Waters above! eternal springs! The dew that silvers the Dove's wings! O welcome, welcome to the sad! Give dry dust drink; drink that makes glad! Many fair ev'nings, many flow'rs Sweeten'd with rich and gentle showers, Have I enjoy'd, and down have run Many a fine and shining sun; But never, till this happy hour, Was blest with such an evening-shower! From "Poems of Henry Vaughan, Silurist, Volume II. This was not an April shower, but a March one; a morning but not an evening shower yet I'm sure Henry Vaughan would have appreciated it, as I did, seeing the raindrops on the willows shining on the osiers. Laudato Si'!
Tag Archives: Laudato si’
This month Pope Francis asks us to pray for a Christian response to bioethical challenges.
We pray for Christians facing new bioethical challenges; may they continue to defend the dignity of all human life with prayer and action.
Of course it’s not as straightforward as pronouncing on the ethics of medical or cosmetic procedures. I had chosen the photo before I absorbed the words ‘ the dignity of all human life’, then wondered whether it was appropriate. I decided that it was. All human life includes the subsistence farmers who find themselves choosing between traditional crops and modern ones that are resistant to disease or insect attack. These are expensive to buy and need their fields to be sprayed with the expensive pesticide they can resist but the pests cannot.
And what of the long-term effects on the land and its ability to produce crops?
A jolly, hopeful poem from Christina Rossetti. Laudato Si’.
Every valley drinks, Every dell and hollow: Where the kind rain sinks and sinks, Green of Spring will follow. Yet a lapse of weeks Buds will burst their edges, Strip their wool-coats, glue-coats, streaks, In the woods and hedges; Weave a bower of love For birds to meet each other, Weave a canopy above Nest and egg and mother. But for fattening rain We should have no flowers, Never a bud or leaf again But for soaking showers; Never a mated bird In the rocking tree-tops, Never indeed a flock or herd To graze upon the lea-crops. Lambs so woolly white, Sheep the sun-bright leas on, They could have no grass to bite But for rain in season. We should find no moss In the shadiest places, Find no waving meadow-grass Pied with broad-eyed daisies; But miles of barren sand, With never a son or daughter, Not a lily on the land, Or lily on the water. (from "Poems" by Christina Georgina Rossetti)
I turned the corner into our street; at almost 4.00 p.m. dusk was falling, so why was a woman crouched down outside the piano workshop looking through her phone towards the dental surgery? Surely not to capture their new paint job, which needs a few brush strokes where the scaffold had stood.
A jerky movement in front of the photographer revealed a pied wagtail, rather whiter about the head than this one, maybe three metres away from her. She will have gone home happy for having seen this trusting creature up close and personal, and at least having tried to take its picture.
And so did I rejoice in bird and birder! Well, I had discovered something of human nature as well as having a good look at the wagtail.
Father James Kurzynski in his blog for the Vatican Observatory, questions the use of three verbs in this short piece: capture, take, and discover. ‘Capture’ and ‘take’ both have hints of violence and taking possession of something. ‘Discover’ – did I dis-cover something or was I made aware of it? Was it rather revealed to me? My smile was real enough.
You will smile more than once reading Fr James’s article, I promise.
Pied wagtail by Charles J Sharp, Sharp Photography
Day 5 “Ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising”
Psalm 121 – I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come?
Matthew 2:7-10 – Ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising
Again and again, the scriptures tell us how God walks with us. The path may not always be straight: sometimes we are led to retrace our steps, sometimes to return by a different route. But in all our journeying through life, we can be confident that God, who neither “sleeps nor slumbers”, is with us when we slip or fall.
Even in the greatest darkness, God’s light is with us. Most perfectly, in the fullness of time, God sends Jesus Christ, who is the guiding light for all nations, the glory of God in the world, the source of divine light and life.
The way ahead into unity with one another, into closer union with Christ, is not always clear. In our earnest attempts to build unity ourselves it is all too easy to lose sight of this fundamental message of the scriptures: that God does not abandon his people even in their failures and divisiveness. This is God’s message of hope for the whole world. As the story of the Magi reminds us, God guides people of all kinds, by the light of the star, to where Christ, the light of the world, is to be found.
God our Guide, you sent the star to lead the Magi to your only begotten Son. Fill us with the confidence that you are walking with us. Open our eyes to your Spirit, and encourage us in our faith, so that we may confess that Jesus is Lord, and worship him as the Magi did in Bethlehem. Amen.
Hope of my heart, strength of my soul, Guide Thou my footsteps and keep me whole; My grace and fortress, Thou wilt be, Oh, let Thy mighty hand ever lead me. Barney E Warren, 1893
Global: As a global community we continue to face many challenges. How do we seek God’s guidance in our response to those challenges?
Local: How is God guiding your Christian community at this time? Where are you being called to act?
Personal: Reflect on a time when you have felt or seen God’s guidance. What was that like?
Go and Do
Global: Start (or continue) a conversation around your Christian community about how you are responding to the challenges of climate justice. As churches, take part in global prayer and action for climate justice (https://www.prayandact4climate.org).
Local: Plan a Climate Sunday service between the churches in your locality. Visit climatesunday.org for resources and inspiration.
Personal: Seek out a community to be part of to support you in your action responding to global challenges. For example if you like craft you could turn your skills into activism in community with the craftivist-collective.com.
Nature rarer uses yellow Than another hue; Saves she all of that for sunsets, — Prodigal of blue, Spending scarlet like a woman, Yellow she affords Only scantly and selectly, Like a lover's words.
from Poems by Emily Dickinson, Three Series, Complete, by Emily Dickinson.
