In my blog on Renewal and Retreat, I described a dugout area, whose surface was lined with stones in the form of a cross at the edge of the cliff on a property at which I was retreating. Its vertical section is about 24 feet and the horizontal portion is about six feet. One can literally walk on a sloping surface into the dugout area with its deepest part about waist height, and accommodating seats. The head of the cross is crowned, in a semi-circular shape, with green seaside shrubs and trees dancing effortlessly in the wind, and green grass carpeting the ground.
As I contemplate this image, what strikes me? A cross amidst God’s creation, the environment?
While pondering on this, I recall the words of Brother Resistance, a Trini Rapso singer who died one week ago.
Mother Earth is crying, she say to stop the polluting . . . oy oy oy
Mother Earth is dying . . .
Whole attitude got to change, and priorities rearrange
We got to become more competent
The way we protect the environment
And fight, fight for all that it’s worth
Fight to save Mother Earth . . . oy oy oy
Mother Earth is crying. . .oy oy oy
In case you don’t know, the planet Earth is dying slow
What a sad way to go.
I asked, “If the cross is a symbol of sacrifice, then what do I personally need to sacrifice to save, renew and protect Mother Earth?” Diminish my attachment to a consumerist philosophy of living, and embrace a philosophy of preservation. Why the need for this paradigm shift? Brother Resistance teams up with Pope Francis in response.
With microphone in hand, Brother Resistance sings:
Wake up, wake people and be part of the struggle!
The planet earth in serious trouble
We got to end this melancholy refrain
We cannot afford to lose Paradise again
That’s why I’m pleading.
Then Pope Francis takes over the microphone and sings:
“…the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters” (Laudato Si, Care of our Common Home).
One thought on “The Cross and the Environment”
Thank you Fr. Don. I read this as part of my morning of prayer and reflection on my birthday (August 9) and am reading it again now. The photograph and reflection is deeply touching and truthful. Our planet is alive and we are indeed killing it while all the time Earth cries, screams and shouts in agony to our deafened ears. It is only when we begin to suffer more agony from what we inflict ourselves is there a possibility of waking up and seriously begin the change. This poem by Elizabeth Browning comes to mind
“Earth is crammed with heaven,
And every bush is aflame with God
But only those who see, take off their shoes
The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.” God bless you! Love the work you are putting out and your articles on listening in the Catholic News. Jacqui-Theresa Leiba