Have you ever heard a monkey sobbing Have you ever heard a monkey cry out in pain? I have. I have heard the anguished screeching sound coming from the burning forest. Sounding the alarm for life which is being incinerated. These are the words of Sister Dorothy Stang who was murdered for her work to protect the Amazon forest from destruction. They were spoken to Brazilian civil leaders who had the power to halt the destruction. These government officials were not actually destroying the forest, but they were letting it happen.
Letting it happen?
Maybe that is Dorothy’s message to us 18 years after her death. We do not want to be active in the destruction of the beautiful forest which serves as the lungs of our Earth. We do not want to cause the deadly heating of our beloved planet. We do not to be involved in the poisoning of our oceans, the polluting of our air and water. We do not want to have any responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of refugees just looking for a place to live. We do not want to be responsible for “letting it happen.” But we are. This is our Earth, our gift from God to love and care for.
Today, 18 years after Dorothy’s death, is she saying to us. “Listen to the cries coming from the burning forest. Let yourself cry with our suffering Earth. But, don’t let yourself be a part of the group that just says, I can’t do anything but letting it happen. Rather, rather enter into the desire expressed in the popular song, “I want to be in the room where it happens.” Where God calls to be as we say “Yes” to the beautiful and responsible life we have received. If we enter into the reality of this world which God has given us, we can love it as the gift that it is. We can make a difference! We can hear the monkeys cry and we can reach out to share and help transform the fire that destroys our Earth and turn that fire into love.
Is this what Dorothy’s life and death give to us today?
Sister Elizabeth Bowyer, SNDdeN