created things. No creature is excluded from this manifestation of God. There is a divine manifestation in the blaze of the sun and the fall of night 85. To contemplate creation is to hear a message 85. God dwells in creation 236, so encountering God does not mean fleeing from this world or turning our back on nature 235. God comes to us from within, that we might find him in this world of ours 236. The Sacraments are a privileged way in which nature is taken up by God 235.

Reflect on what this suggests to you about your relationship to God, others and nature.

3. The world is God’s Gift to us

The world is God’s loving gift 220.  Life too is the gift of God 213

The Trinity create the world 238-240.  All things are called into being by God – we are all linked as one universal family 89. All is on loan 159; the ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us 83. We are not God 67: other living beings have a value of their own in God’s eyes, and each reflects in its own way a ray of infinite wisdom and goodness 69.  The intrinsic dignity of things is compromised when human beings fail to find their true place in the world 115

Reflect on what this suggests to you about your relationship to God, others and nature.

2. God Invites us into Divine Friendship  

How wonderful is the certainty that no human life is adrift in hopeless chaos. We were conceived in the heart of God: each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. Each person is not just something, but someone 65.We do not only exist by God’s mighty power; we also live with and beside God 72. We have a history of friendship with God 84. God is intimately present to each of us 80.

Reflect on what this suggests to you about your relationship to God, others and nature.

1. God is Infinitely Loving to All

The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, God’s boundless affection for us 84. God is goodness without measure: every creature is the object of divine tenderness. Even the fleeting life of the least of beings is the object of divine love, and in its few seconds of existence God enfolds it with affection 77. Nature is filled with words of love 225, and everything is, as it were, a caress of love 84. In the heart of this world, the Lord of life who loves us so much is always present 245.

Reflect on what this suggests to you about your relationship to God, others and nature.

Be back to read our next insight to Fresh Images of God in Laudato Si

Celebrating Holy Wells Day

Brian Grogan SJ May 2020

National Holy Wells Day

While Holy Wells can be visited at any time of the year, you are particularly invited to visit your local Holy Well on Ireland’s National Holy Wells Day–the middle Sunday in June. [This year there may be crowd restrictions at the Wells due to the coronavirus]. Holy Wells have long been convenient gathering places, enabling community bonding to occur. People will come and go, and your visit will enable you to go back to your roots and think gratefully of the many who have used this well before you and whose lives are woven into its history. 

Click here to read more (PDF)

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NEWS 2019

Reading John’s Gospel with an eye on Ecology


A worldwide project is underway to provide commentaries on the Bible from an ecological viewpoint. Irish author Margaret Daly-Denton has already done such a commentary on St John’s Gospel, Supposing Him to be the Gardener. The phrase is taken from John chapter 20: Mary is searching outside the tomb for the body of Jesus, spots a figure in the distance, and supposes him to be the gardener. He turns out to be Jesus already risen from the dead. For the author, this gives the insight that Jesus can be seen as the great gardener of our fragile planet, and that he looks to us to collaborate in his saving work.

This series of short snapshots will illustrate how John can be read with an ecological eye. These snapshots will enrich the gospel texts whenever we read them. The evangelist is constantly giving us hints and glimpses into the new world that Jesus unfolds for us. With the help of Margaret Daly-Denton’s superb scholarship we will zoom in on the words and actions in John and find concealed in them unexpected layers of meaning. Think of a Russian doll which you open only to find a smaller doll inside: open that and you find yet another! So let your contemplative imagination roam freely over the world outside your window: you will find God there and be endlessly enriched. You will fall in love more and more with creation and be inspired to protect it, even though this will demand changes in your style of living.

Exercise: Ponder over this reflection: ‘What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with love and gratitude’.  Ask yourself what you are deeply in love with: a project, a place, a friend, a job, your faith, your God…  Will you include Nature in the list of things that you are passionate about?

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Greta Thunberg’s speech to UN Sec Gen. Katovice. Dec 3, 2018

My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old. I am from Sweden.

I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now.

Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn’t matter what we do.

But I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to. But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be.

You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.

You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. 

For 25 years countless of people have stood in front of the United Nations climate conferences, asking our nation’s leaders to stop the emissions. But, clearly, this has not worked since the emissions just continue to rise.

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April issue of Sacred Heart Messenger magazine, published by Messenger Publications.

Care for our Common Home is an important theme in the papacy of Pope Francis. In his encyclical, Laudato Si’ invites us to return to the meaningful custom of giving thanks before and after meals, as it ‘strengthens our feelings of gratitude for the gifts of creation’.

In her article You Are What You Eat Catherine Devitt alerts us to the significant wastage of food that is produced globally, inviting us to consider changing our eating habits, in line with former president Mary Robinson’s suggestion.

Click here to read full article (pdf)