Over seven weeks, members of the Tobar Mhuire Team reflect
on the principles of the Catholic Social Teaching; Solidarity, Human Rights,
Dignity of Human Life, Call to Family & Community, Dignity &
Rights of Work, Preferential Option for the Poor, and Care for
International Volunteer, Kate Balmforth offers the
following reflection on Care for Creation.
Sorry this post is a few days late, folks-Tobar Mhuire was bustling this week! Passionist Student, Frank Trias will offer a reflection, as regularly scheduled, this Wednesday!
Care for creation is the foundational Social Teaching for Christians. It is the first commandment of God and it is why we were created. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and care for it.” It encompasses all other Christian teachings. Love and obedience to God, Love of neighbor, Love of Enemy and Love of Self, the Right to Life, Right to be Human, Right to Work, Call for Solidarity, Care for the Poor and more, all begin and end with the commandment to care for what is created by God. And yet, it is rarely given more attention than a bulletin board display in the back of a church hall, on the Sunday before or after Earth Day.
I could go into detail on the ways that we daily fail to fully live into this commandment but a quick internet search will identify hundreds of modern prophets who better articulate the changes we need to make. We need to change so we can sustain and we need to change soon. But rather than rehash the reasons I should be recycling more, I want to suggest that caring for creation needs to be integrated into our every action. Caring for creation need to be as natural and enjoyable as breathing fresh air. And we need to realize that what we do and what we fail to do for the environment has consequences for our relationship with God.
How much simpler would our lives be if every day we woke up with
the singular commitment to follow the divine call to care for creation?
How much closer would we be to bringing about the reign of God?
I suspect that we are quick to forget about our fundamental purpose because it is almost too huge to wrap our brains around. We feel the need to compartmentalize creation, to set priorities. At some level that may be a helpful mechanism but we’ve gotten out of balance. We’ve allowed the mechanism to become the rule. The good news is, that with a little practice!, we can rebalance. And this is the best time of year to reflect on our fundamental purpose on earth, to care for creation. The days are getting longer and warmer. Starting tomorrow, I’ll walk more and drive less. I’ll put away the processed colas and drink more water, and I’ll embrace my friends, family and neighbors like the unique creations of God that they are.
And I'll begin each day with this helpful prayer by Jennie Frost Butler.
Infinite Spirit, when I pray each day
for shelter for the homeless,
let me not ignore the pet without a home;
As I ask for protection for those in areas
of turmoil and unrest, let me not forget endangered species of life;
When I pray that the hungry be fed,
let me be mindful
that all God’s creatures have need of sustenance;
As I ask Divine assistance
for those afflicted
by fire, flood, earthquake, storm or drought,
remember that this includes every living thing;
In seeking miracle cures
for human disease,
may I also speak for the well-being of the planet itself.
Let the words of my mouth,
the meditations of my heart
actions of my life be as one,
that I may live each day in harmony
With Mother Earth. Amen.
 Genesis 2:15
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