Letter from doc. regarding our responsibility to the environment by Canadian catholic bishops 2003
The Beauty and grandeur of nature touches each one of us.
From panoramic vistas to the tiniest living form, nature is a constant source of wonder and awe.
It is also a continuing revelation of the Divine .
I've had this post sitting here trying to get done for literally weeks !
I've no computer again so it is very hard to do my own writing on someone else's but I really felt I should get this done as it is soon to be Earth day and the feast day of Blessed Kateri .
Kateri is said to be one of the saints of the environment !
My confirmation name is Kateri Therese after two beloved soul sisters who like myself had a great love of God within His creation .
Many of you know my connection with nature and this is where I most often am in union with God .
When I am truly being me more often then not it is within nature using what has been given naturally .
So much has been lost in respect to people connecting and being at one with Creator within Creation . Rather people seem to have tried to make a separation .
Look upon how many great saints and holy people did connect with God via the elements and actually wrote about them in connection to the spiritual .
ST. Hildagard , ST.Brigid , look at all those crazy saints who were hermits ! San Charbel etc. look at all the saints who literally talked to animals and yes plants too . God talking through us with them .
Look how many saints , monks etc. who worked with herbs and it is a gift that information was given on which plant to use for what .
My ds 23 who is a chef told me that he watched the Jamie Oliver show and how this famous chef was so excited to go visit a monastery in Italy because of course these monasteries are famous for the knowledge of healthy , living , cooking and herbal use etc. well when he arrived what a dismay ! The place was in shambles and the talents of cooking were not what had been expected . Of course there are still great monasteries such we have here the Trappists who make the famous cheese and preserves
there are even monastery cookbooks !
Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake - Sitting Bull
some of you who follow this blog know I have been writing again about catholic culture and specifically aboriginal catholic culture . I also find it wonderful to now honour God locally . I need not use roman statues , or incense from the middle east !
I am quite at home honouring God in the natural surroundings He gave us .
You know my aboriginal name is now strongtree woman .
most people think an aboriginal name has some deep hidden meaning and at times it does and is very spiritual but for the most part it is not it is just a name given to the person for something they may have experienced at that time . people may have several names throughout our lives as well. I wrote about the native American gardening book by buffalo bird woman last yr. well she gives the example of a name being given . one may have been out walking or fishing and a bird sat in the tree next to you . someone may say oh there is bird in the tree woman . there is your new name . other times an elder may have a dream about your name and give you a new name .
My name is due to my working mostly with trees and as I do this I become a stronger me ☺
did you know my most loved reading from the bible is
when I read that reading I saw my true home and it of course made perfect sense to me , the trees of life giving all that we need for living & healing .
Most people use the book of revelation for scaring people , it is not that at all it is the most beautiful book reminding us of our most beautiful home and it is all such beautiful free love no fear what so ever is attached to that !
Yesterday we went to a museum to learn about the maple syrup production within the trees was this statue of Momma Mary
I pray the 7 directions each morning . I like to do this most at the beach with the new day sun .
I always smudge with sage . Can you believe I am almost out of sage !!
I first used to pray the 4 directions as we do in church to honour God and the peoples in the 4 directions of the world represented also by the 4 colours .
However when studying the catechism with Nicholas Black Elk I became aware of the need to pray the seven directions . This is how I pray
I first turn in clockwise position to make a circle and ask the Holy Spirit to protect me this day in golden light . ( Fr. taught me to do this each day )
I also begin each direction with the sage stick smudging the sign of the cross in the air .
In the east I pray to Jesus may He renew me with His His true light and bless me as the new day sun shines upon my face . I then ask ST.Gabriel to continue to help me to receive His loving message so I may in turn share His message in His name
I turn to the South I thank God my Creator for the gift of life , I ask Him to keep me fuerte like the sun of the south and my ancestors before me . I then pray to ST.Michael to keep me protected and continue to teach me His loving protecting ways so I may in turn protect others in His name
I then turn to the west, I thank my heavenly mother and mother of all the earth to help me to rest and be calm as the setting sun of the west . I ask her to help be to be strong and wise as the great cedar . I then pray to ST.Raphael to please help be to continue to be open to accepting His healing and continue to teach me His healing ways so I may help others heal in His name
I then turn to the north .The north always reminds me of the holy spirit ☺
I pray that the Holy Spirit cleanse me with pure light and help me to become pure like the snow of the great white north .
I ask my guardian angel to help me to continue to follow the light and be a light to others so they may come to be one with our Lord in His name
I then pray to the spirit above & below as He is all around . I then ask for myself in the center to be blessed
that I be true to self I was created to be .
this 7 directions only takes me about a minute each morning before I get dressed and is an excellent way to start the day .
I love and value these sacred prayer spaces so much
it is not the where though that makes a place holy it is in our worshiping God that a space becomes holy or not . I can say a prayer and connect with Him looking at a little beautiful weed coming up through the crack in the sidewalk outside 7/11 and my space becomes holy . I want people to know this so they are never truly alone unless we choose to forget it .
I really want to try and put together a natural catechism for people to use gifts from their own communities. My grandfather did this in his teachings , for example the story of the multiplying of fish or stories of fish he'd take the children out fishing and they'd cook the fish wrapped in clay baked over the fire as they talked .
