Monthly Meditation on Creation for October 24,2020
Reading: Genesis 1:27-31
God created man in his image, in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them saying: "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth."God also said: "See, I give you every seed bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food."And so, it happened. God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed, the sixth day.
Laudato Si #25
Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and eco-systemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. For example, changes in climate to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their home, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which even now is taking place throughout our world. Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters point to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.
Once there was a man who lived in a small cottage on the outskirts of town. He worked faithfully in this garden replanting plants, fertilizing the soil, spreading mulch around his plants to preserve water, collecting the fruits of his garden and gathering the seeds of the plants to be used the next year. One day a man passing by stopped at his fence to admire the garden. He said to the man: "What a beautiful garden God has given to you."The man thought for a moment and replied: "You should have seen it when God was taking care of it alone!"
In these readings two words stand out for me: Dominion and Degradation.
Dominion in the case of Genesis, is not domination, but is tied to the first lines of the reading: We were created in God's image. As God's image bearers in creation, we were intended to act as God's representatives. We were designed, to show the world what God is like. So, when God gave us dominion of the earth, the expectation was to do so in a way that reflected His character. Its pretty obvious that we have not lived up to that expectation.
In Laudato Si, Pope Francis points out that much of the migration we see is due to environmental degradation. The poor can no longer make a living farming on soil that has lost its nutrients, or raising animals with not enough food or water to give them. Sadly, if we allow the environment to degrade, we degrade along with it. As chief Seattle said: "We are not the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. What we do to the web, we do to ourselves."
We ignore the results of our actions at our own peril.
Restore to us your vision for the world. Grant us the courage to take the actions necessary to preserve the gift you have given us.
Action: Over what things do you have dominion? Can you make a change over one of those things that will improve your care of our earth?