In the winter of 2009 I made a retreat in Craig Lodge, a house of prayer in the Highlands of Scotland. As we journeyed up through the highlands we were listening to a CD I had brought for the journey, Harmony by The Priests.
We were listening to the words of the Te Deum and as we turned a corner in the road at a particularly eventful moment of the piece we were greeted with the absolutely awe inspiring sight of Scotland’s highlands in all their majesty. The beautifully lush mountainsides, the vast expanses of loughs and the seemingly endless silver sky were breathtaking. It was one of those blink and you’ll miss it moments in which some invisible force commands your silence and attention: Ecce! Opus Dei!
In that moment we experienced a wonder so profound that we knew that this was a view that no man could have created. He may be able to enhance it or devastate it but he could never create it. In this moment I experienced what it means to feel humble before God.
It’s a humility Pope Francis captures in his encyclical on ecology Laudato Si’. There are two reasons we should be concerned by what the Holy Father has to say about the world.
The first is because the Earth has been entrusted to us by God. If God sees that his creation is good, then we too are to see it as good. We are made in the image and likeness of God so it is not that we are obligated to see the world as good but rather we cannot help but see that it is good!
The second is that if we see ourselves as separate from the Earth and have some sort of foolish view that we can exist and live full healthy lives without the Earth then we risk our very existence. Why does a species become extinct? One theory suggests that the life of a species progresses on the edge of chaos.
We need to control and manage change, we need to adapt to changing requirements and we need to adapt to the environment. If we exert too much control over change then we risk extinction by becoming irrelevant. If we try and adapt too much to changing requirements then we risk extinction via instability and we try to adapt to our environment excessively then we risk extinction through inertia, i.e. apathy.
Essentially we should listen to what Pope Francis and others have to say because it is a matter of life and death.
Rich pickings in statistics
At present statistics tell us that something like the wealthiest 1% of the world have a collective wealth that exceeds the collective assets of the 99% that come after them. Laudato Si’ shows us that our care of the Earth is inextricably linked to our care for each other. Whatever spectrum of life we belong to. And if we truly care for each other, or want to care for each other, or at the absolute least recognise that there is something not quite right about this statistic, then we will have to conclude that something needs to change.
The Earth of which we are stewards is beautiful. There are wonders in our world that we have explored and ones we have not. God has given us this gift freely and we need to care for her.
Facing extinction: A few years ago, economic experts were telling us that if we progressed as we were, then the economy would be ruptured and we would plunge into the depths of a terrible recession. This happened. We ignored the experts because we were fools. We allowed the economy to descend into chaos. Do we really want to do the same with the Earth?
The polar ice caps are already melting, countless villages are already being lost and people are dying. A time could well be coming in which drought, mass extinction of vital lifeforms such as bees, famine and more will become the norm for every one of us. In that time your money will not be able to save you. We will be no more than refugees in a world that we have tried to subjugate.
In that fight there will be no victory for us and humanity will die.
– See more at: http://irishcatholic.ie/article/cherishing-wonders-creation#sthash.tsKbLmwg.dpuf