I’ve always had a great appreciation for the beauty that is found in nature. My dad would never kill any bugs we found in the house (much to the rest of our dismay), but would instead usher them outside in a cup. He knows the name of every bird, can identify a dog breed from miles away, and he even proposed to my mom at the zoo.
I had many a birthday at the Audubon Society, and our summers at the beach are something we hold most dear.
I’ve realized that one of my stipulations when it comes to putting down roots, is that the water must be a walkable distance away (I realize that isn’t always possible, so I will settle for green space, if need be).
This inclination to appreciate God’s creation comes from something deep inside me, and so too does the inclination to preserve and protect this earth we have been gifted stewardship.
“When it comes to safeguarding creation, there is no time to waste—humanity either must live up to its responsibility or continue on a path of self-destruction,” Pope Francis said, commemorating Earth Day this year with a video message.
“Global disasters, COVID-19 and the climate all show that we do not have time to wait,” that time is ticking and yet, “we have the means to face the challenge,” he said.
“Our concern is to see that the environment is cleaner, purer and preserved, and to take care of nature so that it takes care of us,” he said, wishing the leaders success and thanking them for deciding to move forward together.
As followers of Christ, we must realize that this earth is a gift from God. It is all His creation.
In Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato si’ he writes:
“Jesus took up the biblical faith in God the Creator, emphasizing a fundamental truth: God is Father (cf. Mt 11:25). In talking with his disciples, Jesus would invite them to recognize the paternal relationship God has with all his creatures. With moving tenderness he would remind them that each one of them is important in God’s eyes: ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God’ (Lk 12:6). ‘Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them’ (Mt 6:26).
“The Lord was able to invite others to be attentive to the beauty that there is in the world because he himself was in constant touch with nature, lending it an attention full of fondness and wonder. As he made his way throughout the land, he often stopped to contemplate the beauty sown by his Father, and invited his disciples to perceive a divine message in things.”
He has entrusted this home to us. When we look out upon the vast ocean, witness a glowing sunset, or cuddle up with our family pet, we get to directly experience His love for us. When we even contemplate our own creation, it should leave us with feelings of reverence for the Creator.
At the conclusion of Laudato si’, Pope Francis leaves us with the following prayer:
A prayer for our earth
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your 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.