88. The bishops of Brazil have pointed out that nature as a whole not only manifests God but is also a locus of his presence. The Spirit of life dwells in every living creature and calls us to enter into relationship with him. Discovering this presence leads us to cultivate the “ecological virtues”. This is not to forget that there is an infinite distance between God and the things of this world, which do not possess his fullness. Otherwise, we would not be doing the creatures themselves any good either, for we would be failing to acknowledge their right and proper place. We would end up unduly demanding of them something which they, in their smallness, cannot give us.
Reflection: “…Nature as a whole not only manifests God but is also a locus of God’s presence…Discovering this presence leads us to cultivate the “ecological virtues.” It has been suggested that there are seven ecological virtues embedded in Laudato Si’: “gratitude, care, justice, work, sobriety, and humility.” How is nature is a locus of God’s presence for you and for your community, where you live, work, and pray? How does that awareness, that presence, lead you to cultivate these ecological virtues? Journal about your reflections, and discuss with someone else if possible.
Action: Pray this week with the intention to experience “the Spirit of life dwelling in every living creature calling us to enter into relationship with him.” Imagine the beauty and mercy of God’s invitation to us through creation. Read this week’s reflections on Fire for the Season of Creation (September 1 – October 4).
Season of Creation
For full resources on the Season of Creation click here. Consider this SSND International Solidarity Reflection prayer service for your local community, school, or ministry during this Season of Creation. For a beautiful liturgical guide that’s easy to use and access, click here. The Friday newsletter will offer short pieces on a theme each week for the five weeks of Season of Creation, including education, contemplation, and action.
Spaces of Hope
The interviewer: From the high point of your eighty years, how do you see your life in reference to the future and to God? “The real high point of my life is still to come. I mean that abyss of the mystery of God, into which one lets oneself fall in complete confidence of being caught up by God’s love and mercy forever.” Karl Rahner, SJ, months before he died in 1984. Faith in a Wintry Season. New York: Crossroad, 1990.
I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me. – Serena Williams in Vogue interview
Christian conversion requires new thinking and new living, a continual change of mind and heart as individuals and as community. Our call to conversion and our response find expression in…. courageous coping with insecurities and fears (19); attempts to alleviate human suffering, especially that of the poor (20); the promotion of justice and peace (20). We struggle to live by the conviction that love is, indeed, the fulfillment of the law. (You Are Sent 51a, 19-21; 51b)
Justice for Immigrants
On August 24, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security and the Biden administration announced a final rule on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy which will maintain DACA protections for 800,000 undocumented young people living in the United States. Read more, and see the need for comprehensive immigration reform.
If you haven’t had the chance to participate in the book study of Subversive Habits, consider watching the PBS documentary, “Sisters of Selma.” This one-hour documentary, full of historical footage, is a great discussion starter on dismantling racism. It is available free from the archives of Avila University. Watch it with someone else and plan to discuss it afterward.
A new Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study shows that the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted many medical school pathway programs, challenging efforts to make medicine more inclusive. A survey of more than 100 administrators of such programs found that nearly 40% had reduced their pathway programs since the start of the pandemic. Programs most likely to be canceled included those for elementary and middle school students, meaning the setbacks to diversity efforts may not be apparent for decades. Read more here.
The Season of Creation began on September 1st! Check out this beautifully illustrated overview of the climate crisis, and consider registering to receive email reflections from EarthBeat every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout the Season of Creation. The reflections, called "At Home in Creation," invite us to develop a deeper sense of being grounded in the place where we live. Click this link to register: EarthBeat Reflections - Season of Creation (mailchimp).
End Human Trafficking
The SSND are members of the US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking. Read the August newsletter here – the focus is on human trafficking and child and forced labor that affects our food supply – meat, dairy, chocolate, bananas, food service. Before you pick up that chocolate candy bar, think about the choice you are making. Awareness of our purchasing power and consumption of goods produced by child and forced labor is the beginning of real change.
GOSPEL FUND ANNOUNCEMENT
The Gospel Fund of the Atlantic-Midwest Province is established for the purpose of assisting in the financing of projects whose goals are consistent with the SSND congregational mandate to reverence all creation and make the concerns of the poor our own. The next funding cycle is open for new applications until October 1, 2022. For full information and to access the online application form, click here.