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Readings for Today

3-1-5What prophetic voices on the environment are needed today, and how can we best listen to the messages those voices carry?

Today’s stories invite us to take time away from everyday distractions to experience the sacramental revelation of nature, to be willing to sacrifice what we love for the other’s benefit, to cultivate deep listening and openness to God’s transforming surprises, and to go beyond our familiar communities in actions for justice.

My life-changing encounter occurred while a visiting professor in a global environmental issues course at Chaminade University, Honolulu. The students, most from small Pacific islands, shared their love of beaches and ocean, and how shorelines were changing through the accumulation of imported cans and bottles trash, and the decrease in freshwater availability with erosion.  I spoke about how climate change was predicted to increase storm frequency, raise sea levels, and exacerbate saltwater intrusions.

One student, Iumi, exclaimed, “Are you telling me my island and culture are disappearing?  What are you going to do?   Move us somewhere else, and ship us bottled water?” Tears welled within me, as they do in each retelling.  I imagine this is how Abraham and the disciples were also struck.  The next day, Iumi approached me. “I spoke out, because I think you can do something about it.”  I replied, “Iumi, we each must do what we can, and work together.”  So, I share Iumi’s challenge, her prophetic voice still soaking into my comfort zone, challenging me to reduce my consumption, educate for environmental justice; and advocate boldly from my Midwest continental security for climate change policies in solidarity with all the vulnerable.

Reflection Questions:

  • How are you being invited to spend time in nature and consciously cultivate a listening and responsive heart?
  • How can loving sacrifice be a greater part of how you live in solidarity with our global brothers and sisters and their lived environmental realities?
  • Recall a transformative moment in your own life, and ponder how you are being called to apply its inspiration to today’s environmental challenges.
  • What action steps might you take? For Lenten Energy Fast Ideas see: http://meec.udayton.edu/EnergyFast.asp

Marianist Sister Leanne Jablonski FMI, PhD is an ecologist, educator and pastoral minister engaged in climate science, faith and justice outreach regionally to nationally. She directs the Marianist Environmental Education Center (meec.udayton.edu); at the University of Dayton coordinates the Sustainability Energy Environment Learning-Living Community. She is past chair of the Ecological Society of America environmental justice section and serves as Ohio Coordinator for the Catholic Climate Covenant. Cycling with a friend in nature are among her greatest joys.

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