By Sister Sharon Havelak, OSF
Wish I could say I coined the title of this article. But as soon as I saw it as a chapter title in one of Fr. John Dear’s books, it struck a chord with me. The environment‘s been on my mind lately – a lot.
I spent Lent this year meeting weekly with three other Sisters. Challenged by the articles we read in the Lent 4.5 program, we struggled to come to terms with what it means to live simply in today’s world. The magnitude of changes we face made us resolve to keep on challenging ourselves, to make a difference to our Earth, to make a difference for the poor.
Early in April, I heard Fr. John Dear speak on the Beatitudes, explaining how a stance of nonviolence is essential to the survival of our Earth. I’ve reflected with various friends on who we’re called to be, what we’re called to do, how we can journey with others towards healing.
Preparing for an Earth Day Prayer Service, I watched video after video on what plastic is doing to our oceans and the animal life that lives there. The tremendous amount of garbage that is floating – and will continue to float for hundreds of years – was sobering.
And then spring came.
After miserable March weather and an even more miserable April, we are treated to sunshine and warmth and blue skies, green grass, flowers and flowering trees – a dazzling spectacle. It’s been an absolute delight for the senses.
Through it all, I keep remembering a statement made many years ago. At a conference, the speaker, John Schramm, said that every morning he’s unsure of what he’s supposed to do. His morning newspaper reminds him what a terrible world we live in, filled with violence, greed, pollution. But, as he looks out his window, he sees so much beauty around him. Is he supposed to save the world? Or savor the world? How do we live the tension between the two?
As I drink in the beauty around me, I’m reminded of my responsibility. If the gifts of our Earth bring me great healing and confirmation of the incredible love and presence of our God, visible in creation, am I not called to bring healing to our troubled world?