Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Sept. 3, 2023

Reflection for Sept. 3, 2023

For the love of Mother Earth

What can we deny ourselves  to help heal our planet?

by Sister Sally Ann Brickner

The Season of Creation (Sept. 1 to Oct. 4) is the window through which we view this Sunday’s readings from Sacred Scripture.

This summer, the news about climate events has been relentless. Humans (and other species) have been suffering from extremes in weather. Record-breaking heat, devastating fires, extreme drought, unprecedented rainfall. Climate change, brought on by human activity, underlies the intensity and frequency of these events, scientists say. We must urgently act to halt emissions of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, and rapidly transition to clean energy sources.

Pope Francis chose a line from the prophet Amos as the theme for this year’s ecumenical Season of Creation: “Let justice flow on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” (5:24). Amos proclaimed God’s justice to the Israelites, urging them to be faithful to God’s covenant. In the Sacred Scripture for Sunday we hear the prophet Jeremiah tell of his weariness as God’s messenger, but also how the message burned within him.

Perhaps, like Jeremiah, we grow weary of proclaiming: “Let us care for our Sister Mother Earth!” We hear people deny the relationship between extreme weather and climate change. They deride and ridicule us for recommending changes in our choices and lifestyle. Do we then, like Jeremiah, say to ourselves:

We give up! We can’t speak about it anymore.
We will no longer cry out about creation care.

But then concern for Sister Mother Earth . . .

“becomes like fire burning in our hearts, imprisoned in our bones;
We grow weary holding it in, we cannot endure it.”
We must speak out! We must act!

With St. Paul, we offer our bodies as “a willing sacrifice” for the good of Mother Earth. We willingly deny ourselves and take up the cross of creation care. We reject a consumerist lifestyle. We choose to walk contemplatively, praising God for the bounteous gifts of sun, wind, water, and soil. We accept persecution by others when we relentlessly lift our voices about what we can do, what we must do for the love of Mother Earth.

Let us not count the cost but rather enter fully into this Season of Creation and its call to ecological conversion. In Laudato Si’ (Art. 220), Pope Francis shares the attitudes and changes within ourselves that can result from an ecological conversion. Its fruits will be evident in our: 

  • gratitude and gratuitousness (recognition that the world is God’s loving gift)
  • generosity in self-sacrifice and good works
  • loving awareness of a universal communion with the rest of creation
  • greater creativity and enthusiasm in resolving the world’s climate problems
  • responsible care of Sister Mother Earth based on faith


09/01/2023 8:54 am

Yes, so very well-written, Sally. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 29, I stopped along the shores of the Bay at Communiversity Park, on Nicolet Drive. It was a very windy and overcast day. The waters were being pushed into the rocky shore with a certain amount of strength. The waves kept coming with a certain amount of power. It was quite an exhilarating experience, as sprinkles of rain blew upon me, too.

And then I thought of Florida, and the urgent warnings about Hurricane Idalia approaching. And I thought of JESUS walking on the waves to reach the frightened apostles in their fishing boat. And there actually was one fishing boat far out that I was keeping a watchful eye on.

With every wind gust, I welcomed the Holy Spirit, and asked Holy Spirit - and JESUS - to be with the winds and storm of Idalia, and to be with the people, the families, the children. And it just all seemed so very 'moving' to me. Not only were the winds and waves 'moving,' but I felt certain, too, that Holy Spirit is moving within and among us to bring much needed healing and care upon Our One Shared Mother-Sister Earth.

And for that I praised and thanked God.

And now I praise and thank God that both Pope Francis and Sister Sally Ann are calling to our attention the great need to PAY ATTENTION to Our One Shared Mother-Sister Earth.

Yes, even the winds and waves obey the One Voice that speaks inside our hearts, as well as into the deep recesses of our minds. Might we listen well.

"The environment is on loan to each generation, which must then hand it on to the next." [LS 159]

Josie Gobel
09/01/2023 9:07 am

I will share this. Will I get a daily meditation during the Season of Creation?

FROM THE SISTERS: Josie, here's a link to the sign-up page:

09/01/2023 9:20 am

Thank you for this wonderful commentary Sally Ann. Finally, someomne is telling it like it really is!!!!!!!

Cheryl Mueller
09/01/2023 9:51 am

Sally Ann, thank you for the affirmation and encouragement for those of us who listen seriously to Mother Earth. It is difficult witnessing so much waste in our society.

Irene Whatley
09/01/2023 10:43 am

I will add an extra prayer during this time for Sister Mother Earth..

09/01/2023 10:50 am

Very appropriate we enter the Season of Creation.

Debra Haven
09/01/2023 11:07 am

Thank you very much for this Love of Mother Earth reflection. You have sorted out the reality which we all face each day. What can we do? You have given us 5 positive and powerful suggestions. The one that resonates with me is generosity in self-sacrifice and good works!

Walt Dauska
09/01/2023 11:55 am

Very Good

Rev. William J. Jacobs, Jr.
09/02/2023 6:01 am

Sister's quotes and summaries were outstanding. Bravo, Sister! Great Job!

Debbie Tahany
09/02/2023 12:01 pm

Thanks Sr. Sally Ann! With drought-like conditions in Madison all summer, realities of our not caring for the earth are hitting close to home.

Diann Wimmer
09/03/2023 1:39 pm

Excellent reflection on the reading from Jeremiah. It is so appropriate for today.

Thank you for your prayer and message.

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