We are not ever alone, especially during a moment of crisis.

Quote of the Day: Irish-American poet Saint Brian Doyle once wrote that “I have never thought that prayers of request can be answered; I do not think that is the way of Mercy; yet we do whisper prayers of supplication; I think we always have, since long before our species arrived in this form. Sometimes I think that beings have been praying since there were beings; I suspect that all beings of every sort do pause and revere occasionally…”

Commentary: Some ...

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All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and amended by silence, and silence is the consecration of the universe.

Quote of the Day: When Herman Melville reminded us that “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and amended by Silence, and Silence is the consecration of the universe,” he may have been out at sea, chasing whales, or in the solitude of his writer’s desk next to a fireplace, chasing dreams.

Commentary: Now many of those around us—and perhaps all of you reading this as well—are dealing with a degree of enforced solitude, with more silence all around ...

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How does the soundscape around you express what is happening on this planet?

Quote of the Day: In Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, she makes the most remarkable comparison about the kinds of music in our world, “It was reassuring to know that far away, whales swim [and sing] in Baltic waters, and monks in arcane times zones chanted ceaselessly for the salvation of the world.”

Commentary:  My late great friend, Richard Nelson of Alaska, called this Earth we lived nestled within the Singing Planet. Whenever I wake up and go outside, I hear the ...

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What ways can you be part of volunteers to offer others help, in ways that enrich your life?

Quote of the day: My good friend Native American biologist Robin Wall Kimmerer offered this wisdom with regard to our current crisis: “When times are easy and there’s plenty to go around, individual species can go it alone. But when conditions are harsh and life is tenuous, it takes a team sworn to reciprocity to keep life going forward.”

Commentary:  Times are not easy for the poorest of the poor, the elderly, and many others in our midst. They are invisible ...

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How many times do you get the balance right in consumption of food, fuel, materials, and other stuff?

Quote of the day: In Mark Van Steenwyk’s delightful parable about St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio, A Wolf at the Gate, Sister Wolf asks Francis, “Beggar King, why do some people eat big meals while other eat small meals…and still others rarely eat anything at all? The cows and pigs eat far better than many of the beggars on the street?” Francis the Beggar King replies, “Some people eat big meals because their hearts are empty. Some people ...

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What can you do to tear down such silos and see the world afresh?

Quote of the day: In his caring for creation encyclical, Pope Francis suggests that “We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationship with other people.”

Commentary: It has struck me as both ironic and sad that the Laudato Si encyclical fell on deaf ears both among some Catholics and even some Franciscans, as if one more prophet was not welcomed in his own ...

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Order of Ecumenical Franciscans for the House Committee on Appropriations and its Subcommittee on Homeland Security

March 23, 2020

RE:  Written Testimony for FY 2021 Appropriations

VIA email at MC.Approp.@mail.house.gov

 

Dear Chairwoman Shultz, Ranking Member Carter and Members of the Committee:

 

I am writing to ask that you rescind all Department of Defense and Treasury funds for building more of the border wall.

 

My name is Gary Paul Nabhan and I am an Ecumenical Franciscan Brother who has lived and worked on the U.S./Mexico border as a seasonal park ranger, farmer, conservational biologist and facilitator ...

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Ask yourself, whether you regard our home, our planet, as sacred or secular?

Quote of the day: When Gaylord Nelson announced in the fall of 1969 that he would sponsor a national or global holiday the next spring to honor the Earth itself, he was surprised by the universal response, “The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern for what was happening to the lands, rivers, lakes and air—and they did so with spectacular exuberance.”

Commentary: Senator Nelson could not have predicted ...

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If fear is a disease, tranquility and contemplative silence are the cures. Turn the uncertainty into a gift.

Quote of the day: In Richard Hedrick’s recent poem, Lockdown, we hear the contemplative voice emerge out of the pandemic of fear and chaos:

Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation.Yes there is panic buying. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death.

But, they say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise, you can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet, the sky is no ...

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In your imagination, remember the very first place you felt scared, and care for it.

Quote of the day: “What I stand for is what I stand on,” poet-farmer Wendell Berry once quipped. Or is it just a quip, a minimalist aphorism?  Is it instead all-encompassing if you take it for all its dimensions?

Commentary: The great Jewish scholar and theologian of the prophets, Abraham Joshua Heschel once contrasted religions that are deeply rooted in place with the more universal, cosmopolitan ones that have become placeless, able to be practiced anywhere, somewhere or nowhere. Saint Francis ...

