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The earth is the Lord’s

by davesandel on December 31st, 2012

The earth is the Lord’s

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Seventh Day of Christmas

The 366th Day of 2012

New Year’s Eve

1 John 2:21

I write to you not because you do not know the truth, but because you do.”

Joan Chittister says, “The Benedictine heart practiced ecology before it was a word.”  She refers to chapter 31 of The Rule of Benedict, written around 530 A.D., which says, “The cellarer will regard all utensils and goods of the monastery as sacred vessels of the altar, aware that nothing is to be neglected.”

Chittister is eloquent in her commentary on this sentence: “The cellarer must do more than take care of people.  A Benedictine cellarer has a responsibility to take care of things, too.  Waste is not a Benedictine virtue.  Planned obsolescence is not a Benedictine goal.  Disposability is not a Benedictine quality.

“A Benedictine soul is a soul that takes care of things, that polishes wood and scrapes away rust and keeps a room clean and never puts feet on the furniture and mulches the garden and leaves trees standing and ‘treats all utensils and goods of the monastery like the sacred vessels of the altar.’  A Benedictine cares for the earth and all things well.”

This is truth that we all know, and we know it in the center of our souls.  We have always known it.  God tells us to “Prosper!  Reproduce!  Fill Earth!  Take charge!  Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth” (Genesis 1:28).  On the last day of 2012, and on the first day of 2013, this is something we know.

And John writes to us anyway, and tells us again to live like Jesus lived, to consider every living thing on the face of the earth … our brother and our sister.  Francis of Assisi sang to Brother Sun and Sister Moon.  He was not the crazy one.  The crazy ones are those who refuse to sing at all.

What you give us, Lord, you also take away.  We are made from dust, and to dust we return.  So special, we think we are, and yet … forgive me my arrogance and thoughtlessness.  Thank you for maintaining the path you have made for me in spite of my litter and the destruction that so often follows in my wake.  You are good.  That I am so often NOT … in your patience, you will make me whole.


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