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Theme:
Franciscan Ecological Wisdom

Franciscan Ecological Wisdom

Saturday, May 23, 2020
Summary: Sunday, May 17 — Friday, May 22, 2020

Our common home is also God’s own house, permeated by the Spirit of God from the dawn of creation, where the Son of God pitched his tent in the supreme event of the incarnation. —Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam (Sunday)

Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. —Pope Francis (Monday)

We cannot jump over this world, or its woundedness, and still try to love God. We must love God through, in, with, and even because of this world. (Tuesday)

Without a sense of the inherent sacredness of the world—in every tiny bit of life and death—we struggle to see God in our own reality, let alone to respect reality, protect it, or love it. (Wednesday)

For all its presumed innocence, this way of life lived by well-off North Americans is both unjust to those who cannot attain this lifestyle and destructive of the very planet that supports us all. —Sallie McFague (Thursday)

We’re the only creature who can decide not to do something we’re capable of doing. That’s our superpower, even if we exercise it too rarely. —Bill McKibben (Friday)

 

Practice: What Happens When You Plant a Tree?

While we may continue to practice physical distancing from other humans, most of us can still safely spend time in nature. The Journal of Health Psychology confirms what Franciscans and mystics have long known: interacting with nature is a great stress reliever. Just thirty minutes of gardening lowers the cortisol released during stress-induced fight-or-flight responses. Today’s practice, written by poet, writer, and educator Trevien Stanger for the book Order of the Sacred Earth, invites us to make a very specific contemplative contribution by planting trees.

Ethnobotanist, author, and Potawatami elder Robin Kimmerer asserts, “We need acts of restoration, not only for polluted waters and degraded lands, but also for our relationship to the world. We need to restore honor to the way we live, so that when we walk through the world we don’t have to avert our eyes with shame, so that we can hold our heads high and receive the respectful acknowledgment of the rest of [the] earth’s beings.” [1] . . .

I contend that every individual can participate in [the] Great Turning, and that one of the great challenges of our time is for each of us to figure out how and where we plug into this psycho-spiritual current. . . . I, for one, plant trees. . . . In my more recent work as an environmental studies professor at a community college in Vermont, I’ve had a hand in planting just shy of 100,000 trees over the past 12 years. . . .

What happens when you plant a tree? What happens when you wield a shovel in one hand (a human artifact) and a tree (a provisional mystery) in the other? What happens when you dig a hole (a Kali-like destruction) and plant a tree within it (an act of creativity)? What happens when you learn about your local ecology not just as an observer, but also as a participant? What happens when you embrace the wildness of a tree-being and integrate it into the semi-wild streets and streams of your local community? What happens when you crack open your isolated sense of self and plant within your heart this symbol of our ever-branching inter-being? What happens when you consider your actions in terms of your ecological and cultural legacy? What happens when you move beyond your concerns of today and inquire as to what type of ancestor you will be? Nelson Henderson posits that “. . . one true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” [2] Under whose shade do you sit beneath today? Whose shade shall you help gift for tomorrow?

References:
[1] Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (Milkweed Editions: 2013), 195.

[2] Wes Henderson shared his father’s advice in Under Whose Shade: A Story of a Pioneer in the Swan River Valley of Manitoba (W. Henderson & Associates: 1986, ©1982).

Trevien Stanger, “Tree Planter,” Order of the Sacred Earth: An Intergenerational Vision of Love and Action, Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jennifer Listug (Monkfish Book Publishing Company: 2018), 184-186.

For Further Study:
Bonaventure, The Major Legend of Saint Francis, 8.6. See Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2 (New City Press: 2000)

Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer (Franciscan Media: 2004)

Pope Francis, Laudato Si′: On Care For Our Common Home (Our Sunday Visitor: 2015)

Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, The Ten Green Commandments of Laudato Si′ (Liturgical Press: 2019)

Sallie McFague,The Universal Christ and Climate Change, “The Universal Christ,” Oneing, vol. 7, no. 1 (Spring 2019)

Bill McKibben, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? (Wildfire: 2019)

Richard Rohr, with Brie Stoner and Paul Swanson, “Environmental Awareness Rooted in Franciscan Spirituality,” Another Name for Every Thing, season 3, episode #7 (April 4, 2020), audio podcast.

Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of St. Francis of Assisi, (Franciscan Media: 2014)

Richard Rohr, “Franciscan Mysticism: A Cosmic Vision,” the Mendicant, vol. 5, no. 4 (October 2015)

Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019)

Image credit: Legend of St. Francis: 15. Sermon to the Birds (fresco detail), artist unknown, formerly attributed to Giotto di Bondone, c. 1297–1299, Upper Basilica of San Francesco d′Assisi, Assisi, Italy.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Saint Francis was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature, and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace. —Pope Francis
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Franciscan Ecological Wisdom

The Possibility of Restraint
Friday, May 22, 2020

Francis rejoices in all the works of the Lord’s hands, and through their delightful display he gazes on their life-giving reason and cause. In beautiful things he discerns Beauty itself; all good things cry out to him: “The One who made us is the Best.” —Thomas of Celano

Goodness is a first principle of the universe. God declares it on the first page of the story of creation. —Barbara Holmes

Creation is the first Bible, as I (and others) like to say [1], and it existed for 13.7 billion years before the second Bible was written. Natural things like animals, plants, rocks, and clouds give glory to God just by being themselves, just what God created them to be. It is only we humans who have been given the free will to choose not to be what God created us to be. Surprisingly, the environmentalist and author Bill McKibben finds hope in this unique freedom. He writes:

The most curious of all . . . lives are the human ones, because we can destroy, but also because we can decide not to destroy. The turtle does what she does, and magnificently. She can’t not do it, though, any more than the beaver can decide to take a break from building dams or the bee from making honey. But if the bird’s special gift is flight, ours is the possibility of restraint. We’re the only creature who can decide not to do something we’re capable of doing. That’s our superpower, even if we exercise it too rarely.

So, yes, we can wreck the Earth as we’ve known it, killing vast numbers of ourselves and wiping out entire swaths of other life—in fact . . . we’re doing that right now. But we can also not do that. . . .

We have the tools (nonviolence chief among them) to allow us to stand up to the powerful and the reckless, and we have the fundamental idea of human solidarity that we could take as our guide. . . .

Another name for human solidarity is love, and when I think about our world in its present form, that is what overwhelms me. The human love that works to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, the love that comes together in defense of sea turtles and sea ice and of all else around us that is good. The love that lets each of us see we’re not the most important thing on earth, and makes us okay with that. . . . [2]

Over these past several months I have witnessed many examples of this restraint, which Bill McKibben calls love. While the lives of our elders, our vulnerable, and essential workers are at stake during the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of millions of us across the globe have been restraining ourselves at home, choosing not to do many things for many weeks in order to protect those we love (and those others love as well). Surely the earth is breathing a sigh of relief for our reduction in pollution and fossil fuel use. This “Great Pause,” as some are calling it, gives me hope that we will soon find it within ourselves to protect our shared home, not only for our own sake, but for our neighbors across the globe, and future generations.

References:
[1] Some brief examples describing the book of creation:

Anthony of Egypt: “My book is the nature of created things; any time I want to read the words of God, the book is before me.” Thomas Merton, The Wisdom of the Desert, 62.

Augustine: “It is the divine page that you must listen to; it is the book of the universe that you must observe.” Expositions on the Psalms, 45.7

Ilia Delio: “Because the world expresses the Word . . . every creature is itself a “little word.” The universe, therefore, appears as a book representing and describing its Maker.” A Franciscan View of Creation (2003)

[2] Bill McKibben, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? (Wildfire: 2019), 255, 256.

Epigraphs: The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul, ch. 124. See Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2 (New City Press: 2000), 353; and

Holmes, Race and the Cosmos: An Invitation to View the World Differently, 2nd ed. (CAC Publishing: 2020), 216.

Image credit: Legend of St. Francis: 15. Sermon to the Birds (fresco detail), artist unknown, formerly attributed to Giotto di Bondone, c. 1297–1299, Upper Basilica of San Francesco d′Assisi, Assisi, Italy.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Saint Francis was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature, and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace. —Pope Francis
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Franciscan Ecological Wisdom

Loving God by Loving the World
Thursday May 21, 2020

I have often wondered what might compel more Christians to take personal responsibility to mitigate climate change. With all the scientific evidence we’ve been given, it doesn’t seem to be a head issue but a heart one. Scholar Sallie McFague (1933–2019) offers both theological and ethical reasons for us to make some much needed changes at an individual level. She writes:

As St. Augustine [354–430] puts it, sin is “being curved in upon oneself” [1] rather than being open to God. In our ecological age, we now see that being open to God means being open to the other creatures upon whom we depend and who depend upon us. We do not meet God only in Jesus of Nazareth, because God is also incarnate in our world as the universal Christ. . . .

