Each year, between September 1 and October 4, Christians around the world celebrate the Season of Creation. Through prayer, reflection, advocacy and lifestyle changes, we are encouraged to help protect and preserve the unique gifts of our planet. Each Sunday, we are invited to reflect and act on a theme related to the urgent need to attention and protection of God’s creation. This year, we partnered with Sister Irma Odabashian, CSJ who wrote and narrated the reflections for our videos.
“The Greatest Commandment: Love Your Neighbor.”
Who is our neighbor? Our neighbor is all the living organisms who call this universe “home”, and all of God’s exquisite creation, which has been entrusted to our care. At this time in its history, our earth is suffering because we have not been good stewards of this gift. We are at a transitional step, necessitating a universal redemption which is rooted in the wisdom that there must exist a just and sustainable balance between social, economic and ecological realities. When one variable is exploited the whole system suffers. As God’s Earth suffers, God’s children suffer also. All people share a common responsibility to care for each other and for our Earth. We are called to take this responsibility seriously and actively engage in commitments that will bring about healing to one another and to our planet.
The cry of the dear neighbor impels us, as Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, to go deeper, to journey father and to respond boldly and creatively. The world is waiting!
“ Protecting the Commons”
All life on Earth depends on clean air and water, biodiversity, healthy forests, land, oceans, and a stable climate. These global commons are the very foundation of our global economy and modern society. Today, these “planetary boundaries” are facing the tragedy of overexploitation and rapid degradation. To protect our planet, a radical transformation of key economic systems is required, including collective actions and new ways to manage its resources.
In addition to Systemic Change, individual conversion is also necessary. Currently, every individual has an incentive to consume a resource at the expense of every other individual. This results in overconsumption, underinvestment and, ultimately, depletion of resources. Environmental justice requires us to create an “Ethic of Commons” which motivates us to use resources in as many non-competing, non-damaging ways as possible. Prayer, contemplation and introspection can lead us to conversion.
We, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, realize how our actions are complicit to the detriment of the common good and are taking steps to reduce our footprint to help protect the Commons: our oceans, our forests, our animals and the air we breathe.
“ There is Enough for our Need, not our Greed “
There is no doubt that Gandhi’s famous quote is true today as when he said it many years ago: “There is enough for our need, not for our greed”. As humanity matured, we kept inventing new things to have a better life. Our wants were not restricted and our desires had no boundaries. Our greedy must-have, must-buy behavior and our thirst for material gain, continue depleting the planet’s resources.
If greed continues to dominate, it will further deplete the natural resources, push the poor aside, and drive us into social, political and economic crises. This calamity is inevitable unless we change. This change will require a moral shift in our personal and global choices. We need to evaluate our decisions and actions in light of whether or not they contribute to the “welfare of all”. It will also require political and social cooperation both within and among countries. Scientists assure us there will be enough resources and prosperity to go around if we convert our economies to renewable energy sources, sustainable agricultural practices and reasonable taxation of the rich.
This is the path to “shared footprint” which will enable us to care for our Dear Neighbor and for God’s Creation. We, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, remain committed to responding to the crisis of Earth and global warming.
“ The Gift of Water ”
Water is the world’s most basic resource gifted to us by God. It has the power to give life and to take it: 70 -75% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Roughly 70% of an adult’s body is made up of water. Water is essential to life, and all living things need water to survive.
It is easy to think that water will always be plentiful. However, freshwater is incredibly rare. Scientists tell us that only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater and two thirds of that is tucked away in glaciers. As a result approximately 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water. Inadequate sanitation, diseases, population growth, agriculture and climate change, among other factors, have had a major impact on the declining availability of water. Humanity and ecosystems are suffering greatly.
At this time in our history, water stewardship is critical. We need to acknowledge our dependence on natural resources that sustain our lives each day. This will lead to attitudes of gratitude and humility. Our personal and communal commitments to value and conserve the sacred gift of water, will ensure its availability and provide hope and renewed energy for our world.
We, The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet remain committed to responding to the Crisis of Earth and Global Warming.
Creation Spirituality is a theological movement that gained recognition and momentum in the 1980s and 1990s. It involves shifting the emphasis of Christian life, belief and practice from a focus on redemption to a focus on creation. It starts with a belief of original blessing rather than original sin. It emphasizes that our original and true nature and the original and true nature of all things, is “very good”. It is non-competitive and mutually affirming of dualism. It seeks a holistic spirituality that overcomes the dualism between religion and science, between spirituality and social justice, between Christian and non-Christian and between us and them. It is egalitarian and pluralistic, rejoicing in the manyness of beings that interconnect in a rich cosmic community. It allows us to lay aside our defences, our needs to control, dominate and destroy the other and emphasizes mutuality, relationality and interdependence. It is a justice-seeking spirituality that is needed for an ecological, peacemaking and just world community.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet believe that Creation is a sacred trust given to the whole Earth community and in the interdependence of humanity and nature.