Daily Reflection
February 8th, 2005
Howie Kalb, S.J.
Jesuit Community
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Today’s reading from Genesis completes the poetic “story of the heavens and the earth at their creation”.  On the sixth day “God created man in his own image…male and female he created them.”  He then gave them “dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and all the living things that move on the earth.”  He also gave them every seed-bearing plant and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit for their food.

In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius paraphrases it this way.  “All the other things on the face of the earth were created for our use.”  And he explains we are to use them in so far as they help us to attain the end for which we were created, and to abstain from them in so far as they deter us from that goal.  The goal, of course, is to praise, love and serve God.

When we fail to understand and acknowledge the dignity and dominance of our humanity and our relationship to all other created things, the danger is misusing God’s other creatures in one of two extremes.

For example, some people believe it is cruel and unnatural to kill deer and catch fish for food to eat.  Is it more humane or compassionate to let these creatures over-multiply and starve to death instead?  The Scriptures certainly don’t give the same value to the animal and plant world as to human beings.  If one is motivated to live a vegetarian way of life it is certainly an option.  God gave us the plants and fruit trees for the same purpose as the animals, birds and fish.

On the other hand, some people over accentuate their dominance of nature in such a way as to abuse it by waste, destruction, pollution and hoarding nature’s resources.  The result for their fellow human beings is want, starvation, disease and being forced to live in inhuman conditions that lead to infanticide, strife, fighting, wars and genocide.

Scriptures tell us “God is everywhere.”  He is ever-present sustaining all of his creation.  In our every action we are someway coming in contact with God.  It follows then that abusing the environment or having no concern to protect and use God’s creation intelligently would seem to be a sacrilege; “a violation of something consecrated to God”.
Reflecting upon the creation story and God’s magnificent gift of our universe challenges us to live in a realistic way whereby we use, enjoy, preserve and restore our world while at the same time keeping it viable and healthy for the generations to come.

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