‘The most curious of all ... lives are the human ones, because we can destroy, but also because we can decide not to destroy. The turtle does what she does, and magnificently. She can’t not do it, though, any more than the beaver can decide to take a break from building dams or the bee from making honey. But if the bird’s special gift is flight, ours is the possibility of restraint. We’re the only creature who can decide not to do something we’re capable of doing. That’s our superpower, even if we exercise it too rarely.
‘So, yes, we can wreck the Earth as we’ve known it, killing vast numbers of ourselves and wiping out entire swaths of other life—in fact … we’re doing that right now. But we can also not do that…
‘We have the tools (nonviolence chief among them) to allow us to stand up to the powerful and the reckless, and we have the fundamental idea of human solidarity that we could take as our guide…
‘Another name for human solidarity is love, and when I think about our world in its present form, that is what overwhelms me. The human love that works to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, the love that comes together in defense of sea turtles and sea ice and of all else around us that is good. The love that lets each of us see we’re not the most important thing on earth, and makes us okay with that…’
Bill McKibben, US environmentalist, author and journalist.
Image: Oldest known portrait [detail] of St. Francis of Assisi, the Benedictine Abbey of Subiaco, painted 1228-1229 shortly after his retreat there (1223–1224).
Photo by Parzi - own work based on Stfrancis.jpg from WikiCommons, Public Domain
In St Mary’s prayer cycle for May 2020, today we pray for all who support us in some way.
If you would like to contribute to these reflections, please do email Katherine Cox at email@example.com
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