You know those nesting Russian dolls? They could be an image for the coming special days that nest within the Season of Care for Creation (9/1 – 10/4) — that nests within the Year of Mercy — that nests into the larger religious and then climactic seasons — that fit into Earth’s story, going back 4 1/2 billion years. Earth’s story, and that of our entire vast universe, nests within the largest “container” — our Universe Story as we know it, extending over the past 13.8 billion years and, of course, whatever comes next into the future.
Starting with single days or weekends, here are a few times to “keep holy” with others throughout the world so that our interconnected planet can create a thriving Ecozoic Era. Cf. ecozoictimes.com/what-is-the-ecozoic/what-does-ecozoic-mean.
Sept. 12 is Eid al Adha, the day Muslims celebrate Ibrahim’s being told by God to sacrifice an animal instead of his son. Muslims start the day with a morning prayer and then exchange gifts and food among family and friends, but they are required to share their food and money with the poor before taking part in the celebrations. Good policy!
On Sept. 15, Christians remember Our Lady of Sorrows. Michelangelo’s iconic statue of Mary holding the body of her son is replayed way too often in today’s world. The image to the right applies to the 15th as well as to other days commemorated during the Season of Care for Creation.
Sept. 16 is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. One of the best things about this day is that global action is making a difference: the ozone hole is being reduced, thus probably decreasing incidents of sunburn, skin cancer, cataracts, damage to plants, and reduction of plankton populations in the ocean caused by increased UV exposure caused by ozone depletion.
September 19th is the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants, to be held at the United Nations headquarters. President Obama and other world leaders will attend in an attempt to strengthen governance of international migration and a unique opportunity for creating a more responsible and consistent system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants.
Sept. 21, the International Day for Peace established by the United Nations in 1981, marks a day devoted to ending conflict and promoting peace. This year’s theme is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” It’s a reminder that “If you want peace, work for justice,” as Pope Paul VI reminded us on the Vatican’s annual Peace Day, January 1, 1972. Cf. International Day of Peace website.
Sept. 22 is the Autumn and Spring Equinox, the astronomical event in which day and night are of approximately equal duration. Those in the North transition from summer to autumn; those in the South transition from winter into spring. This provides an excellent opportunity not just to welcome a “new” season, but to remember, in awe, that we are an integral part of a planet circling our star, the sun.
Sept. 23 is Native American Day in the United States, honoring the first people to populate what became our nation. If ever people had reason to fear immigrants and refugees, it was surely this population of the entire American continent. With some exceptions and for various reasons, the first explorers and settlers treated them very badly. While promises are too often still broken, on Sept. 9th the Obama administration delayed the Dakota Access Pipeline and pledged “to revisit the whole way in which the government interacts with Indian Tribes on major projects.” Thanks to all who sent petitions!
The last weekend in September (Sept. 24-25) is the Weekend of Prayer and Fasting for Victims of Human Trafficking. Cf. my 9/9/15 blog: https://ecospiritualityresources.com/tag/human-trafficking (but update the dates) and 12/31/15: https://ecospiritualityresources.com/2014/12/31/5-ways-to-reduce...
On Sept. 27, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan brought by industry and state attorneys general. Confidential documents “reveal a sustained pattern of collusion between the fossil fuel industry and the Republican attorneys general on climate change obstructionism,” said Nick Surgey, Center for Media and Democracy. Cf. www.newyorker.com/…/what-exxon-knew-about-climate-change.
Oct. 3 is World Habitat Day. The United Nations’ (UN) World Habitat Day is annually celebrated on the first Monday of October to reflect on the state of human settlements and people’s right to sufficient shelter. It also aims to remind people that they are responsible for the habitat of future next generations.
Needless to say, we must all continue to care for creation, for peace, for trafficking victims, for adequate habitats (especially for the increasing number of migrants and refugees throughout the world) that fit within the Season of Care for Creation — which belongs in the Year of Mercy, and eventually all the rest.
Pope Francis recently proposed adding the care of creation to the traditional list of corporal and spiritual works of mercy. As a spiritual work of mercy, the pope said, care for creation requires “a grateful contemplation of God’s world,” while as a corporal work, it calls for “simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness.” In Laudato Si’ and many reflections since, Pope Francis urges everyone to understand and to practice “integral ecology.”
By incorporating mercy for creation into our everyday lives, we can contribute positively to ALL the “dolls”!