Reflection for Earth Day, April 22
For several years I was involved in ministry as a hospital chaplain. My role during this time was to be a listening, compassionate presence, to offer support, comfort and spiritual guidance when appropriate to the patients and their families who were struggling with issues of loss, grief and hopelessness.
I worked as part of the health care team of doctors, nurses, and other professionals to provide an essential dimension of care for the sick and wounded.
From those years of hospital chaplaincy as well as many more years of nursing service, I have learned that a very meaningful approach to healing is to focus on restoring the natural defence systems that each person has within themselves. The love and compassion of caregivers is essential to this healing as well.
Like the patients I attended, our Earth is wounded and suffering; she is suffering many losses due to human neglect and abuse of her natural resources. Since the dawn of the environmental movement, we have become increasingly aware of this tragedy and have tried different remedies to help improve her condition.
We have begun to treat this illness by developing such things as solar technology and hybrid cars and looked at our habits around consumption as preventative measures. Like the human body, the Earth body has built-in resources to keep itself in equilibrium.
As with the human body, Earth too needs to be cared for with compassion and love. If we love the Earth, we will care for it, and this means allowing the Earth’s inner resources to be restored. We do this in hope that the Earth will heal herself, and us as well.
The time is fast approaching when the Earth has moved beyond her ability to maintain wellness. A deeper healing is needed; a healing that expresses compassion and empathy. In the hospital, we would arrange a team conference of all professionals involved in caring for our patient to discuss the best approaches to help the healing process.
Our Earth needs everyone involved in her care – the entire global community – to come together to make the radical changes required to help heal our earthly home. I believe this is actually beginning to happen as consciousness of our “oneness”, our “inter-connectedness” is moving the hearts and souls of the people living in countries most affected by the imbalance.
I ask you: What healing would you offer to the Earth as a patient in your care? Is there a prayer or guidance you could offer the Earth body?
Here is my prayer for Earth Day:
O God, we thank you for this Earth, our home; for the wide sky and the blessed sun, the everlasting hills and the never-resting winds, for trees and running water. We thank you for our senses by which we hear the songs of birds, taste autumn fruits and smell the breath of spring.
Teach us to care for this home of ours, to appreciate the worth of each thing and to recognize that we are of the Earth and profoundly united with all creation .
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty; heal us from being so unaware that we pass unseeing when even the common thorn bush is aflame with your glory.
Sister Mary Mettler