Am I the only one who experiences a profound disconnect these days between our lives of prayer (and what we think is important to bring into God’s presence) and the catastrophe happening in the Gulf of Mexico? The intercessions at my parish this morning, beautiful as they were, did not seem to know anything of the ecocide taking place in the ocean off the Louisiana coast and reaching into the fragile coastlands and all life-forms that depend on them, humans included. I myself struggled, when the congregation was invited to add our own intercessions to the ones that had been read, to formulate my prayer of lament and intercession.
In contradistinction, listening to the hour-long BBC news this afternoon, I found that no less than the first 20 minutes(!) were dedicated to the disaster in the Gulf.
Why the disconnect? When Haiti was hit by an earthquake earlier this year, we did not find it so difficult to pray. Are we at a loss now because this disaster is human-made? Because there is no end in sight? Or because the destruction visible to us is mostly to marine life, fragile ecosystems, and beaches?
How to surround this disaster in prayer? With prayer?
Here is an Ocean Lament:
We hold in prayer and lament this day
the terrible suffering of all life-forms in the Gulf of Mexico.
We grieve the profound marring of your creation,
and the threat to coastal ways of life.
Have mercy o God, have mercy.
Grant wisdom and perseverance and to all who struggle to contain this disaster.
Let those who lost their lives rest in peace.
And send out your Holy Spirit,
to create anew the face of this earth.
Meanwhile, I recommit myself to living green and cycling to Mass.