by Sister Ann Marie Emon
Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si’ challenges us to take care of Sister Earth – “Our Common Home.” During these past weeks all eyes have been on Hurricane Florence. It certainly challenged us to take care of our people who are in harm’s way and moves us to come together for our common home. Pope Francis says that Sister Earth “cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by irresponsible use of an abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.” Our earth has experienced the devastating hurricane which brings with it relentless rain, storm surges, a saturated ground, damaging winds and high flood waters reaching to door steps of houses and higher. Governor of South Carolina, Roy Cooper, said, “We face walls of water along our rivers, coasts, across our farmlands, in our cities and in our towns.” One thing is for certain; everyone from first responders to helpful neighbors came together to help one another.
Another catastrophe we have experienced this summer is the devastating fires in California. Fire officials were there to bring the fire under control. There were 58,427 acres burning throughout the region. The CNN TV network showed a deer running for its life. All living creatures were at risk. Thousands of people were on a mandatory evacuation. A sobering statistic was that some 5000 acres were scorched because that fire was set by one person.
Throughout the country we have endured scorching heat. Here in the Midwest there were over 30 days with temperatures reaching into the 90’s. How did people without air conditioning tolerate those temperatures? Before you know it, the frigid winter weather will settle in with a vengeance. Once again we have been partly responsible for these extremes on our common home.
Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ offers us “A Prayer for our Earth.” I encourage you to offer this prayer to our Creator daily.
“All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
“O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this Earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the Earth.
“Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light.
“We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace. Amen.”