Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour: a good idea for Catholics?

Earth Hour is designated by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), formerly World Wildlife Fund to reduce consumption of energy. It lets us experience what it is like to reduce our use of energy and see how it affects our lives. It makes us more thankful for the energy we have and the ability to use it. But how does it square with Catholic thinking?

Looking at all the evidence points to the fact that Earth Hour is something Catholics can be proud to participate in, as long as they keep certain things in mind. The Vatican has been at the forefront of promoting conservation and policies which are beneficial to the Earth. It even sponsored an international conference on climate change to address the issues. Pope Benedict XVI has been very active in promoting proper stewardship of the Earth in a way that is sustainable to future generations.

Pope Benedict is especially concerned with how the environment has a major impact on poor countries and people and says that we share in our solidarity with others by helping the environment. The Pontiff said "In dialogue with Christians of various churches, we need to commit ourselves to caring for the created world, without squandering its resources, and sharing them in a cooperative way."

Many monasteries and churches were built on beautiful grounds with lots of nature around. There is a sense of peace that comes from nature. I remember hearing about a monastery that was built on a desolate swamp. Nobody would dare live there because it was so inhospitable. But this did not deter the monks who went there. They spent years working the land and promoting healthy and environmental ways to improve the situation. They were very successful and soon every type of wildlife and plant life was growing and it became a beautiful paradise on Earth.

We should have the same mentality when we approach the environment. We should appreciate God's work in nature and spend time there to be with God. But we should not go too far.We as Catholics understand that the Earth is here for us and that we are the pinnacle of God's creation.

We ought to enjoy and share the nature that God has provided us. We should not feel unworthy to be on this Earth or feel as though we are simply a nuissance or a pest on the Earth. While we treasure the planet, we must remember to keep things in perspective. Every child is a gift, therefore the Earth can never be overpopulated. We thank God for all his gifts, but especially our own lives and the lives of those around us. In the light of this most recent Earth Day, let us thank God for all the gifts he gives us.

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