To love God by loving God’s world has meant different things to different people in different times. For us . . . it is epitomized by climate change . . . the central crisis of the twenty-first century. Put simply, climate change is the result of too many human beings using too much energy and taking up too much space on the planet. Through excessive energy use and its accompanying greenhouse-gas emissions, we are changing the planet’s climate in ways that will make it uninhabitable for ourselves and many other species. . . .

This is a strange “crisis” to face: It does not have the immediacy of a war or plague or tsunami. Rather, it has to do with how we live on a daily basis—the food we eat, the transportation we use . . . the luxuries . . . [and] long-distance air travel we permit ourselves. We are not being called to . . . fight an enemy; rather, the enemy is the very ordinary life we ourselves are leading. . . . Yet, for all its presumed innocence, this way of life lived by well-off North Americans [and prosperous people in other countries RR] is both unjust to those who cannot attain this lifestyle and destructive of the very planet that supports us all.

What, then, would be [an appropriate] ethic for twenty-first-century people and especially for well-off, religious people? One of the distinguishing characteristics of many . . . religions is some form of self-emptying. Often it takes the form of ego-lessness, the attempt to open the self so that God can enter. . . . In the Christian tradition, kenosis or self-emptying is seen as constitutive of God’s being in creation, the incarnation, and the cross. In creation, God limits the divine self, pulling in, so to speak, to allow space for others to exist. . . . In the incarnation, as Paul writes in Philippians 2:7, God “emptied the divine self, taking the form of a slave,” and in the cross God gives of the divine self without limit. Likewise, one understanding of Christian discipleship is [as] a “cruciform” life, imitating the self-giving of Christ for others. . . .

Could we live and move and have our being in the universal Christ, participating in the insight and power of God incarnate in the world as we deal with . . .  the basics of existence—space and energy—so we can live in radical interdependence with all other creatures? We are not alone as we face this challenge—the universal Christ is in, with, and for the world as we struggle to deal with climate change.

References:
[1] Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book 7, ch. 16. The original text is “detortae in infima voluntatis.”

Excerpted from Sallie McFague,The Universal Christ and Climate Change, “The Universal Christ,” Oneing, vol. 7, no. 1 (Spring 2019), 57–58, 59, 60, 61.

Image credit: Legend of St. Francis: 15. Sermon to the Birds (fresco detail), artist unknown, formerly attributed to Giotto di Bondone, c. 1297–1299, Upper Basilica of San Francesco d′Assisi, Assisi, Italy.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Saint Francis was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature, and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace. —Pope Francis
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Franciscan Ecological Wisdom

God is Being Itself
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Franciscan philosopher and theologian John Duns Scotus (1266–1308), whom I studied for four years in seminary, wrote that “God first wills Christ as his supreme work.” [1] In other words, God’s “first idea” and priority was to make the Godself both visible and shareable. The word used in the Bible for this idea was Logos, which was taken from Greek philosophy, and which I would translate as the “Blueprint” for reality. The whole of creation—not just Jesus—is the partner in the divine dance. Everything is the “child of God”—no exceptions. When you think of it, what else could anything be? All created beings must, in some way, carry the divine DNA of their Creator.

Without a sense of the inherent sacredness of the world—in every tiny bit of life and death—we struggle to see God in our own reality, let alone to respect reality, protect it, or love it. The consequences of this ignorance are all around us, seen in the way we have exploited and damaged our fellow human beings, the dear animals, the web of growing things, the land, the waters, and the very air. It took until the twenty-first century for a pope to clearly say this, in Pope Francis’ prophetic document Laudato Si′. May it not be too late and may the unnecessary gap between practical seeing (science) and holistic seeing (religion) be fully overcome. They still need each other.

Franciscan mysticism has an incarnational worldview, which is the profound recognition of the presence of the divine in literally “every thing” and “every one.” It is the key to mental and spiritual health, as well as to a kind of basic contentment and happiness. An incarnational worldview is the only way we can reconcile our inner worlds with the outer one, unity with diversity, physical with spiritual, individual with corporate, and divine with human.

What we see in Franciscan mystics, again and again, is a joyful and unitive consciousness that intuits and experiences what Duns Scotus called “the univocity of being.” By this, Duns Scotus meant that we can speak with one consistent and true voice about a rock, a tree, an animal, a human, an angel, and God! They all participate in the one same state of Being to varying degrees, and Deus est Ens, he often wrote: “God is Being itself.” This eliminates any clear distinction between the sacred and the profane, because Christ existed in matter from all eternity (Colossians 1:15–20; Ephesians 1:3–11), ever since God decided to materialize and reveal who God is through creation. It is summarized on our Franciscan coat of arms by the Latin phrase Deus Meus et Omnia: “My God and All Things!”

