Gratitude for the bounty of God’s Creation
To the Editor:
This Earth Day is a good time to start cultivating a sense of gratitude for God’s creation. We can be grateful not only for its beauty but also for how the Earth provides for us. Our very existence relies on the air that we breathe, the water that we drink and the soil that provides us food to eat.
Jesus says, “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8). When we are aware that we have received a gift, we will feel motivated to give a gift in return. In this case, gratitude for the bounty of God’s Creation should make us want to preserve it for the benefit of future generations.
The fate of people and the planet are intertwined. Perhaps no single issue highlights this concept of “integral ecology,” as Pope Francis calls it, better than climate change. Burning fossil fuels without regard to the long-term consequences is already harming ecosystems, such as coral reefs, and driving some species to extinction. It will also lead to more heat waves, crop losses, water shortages, coastal flooding and human conflict over the limited resources that are left. As the Earth suffers, so will we.
The good news is that several bills before Congress would begin to enact solutions to climate change. One small thing we can all do this Earth Day is to stop and appreciate God’s Creation. Watch the sunset. Take a walk in the woods. Learn about the prairie plants of Iowa. When you sit down for a meal, think about the sun, soil and water that contributed to the food you eat. When you do so, make sure you share your appreciation with others.
Gratitude is contagious, and a society that values our common home will one day work to protect it.