Victoria Battell, RSM—In recent days we could not help but be moved by the scenes of devastation and destruction which Hurricane Harvey left behind. Fierce winds and treacherous rain has taken the lives, possessions, and livelihoods of many people. In my experience of teaching religious studies, one of the most common questions asked is If there is a God, and God is good, why would God let this happen? Where is God in all of this?
When we look at the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey it can be difficult to answer these questions. Those who have rushed to help and risked their lives to save people have provided this loving presence of God. Those from far and wide who have given money and practical support have enabled the healing and rebuilding to begin: this is the work of God.
On this day, which is dedicated to, Care of Creation, and begins the, Season of Creation (until October 4th), we are reminded that taking care of our common home is a responsibility we must take seriously. Hurricane Harvey is a stark reminder that, at times, nature can be destructive. Science tells us that episodes of this nature will become more frequent if human induced climate change is not dealt with.
Issues of earth cross geographical, political and religious boundaries. It is the unifying issue of our time. We must take personal and communal action if we are to stem the destruction of our only home on earth.
In “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis calls for a radical conversion of heart so that we take seriously, and urgently, the call of earth and the poor who suffer disproportionately the effects of climate change.
During this season of creation, let us be more mindful of the small but significant things we can do to make a difference so that the future of our planet is preserved for what it was intended to be…a place of harmony and beauty where all can live in peace.