The creator gathered all of creation and said “I want to hide something from all humans until they are ready for it. It is the realisation that they created their own reality”.
The eagle said – give it to me, I will take it to the moon. The creator said – no, one day they shall go there and find it.
The salmon said – I will bring bury it at the bottom of the ocean. The creator said – no they will go there too.
The buffalo said – I will bury it in the plains. The creator said – no they will cut the skin of the earth and find it there.
Grandmother mole who lives in the breast of mother earth and who has no physical eyes, but sees with spiritual eyes said – put it inside them – they will never look there. And the creator said “It is done”!
Perhaps a timely parable for us after the year we have just endured. This time has been that journey inwards for many. With that it has been an eye-opener in terms of our priorities, perspective and understanding of life.
The recent deliberations from the International Panel on Climate Change gave a stark wake up call, that irreversible and catastrophic climate change is happening quicker than ever predicted. In the words of the parable we have created our own reality.
Care, respect and love of the environment has been part and parcel of our native spirituality. Saints Patrtick, Brigid and Colmcille have led the way with profound reverence for the environment and surroundings of our beautiful island. This beauty is a sign and symbol of the many gifts God so generously lavishes upon us. St. Francis of Assisi affirmed this approach in the Canticle of Creationand brought a whole new awareness to the importance of nature as key to unlock the link between the creator, creature and the created world.
In the beautiful county of Clare we can sometimes take for granted the stunning scenery on our doorstep. In a current ‘Out and About’ Youtube series that I have been developing, I have seen time and again that our ancestors in faith had a profound insight into this. So many of the ancient religious and monastic sites around the diocese are in stunning locations from Loop Head to the Slieve Blooms. The Church being the default Fáilte Ireland of the day!
For years we have been aware that we have being damaging the environment with fossil fuels, pollution, dumping, disposal of toxic waste and much more. Clean air and clean water that we take for granted is no longer a given. There has been a stubborn denial in some circles about this reality. However, it is now beyond all reasonable doubt that the reality is indeed true and the time for action is now.
We have seen in recent times the inspiration offered by people like Greta Thunberg and the young people of our own country in responding in kind. Pope Francis, too has been a prophetic figure in this regard with his inspirational and much acclaimed document Laudato Si’ on Care for our Common Home. This seminal work offers the insight that social justice, care for human beings, especially the poor, the environment are inseparable and an integral part of Christian spirituality.
In preparation for the upcoming UN Conferences this Autumn, (COP15 on Biodiversity in October and COP26 on Climate Change in November) Catholics worldwide are invited to sign the “Healthy Planet, Healthy People” petition which can be accessed here: http://healthyplanetandpeople.org/ and to encourage others to do the same. This petition is endorsed by the Church as the key advocacy action for the Season of Creation this year. Pope Francis is scheduled to attend COP26 in Glasgow and present the full list of signatories to the President of the COP.
So what can we do in the mean time? We can encourage our political representatives to further commit to the green agenda to dramatically reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and reach our targets. We can support the move towards electric cars, commitment to carbon tax, incentivising the retro-fitting of homes and institutions. On a personal level it up to each of us to look at attitude and lifestyle, walking, cycling, committing to the basics to reduce, reuse, recycle and much more.
The Season of Creation is a Church initiative that runs from 1st September to 4th October, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The resources contain much helpful material. See https://www.catholicbishops.ie for further details.
We have created our own reality, which unfortunately has become a cause for concern. However, the good news is that it is not too late to turn the tide by committing to the green agenda for the good of human kind and the world around us.
Clare Champion Article 3rd of September 2021