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Joy from Gifts Received

[caption id="attachment_5732" align="alignright" width="233"] Blog by Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP[/caption] Last week as I was getting my steps in at a Big Lots store (it was too cold to walk outside), I realized that our hanging suet cage and bird feeder had been empty for some time, so I bought a new suet cake and some wild bird seed. My tardy gifts for the outdoor birds remained unvisited for several days. I knew that sometimes it takes a few days for the word to pass among the neighborhood birds where new food supplies have opened up, so daily checked on them from our kitchen window. Days past. As our temperatures stayed in the single digits and dropped to below zero, I thought it probably was too cold for even the winter birds to venture out for food. But one frigid morning I saw a chickadee high on a branch cracking and eating a sunflower seed, then dropping down to the feeder for more. Soon a few more chickadees and sparrows were taking turns at the suet cage and the birdfeeder. I rejoiced to see these dear creatures at last receiving and enjoying my gifts.   Relishing the joy that sprung up in me as I watched them, I recalled how lavishly God spreads out gifts upon gifts for all of us creatures, and wondered if God waits and rejoices when we receive them. And rejoices even more when we acknowledge the Creator, and express our appreciation and gratitude. It has taken billions and billions of years (according to Earth’s measuring of time) since the Big Bang, for life to emerge on this planet and for our human species to be capable of reflecting, knowing and responding to our Creator in freedom and love. I imagine God not just waiting patiently for this relationship to develop, but actively and attentively guiding every element, particle, molecule, atom, etc. into life and consciousness. Can you imagine God’s joy the moment the universe became conscious of itself, of creation, and its Creator--in us? Pope Francis in Laudato Si says: “... the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.” Besides contemplating the world and nature with gladness and praise, he calls us to take the next step, to care for our common home, and adds: “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications…It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”  --Laudato Si #25 As Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates, we commit ourselves to “Foster God’s web of life personally, communally and ministerially by advocating and supporting just policies and decisions to reduce the impact of global climate change.” “We believe that environmental issues and justice issues are intertwined elements of how we are called to relate to God’s creation both in human form and in the Earth community. Eco-justice asserts that it is not possible to care for the Earth without also caring for humanity and that seeking human justice must involve care for the environment. Therefore care for creation is part of our work for peace.”-- Eco-justice Statement of the Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace What action steps flow from your joy, appreciation, praise and gratitude for all God’s gifts?

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