St. Kateri, Mother Earth, and Unity

His dew is a dew of light.  The land of shades gives birth. (see Isaiah 26:19)

Anyone remember when the pope canonized the Lily of the Mohawks, proclaiming her Saint Kateri?  I’ll give you a hint:  Pope Benedict XVI did it…  Not that long ago…  During the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization…  October 21, 2012.

The task of summarizing that synod wound up falling to Pope Francis.  Let’s listen to paragraph 276 of his exhortation to us, The Joy of the Gospel:

Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force. Often it seems that God does not exist: all around us we see persistent injustice, evil, indifference and cruelty. But it is also true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit. On razed land, life breaks through, stubbornly yet invincibly. However dark things are, goodness always re-emerges and spreads. Each day in our world beauty is born anew, it rises transformed through the storms of history…human beings have arisen time after time from situations that seemed doomed. Such is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelize are instruments of that power.

This fallen world is a land of shades.  Sometimes a kind-of hot land of shades.  But a land where the shadow of death falls.  “Land of shades” means:  the place where the shadow of death falls.  And that is:  planet earth.

pope-francis_2541160kBut earth gives birth!  One of the themes of our Holy Father’s encyclical on the environment is:

The environmental crisis we face forces us to re-examine the meaning of life.  It forces us to recognize that we have received the earth as a gift from God, precisely as Jesus taught us and showed us. And the crisis makes us remember that we have one basic task:  to hand this gift on to the next generation safe and intact.

Of course this makes us think of the first nations of our continent.  They knew better than we do how to love Mother Earth.  At St. Kateri’s canonization, Pope Benedict prayed to her, asking her to re-invigorate the spread of the gospel among the native peoples of America, and among all the inhabitants of this land.

The witness of the saints’ lives shows us a profound, beautiful, and hopeful truth:  Different peoples can and do come together through true religion.  The religion of Jesus can bridge every racial, cultural, and generational divide.

This week every political leader and their brother have said pious things about the different groups and factions of our nation “coming together.”  May Jesus bring us together!  He is the One Who truly can do so.


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