April 23

Reflection

An ecological asceticism works to restore right relations between humankind and otherkind. Rather than the medieval construct of the hierarchy of being…ecological asceticism reconfigures that pyramid into a circle of life with human beings thoroughly interwoven with all other creatures, special in virtue of being conscious and free but utterly interdependent on others for their life. The prophetic response moves us to action on behalf of justice for the Earth. One stringent criterion must now measure the morality of our actions: whether or not these contribute to a sustainable Earth community. We need to respect life and resist the culture of death not only among humankind but also among other living creatures. In such ethical reflection, the great commandment to love your neighbor as yourself is extended to include all members of the community.
Elizabeth Johnson, Passion for God, Passion for the Earth

Prayer

O God, how wonderful are your works througfhout the earth

Action

Consider your attitude toward other living beings.  Think of how animals are treated in factory farms. Think of species that will never exist again because of human exploitation of their environments. Think of animals that are mistreated or thoughtlessly abandoned. Where do we need to revise our creation story?

Suggested Reading

For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.
Psalm 50:10-11 

It is God whom human beings know in every creature.
Hildegard of Bingen.

Our indifference or cruelty towards fellow creatures of this world sooner or later affects the treatment we mete out to other human beings. We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people. Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity.
Pope Francis

Animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren…the fruit of the creative action of the Holy Spirit and merit respect…as near to God as men are.
Pope John Paul II.

Every creature is a word of God and is a book about God.
Miester Eckhart

Animals have done us no harm and they have no power of resistance.…There is something so very dreadful…in tormenting those who have never harmed us, who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power.
Cardinal John Henry Newman

Let us remember that animals are not mere resources for human consumption. They are splendid beings in their own right, who have evolved alongside us as co-inheritors of all the beauty and abundance of life on this planet.
Marc Bekoff

Because we have viewed other animals through the myopic lens of our self-importance, we have misperceived who and what they are. Because we have repeated our ignorance, one to the other, we have mistaken it for knowledge. Tom Regan

Animals, as part of God’s creation, have rights which must be respected. It behooves us always to be sensitive to their needs and to the reality of their pain.
Dr. Donald Coggan

I care not much for a man’s religion whose dog or cat are not better for it.
Abraham Lincoln

 

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