References:
[1] Scotism entry, Encyclopedia of Theology, ed. Karl Rahner (Burns and Oates: 1975), 1548. Duns Scotus identified Christ as “summum opus Dei.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 18, 21–22; and

Richard Rohr, “Franciscan Mysticism: A Cosmic Vision,” the Mendicant, vol. 5, no. 4 (October 2015), 1, 6.

Image credit: Legend of St. Francis: 15. Sermon to the Birds (fresco detail), artist unknown, formerly attributed to Giotto di Bondone, c. 1297–1299, Upper Basilica of San Francesco d′Assisi, Assisi, Italy.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Saint Francis was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature, and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace. —Pope Francis
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Franciscan Ecological Wisdom

Cultivation Not Domination
Tuesday, May 19, 2020

St. Bonaventure (1221–1274) taught that “Christ, as a human being, shares with all creatures; indeed he possesses being with rocks, lives among the plants, senses with animals, and understands with angels.” [1] In saying this, Bonaventure wanted to give theological weight to the deep experience of St. Francis of Assisi (1181–1226), who as far as we know, was the first recorded Christian to call animals and elements and even the forces of nature by familial names: “Sister Mother Earth,” “Brother Wind,” “Sister Water,” and “Brother Fire.”

We cannot jump over this world, or its woundedness, and still try to love God. We must love God through, in, with, and even because of this world. This is the message Christianity was supposed to initiate, proclaim, and encourage, and what Jesus modeled. We were made to love and trust this world, “to cultivate it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15), but for some sad reason we preferred to emphasize the statement earlier in Genesis, which seems to say that we should “dominate” the earth (1:28).

Although God “empties himself” into creation (Philippians 2:7), we humans have spent most of history creating systems to control and subdue that creation for our own purposes and profit, reversing the divine pattern.  As Paul Swanson, co-host of my podcast Another Name for Every Thing, puts it, “The [Franciscan mystics] are known for their celebrated connection to being a part of nature and this world as a mirror to which we pass over to God. There’s such a naturalness to this perspective, yet the bulk of Christianity has seemed to pay no mind to this at all with the theology of domination over the planet.” [2]

Franciscan sister and scientist Ilia Delio writes that Francis modeled a way of relating to creation with inherent dignity and equality rather than domination:

[Francis] did not consider himself at the top of a hierarchy of being nor did he declare himself superior to the non-human creation. Rather, Francis saw himself as part of creation. His spirituality overturned the spirituality of hierarchical ascent and replaced it with a spirituality of descending solidarity between humanity and all of creation. [3] . . . He found God in all creatures and identified with them as brother and sister . . . “because he knew they shared with him the same beginning.” [4] By surrendering himself and daring everything for love’s sake, the earth became his home and all creatures his brothers and sisters. That led him to love and respect the world around him and made him truly a man of peace.

Only prayer, the Spirit of God breathing in us, dwelling in our hearts and joining us to Christ, can lead us, like Francis, to the contemplative vision of God’s goodness in every creature and in every living thing. . . . The God within us is the God who permeates every aspect of our world—the One who is the source and goal of creation. [5]

References:
[1] Bonaventure, Sermon for the Second Sunday in Lent, part 12. See Works of St. Bonaventure: The Sunday Sermons of St Bonaventure, ed. Timothy J. Johnson (Franciscan Institute Publications: 2008), 217.

[2] From Richard Rohr, with Brie Stoner and Paul Swanson, “Environmental Awareness Rooted in Franciscan Spirituality,” Another Name for Every Thing, season 3, episode 7 (April 4, 2020), audio podcast.

[3] See Timothy Vining, “A Theology of Creation Based on the Life of Francis of Assisi,” The Cord, vol. 40, no. 4 (April 1990), 105.

[4] Bonaventure, The Major Legend of Saint Francis, 8.6. See Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2 (New City Press: 2000), 590.

[5] Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer (Franciscan Media: 2004), 170–171, 182.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 112–113.

Image credit: Legend of St. Francis: 15. Sermon to the Birds (fresco detail), artist unknown, formerly attributed to Giotto di Bondone, c. 1297–1299, Upper Basilica of San Francesco d′Assisi, Assisi, Italy.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Saint Francis was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature, and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace. —Pope Francis
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Franciscan Ecological Wisdom

Pope Francis and St. Francis of Assisi
Monday, May 18, 2020

I deeply appreciate the many ways Pope Francis has continued the work of Vatican II by letting in the “fresh air” of modern science and other disciplines. While new information is one of the primary ways we come to understand Reality and God more fully, that doesn’t mean we can reject the past. Alongside the excellent scientific evidence offered by Laudato Si′, Pope Francis also honors my own spiritual father, St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology.