I’m not sure I agree with Emily Dickinson about yellow! Think of all the daffodils, dandelions, marigolds, groundsel … The sunflowers seen above owe their presence in a Canterbury garden to more than a little human help: pre-Colombian American people saving the seeds, choosing the best to produce future crops; immigrants sending seed home where the process began again to find the best varieties to feed Europe and fill our gardens. The seed that grew this specimen was from a packet of bird seed.
So let’s be grateful for yellow, for daffodils and sunsets, cats’ eyes and sunflowers, and remember that they are embodied words of a lover, the Lover:
And he said: Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done. And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Listen out for the Lover’s words this Advent! O come, O come, Emmanuel.
Maggie Terry: “It is crazy to think about just how much we consume and how little we care about it.” (Caila Rentz)
From the wild places under the stars to the city that never sleeps: quite a step! But it’s Christmas shopping time so we ought to give some thought to the waste that activity entails. it’s all part of stewardship of creation: being set over the works of God’s hands, as we read in Psalm 8 yesterday. This article on dumpster diving shows how some people are pushing back against the appalling waste they see all around them: food, furniture, clothes, toys, and more. It comes from the National Catholic Reporter; the link will take you to the full article. There are many differences between United Kingdom and the USA, but we too are guilty of tremendous waste: what are we doing about it?
Maggie Terry’s idea of a great night out in New York City is a little different from many of her peers’. Rather than heading to her couch or a cocktail bar to unwind after a day of work, she looks forward to something else: dumpster diving.
The 24-year-old elementary school teacher and her husband, Michael, spend their evenings (“every day but Saturday,” Terry says) digging through the trash for salvageable goods. Their finds are wide-ranging, from $400 worth of KitKats in a Walgreens dumpster one night to an antique Hartmann chest circa 1890 pulled from residential trash and valued at $3,000 the next.
The duo keeps what they can use — the Hartmann chest now serves as their coffee table — and redistributes the rest, by way of donation to food banks, charities, or just leaving goods out for free on their front stoop, where most items are taken by neighbors within 24 hours.
Let’s turn to Christina Rossetti, another of our favourite poets, singing of winter rain. I like her ‘rocking tree-tops’.
A creation hymn indeed, and looking forward to Spring and renewal, new life. And if we do not care better for our Earth, we can look forward to something like ‘Miles of barren sand, With never a son or daughter, Not a lily on the land, Or lily on the water.’
Time to prepare the way of the Lord.
Every valley drinks, Every dell and hollow: Where the kind rain sinks and sinks, Green of Spring will follow. Yet a lapse of weeks Buds will burst their edges, Strip their wool-coats, glue-coats, streaks, In the woods and hedges; Weave a bower of love For birds to meet each other, Weave a canopy above Nest and egg and mother. But for fattening rain We should have no flowers, Never a bud or leaf again But for soaking showers; Never a mated bird In the rocking tree-tops, Never indeed a flock or herd To graze upon the lea-crops. Lambs so woolly white, Sheep the sun-bright leas on, They could have no grass to bite But for rain in season. We should find no moss In the shadiest places, Find no waving meadow-grass Pied with broad-eyed daisies; But miles of barren sand, With never a son or daughter, Not a lily on the land, Or lily on the water. Christina Rossetti
Another reflection on the stars by a writer who loves the wild places where dark skies are more likely, the stars more visible. Robert Macfarlane is moved, almost physically, by gazing up - or is it down? into the night sky. The unconverted and limitless nature of the night sky ... is given a depth by the stars that far exceeds the depth given to the diurnal sky by clouds. On a cloudless night, looking upwards, you experience a sudden flipped vertigo, the feeling that your feet might latch off from the earth and you might plummet upwards into space... Our estrangement from the dark [due to street lighting] was a great and serious loss. Robert Macfarlane, THE WILD PLACES, London, Granta, 2007. A similar emotion struck David, who must have spent many a night under the stars: For I will behold thy heavens, the works of thy fingers: the moon and the stars which thou hast founded. What is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou hast made him a little less than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honour: And hast set him over the works of thy hands. Psalm 8:4-7
Before we get carried away in gratification, let Macfarlane remind us that the loss of the night sky to urban dwellers is serious and stunting.
About the photograph: Image of the night sky above Paranal, Chile on 21 July 2007, taken by ESO astronomer Yuri Beletsky. A wide band of stars and dust clouds, spanning more than 100 degrees on the sky, is seen. This is the Milky Way, the galaxy to which we belong. At the centre of the image, two bright objects are visible. The brightest is the planet Jupiter, while the other is the star Antares. Three of the four 8.2-m telescopes forming ESO’s VLT are seen, with a laser beaming out from Yepun, Unit Telescope number 4. The laser points directly at the Galactic Centre. Also visible are three of the 1.8-m Auxiliary Telescopes used for interferometry. They show small light beams which are diodes located on the domes. The exposure time is 5 minutes and because the tracking was made on the stars, the telescopes are slightly blurred.
|We are sharing a column from Saint Thomas’ Canterbury Newsletter by their environment correspondent, Natasha Viegas.|
We are at a point in time where we have to start making efforts to reduce the number of plastics we use. The plastic problem is so bad right now, that global warming is getting exponentially worse.Like with every problem we face in life, it is very important to look at the beginning, so that we can reflect upon our mistakes and take important steps towards a better future.
The Story of Plastic is an excellent documentary that outlines the entire process of plastic production, plastic consumption, and plastic recycling. You can use the link provided, or watch it on the Discovery Channel.This documentary is very informative on every problem that arises from plastics, as well as providing suggestions on how we can reduce usage and help the environment. We need to start now to safeguard our futures and protect this beautiful home that God created for us.