St. Joseph Catholic Church
In its fullness, prayer is an encounter with God that transforms the way we see and interact with the world. As so many saints have suggested, it is like a bright light that reveals what we otherwise do not see.
When we stop for a moment the desire to convince God to give us what we want and simply encounter God—to aim our full attention at the light itself rather than using it to see what we want—our focus becomes clear. All of a sudden, we see ourselves and the world the way God does ... and for the first time know that things are not the way that they should be. Something needs to change. Often, that something is us.
If anyone needed proof that sin has screwed up our world on a massive scale, all we need to do is ask them look at the horrific and cruel injustices perpetuated upon nonhuman animals. But as Christians we know that Jesus has redeemed human beings and all of creation. This redemption has already happened, but it has not been fully implemented. More work remains. In giving human beings dominion over creation, God has charged each of us with protecting its many creatures—both human and nonhuman. How will we respond?
Saint Francis recognized God’s work in creation and loved it. He was foremost a follower of Jesus, but in him there was no tension between loving God and loving all creatures of God. Rather, Francis reveled in the sun, gazed upon the stars, danced with the air, was drawn to the fire, marveled at water and loved the earth. He recognized the beauty of God in creation and loved God all the more for the abundance of this gift. He celebrated the beauty and interdependence of creation through poetry and called it “good.” And good it is.
Even though one may not be able to halt the race toward death, one must nevertheless choose life, and the things that favor life. This means respect for every living thing, but especially for every man made in the image of God. Respect for man even in his blindness and in his confusion, even when he may do evil. For we must see that the meaning of man has been totally changed by the Crucifixion: every man is Christ on the Cross, whether he realizes it or not. But we must learn to realize it.
All around the world people are looking for meaning and finding it in strange, even destructive places. The world needs men and women who are so in love and so convinced of the truth that they cannot help but share it with others in word and deed, that they cannot help but make Christ present in the world. More than anything else, if what we do enables us to live with evangelical zeal for the sake of the world, we just might be doing what we are called to do.
Listen with the ears; see with the eyes of God.
Life is amazing. All life is utterly dependent upon our planet for everything it needs. God provides everything through creation. Water falls from the sky and runs through creeks and rivers. Plants and animals grow and are all part of the circle of life. Air circulates around the globe, refreshing and renewing all of life’s creatures. The sun, trees, plants, oil, coal and gas provide energy. The beauty of creation grabs our attention, inspiring us and providing for our needs. God truly cares for us like a mother cares for her children and expresses this care through the goodness of creation.
It is Christ in us who drives us through darkness to a light of which we have no conception and which can only be found by passing through apparent despair. Everything has to be tested. All relationships have to be tried. All loyalties have to pass through fire. Much has to be lost. Much in us has to be killed, even much that is best in us. But victory is certain. The Resurrection is the only light and with that light there is no error.