We Can Do Something
Sr Maureen offers this reflection to mark the World Day of Prayer for Creation on September 1. This day begins the Season of Creation which extends to 4 October, the feast of St Francis of Assisi.
But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream. (Amos 5:24)
This text states a truth that is as appropriate today as it was in ancient times: justice precedes peace. Without justice, there can be no peace. However, the image of the never failing stream does not ring true in our century. Streams and rivers struggle to flow as their course is often blocked by waste from our throwaway society or is completely dried up because of extreme heat, drought and deforestation. Instead of being waters bringing life, their reduced flow leave communities struggling for survival. In his message for this World Day of Prayer, Pope Francis says, Sister Water, in the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, is pillaged and turned into a commodity subject to the laws of the market. (Laudato Si’ 30)
What is my response to such a situation? I can feel powerless, disheartened, disillusioned and paralysed. Or I can choose to do what I can: to live simply, embrace the ethic that enough is enough, commit to our Josephite Laudato Si Action Plan, Explore, Embrace, Embody and its current campaign against plastic pollution. There is a saying that speaks to me: Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing.
I can be hopeful. Millions of people around the globe are drawing our attention to the injustice in our world. They see Pacific Island peoples who have contributed least to our current ecological crisis bearing the most distressing consequences. I can support these people by writing to our government representatives to take action on matters harmful to the environment and peoples’ dignity. I can sign petitions. Pope Francis calls on all people of good will to bring about a transformation of our hearts, our lifestyles and the public policies that govern our societies.
I can go outside into the natural world and drink in its beauty. Today I heard the warbling of magpies. There was a magpie sitting on the fence post, head held high singing its beautiful melody in the crisp morning air. With St Francis I pray Praise be to you my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth who sustains and governs us. When I see a flock of multi-coloured lorikeets descending on the gums, I dwell on these words: Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated. (Laudato Si 12) When I walk in the garden, I recall Julian’s words: Every rock, every leaf, every insect has something beautiful, nay, wonderful to tell.
During this Season of Creation, let us give thanks for the wonders of creation, be more aware of the dangers confronting it, introduce the care for creation into our prayer, do all we can to protect it and be hopeful that justice and peace will roll on again like a never-failing stream.