March 19, 2010: Springtime reflections on the reverence of life, by Sister Regina Ann Brummel

March 19, 2010 by

Recently while driving from western Kansas, I mentally reviewed presentations I had just made to parish groups regarding justice for the poor and the most vulnerable.

Along the way, I noticed definite signs of spring; trees were showing signs of leafing, and birds were returning in formation to their nesting grounds.  I remembered my childhood days when whole families collaborated in the work of preparing the earth for spring planting.

I’ve always reverenced this season of promise and growth, and hope that others can experience creation’s renewal with the same excitement.

The beauty and goods of the earth are meant as the Creator’s gifts for all to share. There is much talk today about reverencing creation.

I believe this must involve more than just basking in creation’s beauty. It implies the challenging work of collaborating with one another in a communal covenant for justice, working to protect the health of the environment and that of all who inhabit the planet today and in the future.

I, like many others, am concerned about climate change, fossil fuel depletion, industrialized agriculture and the scarcity of fresh water. I believe these concerns reflect our desire for right relationships with one another, creation, and the Creator.

True reverence for life implies action to sustain it, to prevent abuse and exploitation, to protect and nourish it.   This planet we share, for which we are stewards, is vulnerable in much the same way as are the poor and vulnerable humans among us.

Reverence for all of life begins with the conviction that environmental health is a human right.  All humans have the right to peace and a healthy environment. Careless exploitation of natural resources and the environment degrades quality of life. Because our global interdependence today raises questions of justice, we need to promote attitudes and policies that will create responsible relationships toward one another and the environment of our shared world. This implies a willingness to engage in positive civic discourse, reverencing one another in the process.

Often the poor and the vulnerable depend on those of us who have voices to speak for them, to bring about the just peace that can germinate and grow new life and beauty among humans and throughout the planet, which is also vulnerable in many places.

Voices for justice may be those of teachers who instill in their students respect for themselves, one another and people around the globe. They may be voices of parents who encourage healthy food choices for their children, or of scientists and medical professionals who promote affordable health care for all. Those who protest the proliferation of nuclear weapons or inappropriate genetic modification of organisms are looking toward the welfare of future generations and the earth.

Spring is the season for reverencing new life. The beautiful signs of new growth can inspire us to hold ourselves accountable to work as partners with the Creator in sustaining life and visioning just peace for all life.

— Sister Regina Ann Brummel lives in Concordia and is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph Leadership Council.


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