Leadership includes speaking up, speaking out and taking action on critical issues impacting those we serve. Pope Francis has humbly and consistently demonstrated this leadership since arriving in Rome.
His ministry focused on the poor and dispossed marks him as a true disciple of Jesus Christ, just as this recent Earth Day quote identifies him as a leader unafraid to acknowledge reality.
It’s a shame and disgrace that more of our United States politicians could do the same.
God is more glorified by a man who uses the good things of this life in simplicity and gratitude than by the nervous asceticism of someone who is agitated by every detail of his self-denial….His [the latter’s] struggle for perfection becomes a kind of battle of wits with the Creator who made all things good. – Thomas Merton
Nothing turns me off more than frowning saints. And the problem is that there’s far to many of them in most of the churches I visit.
Many Christians live, and want others to live, as if faithfulness to a loving Creator is best manifested by a public denial of anything that might be good or enjoyable. These fine folks look like they lost their ticket to the big game and can’t find anyone to blame.
These are the folks in every church who look as if they just returned from a trip and they didn’t enjoy the ride. The glass is not only half empty, it’s also chipped, as well. If it’s good it’s suspect.
Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk. He lived a life of simplicity as his faith response to God’s love, but he understood that God isn’t glorified by a constant struggle against enjoyment of his perfect creation.
Thoroughly enjoying all the good gifts of God glorifies him far more than continually fighting against the contentment that follows a good meal or a walk through a spring meadow. We don’t have to be afraid to enjoy the good things of God.
God created the world and saw that it was good. Not only can we enjoy it, we can actually smile as we thank God for all the blessings we have been given.
O God, this glorious Easter morning the resurrection promises us the inheritance of new life in Jesus Christ. May we live in resurrection power as your abiding grace moves us to ensure that the full abundance of your creation is used to conquer hunger and poverty in our world as surely as you have conquered sin, death and the grave.. Amen
O gracious and and merciful Father, You have graced us with another beautiful day. Thank you for such a precious gift.
Help us truly live alive during this day. Help us see the awesome work of creation with fresh eyes. Help us walk with both wonder and reverence on this planet you created so perfectly.
And help us come to the realization that we have both the power and the responsibility to care for all the beauty with which we are surrounded. Convict us of our wanton misuse of all that we have been given, and empower us afresh to become true caretakers of our world.
Let our love for you overwhelm our greed and need to consume. And let our faithfulness shine forth in the actions we take to demonstrate our reverence for all you have provided to sustain us.
Most gracious and loving Creator, how thankful we are this day for all your blessings. We confess that far too often we live in a way that doesn’t demonstrate our gratitude for your goodness and your mercy. We are not as good stewards of your perfectly created world as we would like to be. We are wasteful of the gifts you have given us and take the beauty that surrounds us for granted. Forgive us.
Help us to be better stewards of all you have entrusted into our care. Grant us the insight to understand how closely we are connected to each other and all living things, and then grant us the wisdom and the grace necessary to live accordingly. Help us to walk more lightly on the earth that sustains us, and help us to share the abundant resources to have given us with all those most in need. And in all our endeavors, both great and small, grant that all we do brings you both glory and praise. Amen
O Lord, We know that you are the great Creator, and that everything lovely and beautiful in this world has come from you. We praise your mighty name for the amazing works you have done on behalf. We come humbly to you, Father, and ask your forgiveness for our having spoiled the beauty and purity of your creation. For we know that our sins, and ours alone, have polluted and corrupted you world. Help us to repent of our sinful ways and to work to restore your world to its original glory. And yet, let us never worship your creation, but only you, the marvelous Creator and genius of the universe. Amen
[taken from for they shall be fed, edited by Ronald J. Sider]
Gracious and loving God, we come before you this beautiful day with thanks for all that have given us. We are humbled in recognition of a love greater than we can ever comprehend, and we offer you our worship and our praise for a perfect creation and the unending grace which sustains it.
Grant us, we pray, the desire to be good stewards of this planet. Help us to be better caretakers of all you have created and so freely given to sustain us. Help us protect our planet as a precious gift given to all generations. Give us the courage to stand against the greed and short-sightedness of all corporations and governments that seek only to plunder and pillage the earth’s resources.
And as we begin to celebrate this special season of Advent, help us to remember who we are celebrating and why this is such a joyous time of the year. Help us to reflect the love of Christ in all we do, but most especially in our gift giving. Help us to gift all those most in need, and not just our family, friends and loved ones. Let us actively seek to change our consumptive patterns of behavior, putting more emphasis on real and loving relationships rather than material stuff we do not need.
May we be especially aware of our poor and homeless brothers and sisters during this colder season. Help us to do all we are able to provide food and shelter during the coming months to those without the warmth of homes and families. And may we always be striving to correct the injustices that allow such miseries to exist in a perfectly created world.
Thank you, Lord for this season now upon us. Help us to prepare our hearts to once again welcome your birth.
The earth was established to be in common for all, rich and poor….Nature makes no distinctions among us at our birth, and none at our death. All alike she creates us, all alike she seals us in the tomb. Who can tell the dead apart? Open up the graves, and, if you can, tell which was a rich man. – Saint Ambrose
Saint Ambrose is right, isn’t he? Our planet is home to all of us. All of us are born, live our lives and then die. In the end our socio-economic status makes absolutely no difference.
The shame is that during our brief sojourn on this blessed sphere we do our best to magnify every possible distinction between us. It’s a shame because we are all one family.
Instead of loving each other as we have been loved, we all “have to have someone we can look down on” as the saying goes. We have completely lost sight of the fact we are all connected. And I am not just talking about our social, economic and ethnic distinctions. We have forgotten that all of humanity is one and every single one of us is integrally connected to this wonderful planet.
Everything is connected, and all of us are part of an exquisite interwoven whole that is earth. How sad it is that we no longer understand that. We allow and take part in destruction of each other and our environment with absolutely no conscious thought.
That’s a damned shame. Rich or poor, what does it matter?