Our Sister, Mother Earth
Weather catastrophes are nothing new. During the Middle Ages it was believed they were the work of demons and evil spirits. When a forceful storm threatened, people took refuge under the church bells clutching religious relics while reciting prayers.
In Switzerland, from April 25-September 14, we end our Eucharist Celebration with a weather blessing. God as the creator and ruler over nature, the priest praises and thanks God for the gift of his works. He then asks God to bless us and keep us safe from all disasters. He ends with the Sign of the Cross using a special crucifix that contains a small piece of Jesus’ cross. Our planet is suffering from the result of climate change at a rate that cries out for drastic change. We need this special blessing now more than ever.
Pope Francis began his encyclical letter “laudato si” (May 2015) by quoting St. Francis of Assisi who refers to our Sister, Mother Earth. “This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods which God has endowed her.” He goes on to appeal for new dialogue in how we are shaping the future of our planet. And then he writes the most beautiful words, “The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us.”
On October 4th we celebrate St. Francis of Assisi. After suffering a spiritual crisis, he made some serious life changes, left his luxury life and went to live with the poor. His love of life and God’s creation reflected in his caring attitude for all creatures. Do we need a spiritual crisis to recognize all of creation as a gift from God? Our planet is suffering a climate crisis and it is time to take responsiblity for the gift that God has entrusted to us.