September 24-25, 2016

Friends, 

I always say that for me today God is love and God is life itself. So whenever I experience life I experience God. Because each of us is created in God’s image and are a member of the body of Christ and because God’s spirit dwells in each of us we reveal God to the world. There are those who will never come to know God if we don’t reveal God’s presence by the way we live. Most believers would agree with what I just wrote. But let’s expand that understanding of God as life itself. I mean all life. God is as present in creation, the planet, the environment and all creatures, as God is in me. My attitude toward the ecology can be indicative of my attitude toward God. 

Sometimes it appears that the environment and our responsibility for the planet has taken a backseat to other issues. When we read about global warming and its effects on the poorer countries in the world, it can be very frightening. Unfortunately, if we don’t read we can be oblivious to what goes on in other parts of the world and in other cultures. I want future generations to be aware of our efforts and determination to hand over a planet that is healthier than we found it. Humanity is created to be stewards of the earth and to cultivate the earth - not to subdue and dominate it. 

Our rhetoric is so indicative today of our respect or lack of respect for humanity and for all creation. 

We seem to be pulled in two directions; we are so much more aware of our responsibilities toward others, especially those with the least opportunities, and at the same time we can speak about “them” as if they are not human. Every person has a face, a name, and a story. How easy it is to judge or condemn that person if we have never had the privilege of meeting him or her. That attitude can carry over to our responsibility for recognizing the privilege each of us has for treating the environment with the utmost respect. St Francis of Assisi, the ultimate steward of the planet, spoke about “Brother Sun and Sister Moon.” Pope Francis, his student, wrote an encyclical, “Laudato Si,” or “Praise Be to You” on the environment which calls for the best in each of us. Yet so many people, including Catholics, condemned him for speaking about issues that have “nothing to do with religion.” 

Since my concept of God determines everything for me, I guess if someone sees God as aloof from and apart from this world, then it is easy to see religion and the environment as having no relation at all, I don’t get it! 

Enjoy Life! 
Fr Coyne

 

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