This reminds me of the early stories of Pope JP II
Not everyone learns in the European way via workbooks and the written word for that matter .
the fire is also a very sacred special prayer element for many people . I always love to think of ST.Brigid & the fire . How back then it was a most valuable element and very important element to keep going but also this fire became sacred because the fire to her represented that light the true light which is God .
How many people misinterpret and how many have been misunderstood and even killed when they in fact were very devote holy people . sister Eva reminded us last weekend that Joan of Arc was indeed one of these people .
I am going to write later on my other blog about the abusive ways and how indeed many people who have been close to God via nature have been persecuted be they pagan or christian .
would God ask me to burn horrid jet fuels to receive francincesne or use what was naturally given here .
when my ex passed away 2 yrs ago I felt called to line the pine coffin with cedar. well sister told us that for the aboriginal peoples in the north of Ontario they did use cedar branches for that and cedar oil to cleanse the body ! Do you know whenever I am asked to go pick cedar it is always in regards to cleansing a soul for preparing for passing ! Often right along with San Charbel , who you guessed it loved the cedars of Lebanon ☺
I do love to incorporate the gifts of nature in all my altars and sacred spaces
they change with the seasons
I tend to be a sucker for statues because I am such a visual person . I love looking at pleasing things . Yet I felt very very not right with buying these plastic statues or ones that yes once again traveled across the ocean to arrive here to please me .
I was out at my mother's place a few summers ago. I was collecting an old willow which had fallen over . Willow is known to represent the feminine and also does in fact medicinally help with female reproductive issues etc. while collecting this tree. I had a beautiful vision of a group of all my girlfriends in a groove of willow trees singing under the moon . I thought to myself it is like a womb , ever so comforting and beautiful . I said aloud " the womb of willow " I looked down at the piece of willow I had and saw this is Momma Mary . it is in a way a very contemporary piece of art or could it be a very traditional piece of art .
Some of you know that I am so very connected with the seasons etc. that I also struggled all my life with waking with the full moon . well it was only after learning that many religious people do indeed get up and pray in very early morning and in fact 100's of yrs ago many would have been in tune with the moon . in fact our Easter is always the Sunday after the fullmoon !
so when I learned of religious sisters waking at 3 am to pray . what shall I do instead of tossing and turning with the moon ?
Get up and pray . This is why I call it the fullmoon rosary !
I have since started a group with all my girlfriends , the womb of willow . we gab have tea and usually make some type of crafty thing .
We are from all denominations but I have also said that after 11pm I pray the rosary and if anyone wishes to stay they can and join in.
This moon I am dedicating the rosary to the healing of Lake Winnipeg and as it is also Blessed Kateri's feast day I shall most certainly ask for her extra special intercession .
I encourage the kids to always Thank God for the gift of all creation . If we find sickly trees etc. we try and do prayers and bless the area .
You know one of the most beautiful scenes I saw was on APTN a show about the Dene . There was an elderly couple who were taking people with addictions through a walk in the woods .It was a very old traditional aboriginal walking trail from one community to another . The walk took many many days . They had to hunt , fish , prepare camp each day. It helps people see there is more to life and that real survival is very basic at times.
What was so very beautiful was not only the dedication to help others heal but also their deep faith . They stopped each day at 2pm to kneel in the bush to pray the rosary . God's church right there . all around us .
I think it is so very sad how most people wish to label others He has created to keep this creation clean as non christian or bad Christians etc.
If you have a chance watch the nature of things show about elephants in Kenya
what made me so very sad in watching the show was to hear the story of one of the men who is a worker with these orphaned elephants . He had been in the seminary to become a priest but left to work with the elephants . When you watch him this is his gift it is of God ! it is like when you hear Aaron Neville sing it is not just singing it is of God. what is so very sad about this man with the elephants is no one told him he could very well be a priest who is called to work with elephants ! he could be called to be both ! do the people with him not need a priest ? I thought of the Jesuit who told our ds a priest can also be a teacher , a doctor , a clown , a farmer .
so why not a priest who works with elephants !
there are many who are chirstian and feel so disconnected from Him especially in regards to nature . In fact many are afraid of the natural world .
I like to give people the example , when we read the story of Genesis or even within other religions the story of creation . what did God choose to create first ? man ? woman ? nope !
day , night , watery , land , birds , fish , beasts etc. . why ? because it is our first and true gift . it is what was given to sustain us !
so when we are given a gift , say , look at our children , what are we do to with that gift ? hit it , pull stuff out of it , kill it ?
No we are to care for it , respect it , tend to it so production of fruit continues .
Look at breastfeeding . what if a new baby is cut off from that gift of food which is given naturally to sustain life . ? We die . plain and simple . So the gift of what sustains us is not to be abused and wrecked and used for all we can get out and thrown away dead .
We are to tend it , love it , care for it . This is honouring God in the most beautiful way loving and respecting the gifts we have been given .
for all I love great arcitechture I am most at home in the small little places .
It is also the most beautiful mass when celebrated outdoors !
I love the small cemeteries and can spend hrs just walking and praying here .
a few books I have been reading this Lenten season which have many writings from people who had such a great love of nature are
I also love love the book The Way of The Saints by Tom Cowan because it offers many insights into saints who were hermits and connected to God via nature
For me Earth day can become a very holy day for us as we give thanks and honour God by showing respect for the great and beautiful gift of merely one part of His creation the Earth ☺