The Story: On Storms, Difficult Transitions and Silver Linings
How wonderful is the certainty that each human life is not adrift in the midst of hopeless chaos! LS 65
This summer has been challenging for many of us. Wildfires, heatwaves and torrential storms have brought massive changes to the Canadian landscape, and to our lives. The effects of these events, even if we are not personally impacted, leave wounds on our psyche, causing us to question our ability to move forward with hope and resilience.
Change is inevitable, and we will be confronted with necessary periods of transition to new ways of being due to climate disruption, biodiversity loss, and increasing polarization of human society. Some of the changes will be dramatic, overwhelming, and will necessitate massive shifts in how we interact with our world and with each other.
But we must remember, Jesus taught one of the great promises of our faith in the Sermon on the Mount.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
Prayer to our loving Creator is imperative when we are in dire need, but it is not necessary to keep our needs held in silent, individual communion with the Divine. As we face crises of many different kinds, we will benefit from the courage to ask for what we need of each other as well. Often, by voicing our needs, we elicit responses from others that provide satisfaction in ways we could not have imagined.
“It is about trusting the waves of change to bring us to a new point of vision and future possibility.”
Through the sharing of need during crisis we open pathways for multiple solutions to be presented from many different sources. Combined with asking for what we need, from our Creator and from each other, is the necessity to also be open to the possibility that solutions may come our way that will stretch us and encourage us in new and exciting ways. This is how we will survive transitions large and small.
Margaret Silf wrote in The Other Side of Chaos, “Chaos theory rests on the obvious fact that … ordered systems periodically fall apart and disintegrate into disorder. … All this turbulence will eventually settle down, drawn into a new steady state, but it will be something new – not just a return to how things were, but a leap, you could say a quantum leap, into how things shall become. Physics can prove it. Faith intuits it.”
While experiences of evacuations have traumatized many this summer, there are also reports of good things coming from those events.
Bishop Jon Hansen, in a Catholic Register article, noted “Surprisingly enough, people were overall very positive about the experience. They were supported by the communities where they found themselves. Many people were able to connect with family and loved ones they hadn’t seen for some time and rekindled those bonds. In the case where people had to be supported by strangers, mostly I heard about how wonderful these people were with how they reached out and were so giving.”
Jeannie Marie-Newell of Fort Smith, NWT and Dene/Cree artisan Suzan Marie, born and raised in the NWT, shared stories in an August issue of the Catholic Register. They worked to relieve the stress of evacuees in Edmonton through encouraging words and opportunities for artistic creativity. Susan Marie commented that participants “… said they were peaceful and were able to become balanced and centred. Also, they were grateful to be among other friends from the north. It brought a sense of community and wellness.”
Silf writes “How can we learn to discern and to respond to the nudging of this strange attraction that is inviting us to move beyond where we are, to become what we can’t yet imagine? … We have to be willing to tolerate, and even welcome, interruptions to the smooth running of our lives. [And] we need to learn to listen to the subtle movements in our hearts … the movements of the Holy Spirit.”
So, express your needs with courage and conviction; whether it be for assistance in resettling during evacuation notices, a desire for civic and faith leaders to take decisive action that transforms sources and uses of energy, the hope for a good job that builds sustainability into public life, the need for a smoke-free future for an asthmatic child.
Change and times of transition often reveal beautiful opportunities. Look for the silver linings as the storm clouds and smoke pass and dare to imagine how much more we can achieve together, how much better our world will become because of the turmoil we endure and the growth it inspires in us. The shine of the Spirit will be there!
MOUVEMENT LAUDATO SI' MOVEMENT Canada
 The Other Side of Chaos: Breaking Through when Life is Breaking Down, Margaret Silf, Loyola Press, Chicago, 2011, p 69.
 Ibid pp. 47, 50..
 The Other Side of Chaos: Breaking Through when Life is Breaking Down, Margaret Silf, Loyola Press, Chicago, 2011, p 96
News / Actions / Resources
1. Pope Francis will make public Laudato Si’ part 2, an Apostolic Exhortation adding to Laudato Si’ on October 4th 2023. Two articles in the National Catholic Reporter provide some background and points of reflection as we anticipate this exciting news, Laudato Si’, part 2: An ongoing dialogue of the signs of the times and Revisit Laudato Si' to prepare for Pope Francis' new document on ecology.
2. Register here for the virtual MLSM Canada National Gathering, September 27th
We aim to provide space to share on action and advocacy opportunities nationally and regionally, to discuss some key themes to succeed and facilitate sharing of resources, successes, challenges and strategies. Hear from fellow Laudato Si’ Animators about what they are doing, and how you can work with them.
3. Please confirm your membership in the international Laudato Si’ Movement, formerly the Global Catholic Climate Movement, by completing this form.
4. Nova Scotia is inviting written comments on proposed amendments to the Nova Scotia Building Code Regulations. These regulations are part of the province’s commitment to “adopt a ‘net-zero energy ready’ model building code by 2030.”
The Ecology Action Center is asking concerned residents of Nova Scotia to provide written comments to the province expressing:
1) Support for the action taken—moving to Tier 3—but making it clear that
2) We need further amendments to reach Tier 5 of the federal codes by 2030, and that
3) Municipalities should be empowered to pass even higher minimum-efficiency regulations should they choose.
The short position paper linked here outlines the case for adopting all five tiers by 2030 and empowering Nova Scotian municipalities to go further in their energy codes.
Submit your comments to Joe Rogers by email [email protected] or mail. The deadline is Friday, Sept. 29, 2023.
Building Code Coordinator
PO Box 231
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 2M4
5. Read Karen Van Loon’s excellent newsletter, Season of Creation invitation to “join the river of justice and peace"
6. This September, millions of people around the world will take to the streets to demand a rapid, just, and equitable transition away from fossil fuels, as world leaders gather at the UN in New York.
Youth leaders with For the Love of Creation have devised this fun way to send your message of climate concern to Members of Parliament, the Creating for Creation campaign. The Youth Climate Strike Advisory Team calls on all people of faith across Canada to “fold up” their commitment in the style of origami endangered animals, and send it to decision makers.
At September climate marches you could string the animals together to be held between two people or attach them to your other signs. If there is no strike happening in your area, consider hanging them outside your house or your place of worship, preferably with a sign that indicates your desire for the end of fossil fuels.
To receive more updates about Climate Action Weeks, subscribe to the KAIROS e-newsletter and select Ecological Justice as an area of interest and follow #KAIROSClimateAction on Facebook, Instagram, and X (Twitter).
6. The Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada wish to share their Season of Creation weekly prayer rituals. With a mighty river as the symbol of biodiversity at risk, five Prayers, the Schedule and Plan, and a Season of Creation history are provided for our use. Please credit the Laudato Si’ Committee of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie and members of the Federation Ecology Committee of the Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada when you use their materials.
7. HEALING SCARS, SEEKING WHOLENESS: Stories on Reconciliation, Faith, and Indigenous Voices, a free online zoom event — Sep 28, 2023at 7 pm (ET)
Tune in to hear Sr. Pricsilla Solomon and Fr. Peter Bisson’s stories, explore the depth of Indigenous spirituality and reflect on our commitment to the Catholic faith amidst injustice. Registration here. A recording will be provided within 72 hours post-event.
8. Franciscan Media invites us to prepare for the feast of St. Francis of Assisi by joining their Novena to St. Francis, Sept 25 to October 3. They will offer perspective on the life and legacy of Saint Francis. Click here to sign up