Introduction: Mercy and the Degradation of Earth
Elizabeth Davis rsm (Newfoundland)
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The land mourns, and all who live in it languish; together with the wild animals and the birds of the air, even the fish of the sea are perishing. —Hos 4:3
In segment two – month two of Mercy Global Presence, we reflect on Mercy and the Degradation of Earth.
Glimmers from Last Month’s Reflection
We have a strong foundation in the reflections of month one in the segment: Faith Traditions and Mercy. Each major faith tradition holds mercy as essential to its life, is a name for God, is one of the qualities of God lived by people every day and is integrally connected to creation and to Earth. The theologian Peta Goldberg rsm says, “From within our ‘house of faith’ we are encouraged to reach out in order to intentionally and sympathetically interact with other systems of theological belief. If we do so, we open up the possibility of a richer appreciation of our own house of faith.” Two artists, Anne Reddington rsm and Maureen Murphy rsm, created a new work of art by juxtaposing a dramatic painting by Anne (Table of MERCY) and a deeply moving poem by Maureen (“Who are we if not kin?”).
At the ministry level, the CCASA Prophetic Voice Commission introduced us to the process Alternatives to Violence, a program that seeks to form community by teaching conflict resolution through non-violent communication, respect for oneself and others, self-esteem and thinking before acting. Through a global lens, Mary Tee rsm showed a practical application of a participative and non-violent approach by two groups of indigenous peoples – the Innu of Labrador in their resistance to Government’s sanctioning of the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Project; and (ii) the Amazonian Indigenous peoples in their quiet confident participation in the Synod on the Amazon, challenging the ongoing destruction of their culture and way of life.
A distinct voice came from the students of St Saviour's College who showed us a diverse culture alive in Toowoomba’s oldest secondary school, a richly diverse community of young women from rural and remote Queensland, Australia and Papua New Guinea. The prayer reflection created by Bridget Crisp rsm showed us a new way of seeing three traditional practices: prayer as our relationship with God, fasting as a call to reflect on the way we live, and almsgiving as an invitation to consider our journey in community.
Important Events Surrounding This Month’s Reflection
Firmly grounded by this foundation, we now begin our reflection on Mercy and the Degradation of Earth. We are just six months from the Synod on the Amazon in which we listened “to the voice of the Amazon, stirred by the powerful breath of the Holy Spirit in the cry of the wounded land and its inhabitants.”[i] We are in in the heart of Eastertime, hearing the words of an Amazonian Leader, “May your life be full of reasons to stand up for justice and with an ongoing pursuit for the kingdom in your ordinary life, in which extraordinary things can happen when we allow that Easter hope to take place.”[ii] We have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with its theme Climate Action – a united call for the creativity, ambition, and bravery needed to meet our climate crisis. We are anticipating Laudato Si’ Week (May 16-24) with Pope Francis’ call to the global Catholic community to undertake ambitious actions to address the mounting environmental perils facing the planet and its people...
[i] Synod of Bishops, Final Document: The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology, Special Assembly for the Pan-Amazonian Region, Vatican, 26 October 2019, #3.
[ii] Mauricio López Oropez, “Amazon Easter,” Easter with an Amazonian Face, Weekly reflections on resurrection from participants of the Amazon Synod, Interreligious Working Group on Extractive Industries, Easter 2020, accessed at https://justresponse.faith/easter-amazonian-face-pdf.
Spanish translation using DeepL Translator. Traducción al español con DeepL Translator
Elizabeth Davis rsm is the Congregation Leader of the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland.
She is the Mercy Leaders' representive on the Mercy Global Presence Guiding Group.
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