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5 things you can do to celebrate Earth Day

Celebrating  Earth Day doesn't have to be a one day event only. Maybe on April 22nd you make a commitment to take a look at your relationship with our Common Home.  Pope Francis, following the invitation of St. John Paul II,  invites us to an Ecological Conversion: “ Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience”  Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ 217  “This conversion starts by gratitude. The change of habits and patterns of behavior, production and consumption will not start only by reading precise scientific reports, or by a better knowledge of the threats to our planet, but with a basic attitude: gratitude, ‘that is, a recognition that the world is God’s loving gift, and that we are called quietly to imitate his generosity in self-sacrifice and good works.’ (LS 220).  “


What has the Church said about Caring for Creation?

  • God intended the earth with everything contained in it for the use of all human beings and peoples. Thus, under the leadership of justice and in the company of charity, created goods should be in abundance for all in like manner. – Gaudium et Spes, 69

  • The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church states that God gave the earth to the whole human race for the sustenance of all its members, without excluding or favoring anyone (171). It continues to note that “[solidarity] is to be applied above all – although not only – to the earth’s resources and to safeguarding creation, the latter of which becomes a particularly delicate issue because of globalization, involving as it does the entire planet understood as a single ecosystem” (367).

  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2415) states “The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation…Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.”


 

So here are five things you can do to start a path to ecological conversion:

  1. Keep a prayer journal of how you see God’s love or presence manifested around you in creation.  For example: a beautiful sunrise/sunset, a breeze during a hot day.  Write how it made you feel.  Thank God for his presence.

  2. Look at your seasonal clothes from last year and see what you can re-ware.  Don’t buy new clothes just because of making a fashion statement.  Cloths that don’t fit you, you should donate them and not throw them away.

  3. Make a plastic usage inventory and join the Catholic Covenant Focus on Plastics Commitment.  https://catholicclimatecovenant.org/programs/earth-day/

  4. Invite a friend or friends to do something in your community.  It can be adopting a highway,  a creek or an open area.  Helping elderly to clean their yards.  Many people cannot clean their yards because they do not have a truck to haul things to the dumpster or recycling center.  Make sure you wear protective gear.

  5. Learn about food insecurity in your community.  Many people cannot afford to buy ecological friendly products because of the expense.  Learn how you can join a food bank and reach out to the community.  https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/food-insecurity


“Man’s lordship, however, is not ‘absolute, but ministerial:  it is a real reflection of the unique and infinite lordship of God. Hence man must exercise it with wisdom and love, sharing in the boundless wisdom and love of God’ (Evangelium vitae, 52).”  Pope St. John Paul II

“The human creature receives a mission to govern creation in order to make all its potential shine. It is a delegation granted at the very origins of creation, when man and woman, who are the ‘image of God’ (Gen 1: 27), receive the order to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it, and to have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and every living thing that moves upon the earth (cf. Gen 1: 28)…Man’s lordship, however, is not ‘absolute, but ministerial:  it is a real reflection of the unique and infinite lordship of God. Hence man must exercise it with wisdom and love, sharing in the boundless wisdom and love of God’ (Evangelium vitae, 52).”  Pope St. John Paul II



 

Prayer:

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.

Pope Francis, Laudato Si




 

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