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February 20, 1998     The Message
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February 20, 1998

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 ENTS of )ment which almost Very strong opin- and politics top areas of the the Middle the Far a few -- reli- in fact, two same conflict. these pro life vs. pro , smok- relations. one issue has the It's the skirmish called Hugged a tree lately? to protect the environment and those who are responsible for economic development. Both sides contend that what they do is for the good of humanity -- and both make strong cases for their positions. In this series of articles about Christian Stewardship, we often focus so intently on the traditional three stewardship "T's" -- Time, Talent and Trea- sure -- that we overlook one of the major responsibilities of a good steward: ecological stew- ardship. Listen to the U.S. Bish- ops, in their pastoral letter Stewardship -- a Disciple's Response: "All temporal and spiritual goods are created by and come from God .... spiri- tual gifts like faith, hope and love; talents of body and brain; cherished relationships with family and friends; material goods; the achievements of human genius and skill; the world itself. One day God will require an accounting of the use each person has made of the particular portion of these goods entrusted to him or her. "... stewardship of the world is expressed by jubilant appreci- includes responsible ecological of her new American friends ation of nature whose God- stewardship. Caring for the what her biggest impression of given beauty not even exploita- environment not only demon- the U.S. was. Without hesita- tion and abuse have destroyed, strates respect for our fellow tion, she said: "You people are .. Beyond simply appreciating creatures, it is, above all, evi- so wasteful." She went on to naturalbeauty, there is the active dence of our gratitude and explain, with great emotion, stewardship of ecological con- accountability to God. how appalled she was by the cern. Ecological stewardship In the best of all stewardship amount of trash Americans cre- means cultivating a heightened worlds, business and industry ate and how freely so many peo- sense of human interdepen- would use the most environ- pie litter the countryside. Her dence and solidarity." mentally friendly processes and assessment of this sad fact was As Christians, we are account- make environmentally respon- that Americans have the attitude able for all of God's gifts, not sible development decisions that "I am free to do anything I just those we prefer to pick and because they understand and want" which includes disre- choose. While we are not have accepted their obligation specting others by littering and expected to embrace the aggres- to use God's gifts wisely, not polluting the land. sive tactics of militant environ- because they want to avoid bad Living a stewardship way of mental "tree huggers," we do press and law suits! Individuals life requires many choices. One have an absolute mandate to be would recycle and not litter of those choices is whether or responsible caretakers of the because they care about their not we will be good ecological earth and all of God's creatures, fellow human beings and are stewards. We probably can't How does ecological stew- grateful to God, not because save every at-risk life form. But ardship play out in our daily they may be fined or chastised we can choose to respect God's lives? It begins with a sensitive by others, creation and use God's gifts attitude; a respect and concern At the end of her stay a wisely so we can pass them on, for one another. Each human young German exchange stu- intact, to our children and life is a gift from God. During dent recently was asked by one grandchildren. our sojourn on earth, God also blesses and entrusts us with the  ] temporary use of His creation, t NO Forum this week t As disciples of Jesus Christ, we I Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger is on vacation. His column, I are obliged to be good stewards t of God's property which lBishp's ........ Forum, will return Feb. 27. J did you know that your parents believed in God? my parents believed in God was in Kindergarten. I remem- ber them taking me to church, which they called "God's House," and sending me to Sunday school. After learning about God, they decided to teach me a prayer to say at the supper table as the family gath- ered to eat. Since I was still so young and got bored easily, they decided to teach me "Rub- a-dub-dub, Thanks for the grub. Yea God!" As we gath- ered around the dinner table that night, I excitedly led the supper-time prayer, and for the first time I knew my parents believed in God. -- Michelle Lyons St. John Newburgh, how :your par- ." Follow- taken answers ) Byers. that WednesdaY: 'Return to me' (Joel 2:12- the Lord, your whole , S.J. for fasting, and now the are besieged He hopes turn to Yah- he will But he Conver- your any S way art army of Sign of the expect in a us of our Our need to 6:1-6,16- When my parents took me to church every Sunday, to, go to Sunday School, we talked about God and sang songs about him. Then I knew my parents believed in God and I should too. m Jessi Dowell I realized that my family and I believed in God in sec- ond grade, when I made my first Communion. I was get- ting ready and my morn and about four )'ears old, I guess. When they prayed for my sick relatives and truly believed that God would stop or ease their suffering. Once I saw a little bit of that tremendous belief in myself while I prayed for those sick relatives and felt consoled and confident that all things would come out for the best in life or death. Matthew Harvey 18) likewise warns us not to be hypocritical in our religious observances or think that we can achieve justification on our own. This passage conveys the spirit of Jesus' teachings by showing how the classic biblical practices of almsgiving, prayer and fasting must be done with sincerity of heart, and not to win the approval of others or even of God. Like much of Jewish teaching, it advocates religious deeds done for good purposes alone. "Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!" Paul urges in the second read- ing (2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2). After describing how God has already been at work in Christ reconciling the world to himself, Paul emphasizes in words taken from the book of Isaiah (49:8) how the favorable time of uni- versal redemption is at hand. The liturgy of the Lenten sea- son invites us to experience God's reconciliation more deeply within us and to reflect it in the way we live our daily lives. Not that this is something that we achieve on our own" Rather, heeding Paul's advice that righteousness comes from God through faith, we must let ourselves be transformed by God's saving power. If during Lent we become more like Christ in his suffer- ings and death by living more for God and for others, we hope that we may also share his risen life more fully when Easter comes. Jesuit Father Francis T. Gignac is a professor and ctufirperson of the Department of Biblical Studies at The Catholic University of Ameri- ca in Washington, D.C. dad sat me down to talk about God and our belief. They taught me a prayer that night, called "Now I lay me down to sleep," and gave me a picture with the prayer on it and hung it up. I still say it to this day. -- Kara Rasche Whenever I asked my par- ents about church they would tell me about God. I started to realize that they really believed in him too and they weren't just telling me stories. I was When I first found out my parents believed in God was when I was about seven years old and my little brother was baptized. I learned that I was baptized, too, when I was a lit- tle baby. --Shannon Loehr I don't remember my age but one day my mom showed me our crucifix and told me what it was and what it meant. Nick Aull WCC delegation opposes military action against Iraq By JOHN THAVIS Catholic NewS Service ROME (CNS) -- A World Council of Churches delegation that visited Iraq in late January strongly opposed new military action against the country, say- ing air strikes would only wors- en the suffering of the country's civilian population. The seven-member WCC del- egation also called for a thor- ough review of present U.N. economic sanctions against Iraq, saying they seriously violate the human rights of Iraqis by deny- ing, housing and medical care. The delegation was preparing to present a full report to a meeting of the WCC Executive Committee Feb. 17-20. The WCC delegation said Iraqi Christians were calling upon Christians around the world to join them in prayers for a non-violent resolution of the current crisis. The delega- tion said it was asking that churches make their opposition to new military action known to their respective governanents. The delegation concluded that: conditions are in a "critical state," with a dramatic increase in mor- tality, sickm and malnutrition, especially among children: and other vulnerable groups. -- The sanctions' effect has not been substantially alleviat- ed by recent "oil for food" con, cessions made by the United Nations. Rather than undermine supfmrt for the Iraqi regime, the sam-tiom have "gah,anized the population against foreign intervention." -- The sanctions have also adversely affected the minority ing them adequate food, cloth- -- Iraqi health and sanitation Christian community. :