In Gratitude for and Reconciliation with the Earth – Catholics hold Masses & Reconciliation ceremonies during action to Break Free from Fossil Fuels

May 12, 2016

Catholics are participating in actions worldwide demonstrating that we need to Break Free from fossil fuels now.  From a march that drew 10,000 in opposition to further development of coal plants in Batangas City, Philippines, culminating in mass led by the local archbishop and many priests, to the efforts occurring this week in Indonesia, the US, and Brasil, Catholics are present.  Whether in kayaks on the water, as a Sister of Mercy will be in Albany, or standing and praying in auction rooms and parking lots, Catholics are calling, with Pope Francis, for us to transition off of fossil fuels without delay.

Today, Catholics from several Denver and Lakewood parishes, the Sisters of Loretto, the Catholic Worker, and Eco-Justice are present at the action opposing further auction of fossil fuel leasing on federal lands, at the Bureau of Land Management auction in Colorado, USA.  They are holding a Reconciliation ceremony as well.

In Gratitude for and Desired Reconciliation with the Earth

Break Free Gathering on 5/12/2016

We look around at this gathering and how we got here. Just now, we arrived, powered in most cases by fossil fuels. Going back much further, eons ago, we arrived as human beings emerging into consciousness from a nest of interconnected life forms. Who knows how differently we would have developed, if we for all those millions of years we had to breathe polluted air? If our climate had been disrupted by noxious carbon emissions?

We want to express our gratitude for the forces of Nature that somehow, through an intelligence far greater than our own, figured out how to sequester carbon for all these millennia before us.  That natural carbon sequestration gave us time. And during all that time, the fluorescence of the living Earth emerged and nurtured us as we developed our human capacities.

We are grateful, as well, for the conveniences we have enjoyed from the human discovery, mining, and burning of fossil fuels over the last century and a half to power an industrial and technological revolution. That gift has stabilized us in many ways, although it has caused significant harm to many across the planet.

Now we know we must change. We recognize, all too late, that we have in our carelessness undone the systematic work of Nature’s intelligence.  Without awareness, we have attacked our common self, our common home, and the common good.

Without knowing how to sequester carbon from a polluted atmosphere, we have ripped up the carbon that Nature had sequestered for us, and have burned it into the atmosphere. Now we must stop, or the reactive climate will destroy all that Nature has developed in that original intelligence that brought us forth.

We must recognize that again and again we have sought what is good and done what is bad, overlooking or ignoring the harm we’ve been doing and continue to do.

We stand in the rubble of many bad choices.

We have been forgetful and willful recipients of a Great Gift ever since we first enjoyed this Garden.

We ask for strength and courage to change our ways, so this Earth may flourish once more, as it flourished before and when we arrived.

We seek a blessing on earth, wind, and water.

We seek assistance to make amends so that we may preserve this sweet, life-giving place in its course through the cosmos.

And we ask a blessing on each of us gathered here to do this essential work to keep fossil fuels in the ground:

May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

May you receive great encouragement when new challenges beckon.

May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame, and may anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.

May you take the time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.

May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

Amen.