  1. I do not want to write this encyclical without turning to that attractive and compelling figure, whose name I took as my guide and inspiration when I was elected Bishop of Rome. I believe that Saint Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically. [My emphasis here and below. RR] He is the patron saint of all who study and work in the area of ecology, and he is also much loved by non-Christians. He was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and outcast. He loved, and was deeply loved for his joy, his generous self-giving, his openheartedness. He was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature, and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.
  2. . . . [Francis’] response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister [or brother] united to him by bonds of affection. This is why he felt called to care for all that exists. His disciple Saint Bonaventure tells us that, “from a reflection on the primary source of all things, filled with even more abundant piety, he would call creatures, no matter how small, by the name of ‘brother’ or ‘sister.’” [1] Such a conviction cannot be written off as naïve romanticism, for it affects the choices which determine our behavior. If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled. 
  3. What is more, Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. “Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker” (Wisdom 13:5); indeed, “his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world” (Romans 1:20).

References:
[1] Bonaventure, The Major Legend of Saint Francis, 8.6. See Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2 (New City Press: 2000), 590.

Excerpted from Pope Francis, Laudato Si′: On Care For Our Common Home (Our Sunday Visitor: 2015), paragraphs 11–13. The full text of this encyclical is available at http://www.vatican.va

Image credit: Legend of St. Francis: 15. Sermon to the Birds (fresco detail), artist unknown, formerly attributed to Giotto di Bondone, c. 1297–1299, Upper Basilica of San Francesco d′Assisi, Assisi, Italy.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Saint Francis was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature, and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace. —Pope Francis
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Franciscan Ecology Wisdom

Our Common Planetary Home
Sunday, May 17, 2020

To mark the fifth anniversary of his encyclical Laudato Si′: On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis has declared May 16–24 “Laudato Si′ Week.” [1] The Daily Meditations this week will focus on how Franciscan spirituality impels us to act in response to “the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.” I must admit that I am often discouraged by the minimal efforts most Christians are willing to make to care for the earth, even at this critical juncture. The pandemic has shown our willingness to make sacrifices—at least to some degree—to protect our fellow humans, but we have not shown that same willingness to make even small changes to protect or heal the earth. I hope that will change!

Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, a theologian who has studied and written extensively about Laudato Si′, urges us to heed the warnings of both science and our conscience:

Today, our common planetary home is falling into ruin. We are on the brink of an unprecedented global challenge regarding the sustainability of our common home, which places a question mark on the very future of human civilization. . . .

In the second chapter of the Gospel of John, there is a verse that the disciples attribute to Jesus as he drives out money lenders and sellers of sheep and cattle from the temple of Jerusalem: “Zeal for your house will consume me” [John 2:17). Prior to that verse Jesus tells those who are despoiling the holy place: “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” [John 2:16]. . . .

Today, we could, and probably we should, understand this house as our common planetary home. It is this common home which is being despoiled and desecrated today. Significantly, our common home is also God’s own house, permeated by the Spirit of God from the dawn of creation, where the Son of God pitched his tent in the supreme event of the incarnation. It is in this common home that God co-dwells with humanity and of which we have been entrusted with stewardship, as we read in the book of Genesis [2:15]. The contemporary ecological crisis, in fact, lays bare precisely our incapacity to perceive the physical world as impregnated with divine presence. We have swapped the lofty vision of the physical world as God’s own abode, sanctified by the incarnation of the Son of God, with the one-dimensional mechanistic outlook of modernity. Accordingly, the physical world gets reduced to a mere storehouse of resources for human consumption, just real estate for market speculation. . . . Through pollution of the planet’s land, air, and waters, we have degraded our common home that is also God’s own home. We have turned this sacred abode into a marketplace.

In a situation of planetary emergency like the collapse of our planetary abode, we need to be aflame once again with the zeal for our common home.

References:
[1] For more information, visit www.laudatosiweek.org

Adapted from Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, The Ten Green Commandments of Laudato Si′ (Liturgical Press: 2019), 4, 211–212.

Image credit: Legend of St. Francis: 15. Sermon to the Birds (fresco detail), artist unknown, formerly attributed to Giotto di Bondone, c. 1297–1299, Upper Basilica of San Francesco d′Assisi, Assisi, Italy.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Saint Francis was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature, and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace. —Pope Francis
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