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
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)
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?
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.
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.