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Healing of the earth

Opinion

At the Chapter meetings of our Religious Congregation of Sisters, the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, I heard voices proclaiming the continued need for us to be mindful of our earth as we care for the environment. I heard voices also that proclaimed that people are looking for a sense of inner freedom in their lives and long for others to care for their plight.

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Through my experience with people as I meet and journey with them, I hear voices of a traumatic life and experiences which leave them feeling abandoned even when they have people around them, I hear voices which tell of the need to quash their feelings  through the abuse of drugs, I hear voices of people who have been abused, of people who are trying to make ends meet. In recent days and months, we have all heard the voices and seen the images of the destruction of the bushfires.

More and more, my reflections lead me to hear and see within the need for the healing of the earth and its people.

This is something, I believe, that we can all aspire to being part of whatever our capacity physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically or spiritually and whatever our culture or creed.

We can attest to the diverse ways people have united once again to assist others in the midst of the bushfires – the magnificent work of the firefighters on the ground, the emergency coordinators, workers and support of the effort, the comforters through the listening ear, the practical support of food and shelter and the neighbour who has left all to assist the other in need nearby. We also grieve with those who have lost loved ones and friends, livelihoods, homes, livestock and animals and who are the ones to face the euthanising of their stock or wildlife.

We grieve with them, nearby or from a distance; we offer our compassion and sense of care for their plight which, in essence, is the plight of us all. We are a nation in mourning for our earth and its people. We are a nation in which we can see the great resilience of our people – the resilience of those who have suffered loss and of those who support them. In fact, other people’s loss is our loss too.  Other people’s strength can be our strength too.

Whatever our culture, creed or stance in life, we can all partake in the healing of the earth and its people in whatever way we are called to or inspired within our hearts. For those who do not have the physical capacity to help, we can be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters and pray for their wellbeing in whatever is to come their way in further losses or recovery.

In my reflections, I am becoming more certain that the healing of the earth and its people in whatever way we are able, be it through our gifts and skills, financial and practical support, care of the environment and care of people is the way to unite in our common humanity in our day and age.

This, I believe, is attainable from the young infant who learns to look after their space to the aged who can offer their life, infirmities and prayer for others in need, and from the humble worker who strives to make ends meet to the law and policymakers of our society.

From the diverse experiences and stance of our lives, let us assure each other that we, in whatever way we can, will unite and continue to unite in the mission of the healing of the earth and its people.

Sr Jenny Seal fdnsc is a consultant with the Family and Parish-Based Catechesis Office.

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