Caring for our common home

Mission | January 28, 2016

Near Fourth and Iowa streets in Davenport, at the lunch hour on Wednesday, 50 people stood bundled up in the chill of the January sun and prayed.

Many of them Catholic sisters from area orders, they gathered at the site of one of two dozen billboards placed throughout the region – including the Quad Cities – to raise awareness of caring for the environment. The billboards also are in support of  Pope Francis’s recent encyclical letter, Laudato Si, On Care for our Common Home.

Locally, sisters who collaborated on the billboards include the Benedictine Sisters of Rock Island, Sisters of the Humility of Mary from Davenport, and Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton. Additional orders from Iowa and Wisconsin are involved, too. The sisters’ “Care for our Common Home” message was first shared through ads placed in USA Today and local diocesan newspapers during Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in September.

Nuns2“If religion doesn’t have the right to speak to this, who does?” said Kathleen Storms of the Congregation of the Humility of Mary. She is the director of the Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat near Wheatland, Iowa.

It is not the first issue the sisters have brought to the public to consider in the form of a campaign, she added. Four years ago, they created an effort that encouraged the welcome of immigrants and refugees. With the caucus coming, and the pope’s letter,

St. Paul is connected with the orders represented on Wednesday: St. Paul supports the housing initiatives of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary. Each fall, staff, council members, and mission board retreat with the Benedictine Sisters and supports the St. Joseph the Worker House. St. Paul also has an active environmental team that works to improve Earth-consciousness in this corner of the world.

On Wednesday, the sisters read excerpts from Laudato Si:

  • The world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.
  • The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.
  • We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family.
  • We need only take a frank look at the facts to see that our common home is falling into serious disrepair.
  • Everything is related and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river, and mother earth.
  • What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up.
  • Today we cannot help but recognize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach, which must integrate justice in the discussions of the environment, to hear the cry of the earth with the cry of the poor…We forget that we ourselves are Earth (Geneisis 2:7). Our own body is made of the elements of the plant its air is what gives us breath and its water gives us life and restores.

Nuns

Those gathered prayed for creation, the implementation of the agreement from the Paris Climate Conference, for people who work in government, and for each of us – that we can work together for the good of all creation.

“God of love, show us our place in this world. As channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight. Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we love.”

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Isaiah 53:4-12

4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

And our sorrows He carried;

Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.

6All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;

But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all

To fall on Him.

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He did not open His mouth;

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

So He did not open His mouth.

8By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

And as for His generation, who considered

That He was cut off out of the land of the living

For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

9His grave was assigned with wicked men,

Yet He was with a rich man in His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10But the LORD was pleased

To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,

He will see His offspring,

He will prolong His days,

And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

11As a result of the anguish of His soul,

He will see it and be satisfied;

By His knowledge the Righteous One,

My Servant, will justify the many,

As He will bear their iniquities.

12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,

And He will divide the booty with the strong;

Because He poured out Himself to death,

And was numbered with the transgressors;

Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,

And interceded for the transgressors.

Psalm 91:9-16

9For you have made the LORD, my refuge,

Even the Most High, your dwelling place.

10No evil will befall you,

Nor will any plague come near your tent.

11For He will give His angels charge concerning you,

To guard you in all your ways.

12They will bear you up in their hands,

That you do not strike your foot against a stone.

13You will tread upon the lion and cobra,

The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

14“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;

I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.

15“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble;

I will rescue him and honor him.

16“With a long life I will satisfy him

And let him see My salvation.”

Hebrews 5:1-10

The Perfect High Priest

1For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;2he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;3and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.4And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.

5So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him,

“YOU ARE MY SON,

TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”;

6just as He says also in another passage,

“YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER

ACCORDING TOTHE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.”

7In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.9And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,10being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Mark 10:35-45

35James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, *came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.”36And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”37They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.”38But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”39They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.40“But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John.42Calling them to Himself, Jesus *said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.43“But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;44and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.45“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Bartimaeus Receives His Sight