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As you walk along your path, contrast your fears with your hopes…

Quote of the day: African-American environmental activist and coalition leader Carl Anthony was once asked how he felt about what the environmental movement has failed to achieve. His answer surprised me: “I’m actually a bit of an optimist about all this…I believe that there are changes that take a long time to come to fruition but when they happen, they are big. Right now, the biggest challenge that we’re facing is global warming and climate change. But [the current demographic ...

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Indigenous Religious Freedom Violations Abound at the U.S.-Mexico Border Barriers

This last year, we have palpably felt a heightened level of traumatic stress pervasive in the Indigenous communities where all three of us have worked on both sides of the international boundary. Throughout our adult lives, we have provided educational opportunities, technical assistance, and land rights advocacy strategies within the many Indigenous communities that live within 100 miles or so from the U.S.-Mexico border. But now, we see the bridges that we have worked to build across the border threatened. ...

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We need an Earth Keepers Movement as diverse as life itself!

Quote of the day: Civil rights activist Dana Alston once noted that “people of color have gathered together not in reaction to the environmental movement, but rather to reaffirm their traditional connection to and respect for the natural world.”

Commentary: Each culture on this face of this earth has a different gift or charism to offer the environmental movement. It has a different way of praying for threatened lives, and blessing those who have survived and been restored or revived. We ...

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What if we as a society actually embraced an expansive vision of what just the world should look like?

Quote of the day: My friend, Carolinian poet Nickole Brown has A Prayer to Talk to Animals that ends with this phrase: “I want to open my mouth and sound a language that calls all language home.”

Commentary: It is curious to me that the goals of the first Earth Day were about inclusiveness, to listen to both threatened animals and marginalized peoples. The daughter of ED Founder Gaylord Nelson put it this way: “My father’s original vision was of an ...

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Go out and listen/talk with a person of another race, culture, gender or creed about how environmental issues are of concern to them.

Quote of the day: In 1991, African-American activists Dana Alston and Benjamin Chavis, Jr. brought 300 African, Asian, Latino and Native American leaders together for the first National People of Color Environmental Leadership Conference. There at the event, Dana Alston noted that “people of color have gathered not in reaction to the environmental movement, but rather to reaffirm their traditional connection to and respect for the natural world.”

Commentary: While Franciscan Orders and environmental organizations in the US remain primarily populated ...

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Food from the Radical Center: Healing Our Lands & Communities – Dr. Gary Nabhan

Streaming live from the Barrows Lecture Series at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 7:00-9:00 PM (ET)

Gary Nabhan is an ethnobiologist, nature writer, and world expert on the people, plants and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert. A recipient of a MacArthur “genius award,” Nabhan was honored by Utne Reader in 2011 as one of several visionaries whose work is making the world a better place in which to live. In his career Gary has served as ...

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Imagine a solution that brings that place back to health for the benefit of a multi-racial community.

Quote of the Day: Earth Day founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson, proposed that “our goal is not just an environment of clean air, water, and scenic beauty while forgetting about the worst environments in America. Our goal is for an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all human beings, and all other living creatures.”

Commentary: The values expressed in this mission statement by Senator Nelson echo the values of St. Francis of Assisi, who saw no dualism between care for ...

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Go out and assure everything broken in your world that your love has not been withdrawn.

Quote of the day: Poet Adam Zagajewski asks us to “try to praise a mutilated world,” … which frankly, is the only blessed world we have. We too are broken, and our relationship with the earth is torn and tattered.

Commentary: How do embrace our own broken-ness and that of the landscapes and communities we live within? We shed our disappointments, our romantic notions of virgin land and noble people, and we accept the gifts we are given, however worn and ...

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Indigenous group reaffirms importance of Quitobaquito Springs amid border wall construction

“We who live near the border are blessed the Hia c-ed O’odham and Tohono O’odham have never abrogated or surrendered their rights to practice their spiritual traditions at sacred sites in the Sonoran Desert on or near the international boundary that cut their homeland in half. We pray that the groundwater pumping to build the border wall will not further dry up the freshwater springs and sacred and medicinal plants that O’odham elders speak of in this new radio program ...
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Where do you see sounds in the earth and its plant cover, as you saunter through your neighborhood?

Quote of the Day: Native American ecologist and restoration thinker Robin Wall Kimmerer reminds us that our business as usual way of thinking just won’t cut it: “There was a time— before we knew better— when we trusted that incremental ecological action would propel the collective shits we need.. The trouble is, we don’t have time.”

Commentary: That’s right: we don’t have time to heal the earth and ourselves but hurriedly purring on millions of little bandaids, as if the “woulda” ...

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