Hearing the stories of tragedy on the news calls people of faith to prayer. This is not surprising because a tragedy is often beyond our control and yet we must strive to meet the needs of those caught in its harsh reality. Thankfully, there are many generous first responders and others who risk themselves in order to help, and we admire them. Their work reminds us that we are all sisters and brothers, called to care for one another and all creation.
Still, more and more devastating natural disasters are currently in the news. And again, we are reminded of the urgency of Climate Change. Earth is warming and our response is often measured, self-focused, and too slow. Or worse: leaders in our government responsible for protecting our climate are declaring themselves Climate Change skeptics and overturning the protective measures already in place to slow global warming. Most recently EPA Director Scott Pruitt announced withdrawal from the Clean Power Plan and is reportedly preparing to ask Congress for additional financial subsidies for coal companies, a major source of greenhouse gases. And the natural disasters continue to accumulate.
- Puerto Rico continues to struggle and is now faced with a clean drinking water shortage, lack of food, interrupted ability to communicate with each other and family, and increasing disease. This is the mark of Hurricane Maria felt by the island. Maria was one of four hurricanes to make landfall on U.S. territories during the past month.
- There are 22 wild fires burning out of control on 115,000 acres in Northern California. Today’s report (10/12) from Santa Rosa claims 190 persons missing and at least 29 people confirmed dead. Two of the victims were a woman aged 100 and her husband aged 98.
So, we ask what is needed, demanded by a spiritualty which flows from the Dominican Charism? Of course, prayer is encouraged. But our Dominican Charism also calls us to study and to act. Study informs our prayer and shapes our response. As Dominicans we search for truth and pray to know God’s desire.
Therefore, let us study the research on climate change. What are the facts grounded in science? What is the message found in Laudato Sí www.laudatosi.com ? What are the needs of earth and the earth community? What do we learn from exploring other links committed to justice and care of earth: e.g.,
Then let us act. St. Catherine of Siena cautions us: “We’ve had enough of exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a thousand tongues. I see the world is rotten because of silence.” We need to make our voices heard. We need to speak truth about climate change, the needs of earth, the interdependence of the human family, the plight of the poor, and so forth. And we must pray that as we rebuild from a tragedy, we are conscious of rebuilding in a way that is sustainable not only for us but also for all of creation.
Karen Rossman, OP