The life of St. Francis was filled with rapturous celebrations of the joys of God’s creation and constant efforts to protect all creatures from suffering harm. I personally don’t believe that we need to preach to animals or shout with joy when we see a rainbow, but I do believe that we need to appreciate and protect the creations of God. The person who genuinely seeks to be like God will enjoy, protect and preserve nature. Our children need to be taught from earliest childhood to minimize waste and dispose of excess properly. They should be taught and shown how to value and protect the resources of land and water. The beauty of creation is one of God’s special gifts to humankind; it is only right that we show our appreciation by respecting and caring for the gift.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God.”
William Blake: “To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.”
Dorothy Gurney: “The kiss of the sun for pardon, The song of the birds for mirth, One is nearer God’s heart in a garden Than anywhere else on Earth.”
William of Saint-Thierry: “A man who has lost his sense of wonder is a man dead.”
Suggested activities to cultivate appreciation for God’s creation:
- Grow a garden and/or feed the birds.
- Don’t waste paper.
- Don’t waste water.
- Walk in the park or drive through a forest with the windows down while mediating on what you see and the Creator who makes it possible. Listen. Smell. Appreciate.
- Try to consume less – and encourage your family members to do the same. For me this involves buying less bottled water, recycling what can be recycled, using energy efficient appliances and lighting.
- Make a commitment to “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without.”