Sunday, 14 June 2015


“What would I give for a cool beer or a cool anything! It’s so hot these days!” Such were my thoughts some years ago as I sweated through the heat in the beautiful  tropical island of Grenada, in the West Indies. I was toiling to compose an article for  a column I wrote for  the monthly magazine ‘CATHOLIC FOCUS’ of the Diocese of St. George-in-Grenada.

The aim of this column was to create a spirituality of reaching God through the ordinary and extraordinary experiences that make up my day-to-day life, as well as the lives of other people.

I was challenging myself to produce something printable out of  thoughts  centered  on my hot discomfort and the beatitude of drinking cool beer.   What was God saying to me through this mêlée, swirling around within my head? Could I reach God through a COOL BEER?

Or possibly through a COOL BEAR? This bizarre possibility occurred to my thanks to  my brother, Fr. Isidore  who emailed me  a picture of  a polar bear relaxing on its back with all four feet in the air. He was taunting me with the caption, ‘Keep cool, brother!’ 

 He was hinting that I spent my time in ecstatic relaxation like the much blessed bear lying on the Arctic ice, looking cool, cool, cool? ‘No such luck,’ said I!   I testily retaliated by observing that since he prided himself on being crafty with a computer  he could so easily have inserted a bottle of beer between the two paws. What a perfect image this would have been of a well-appointed Heaven – cool beer in a cool bed!  My brother couldn’t resist rising to such a challenge –as the picture proves!

The sad thing was that, little though the bear knew it, global warming was causing its Arctic Ice-bed to melt beneath it at an alarming rate. Its natural habitat was dissolving even while it took a cool sleep.

Surely this is a metaphor of what is happening to the world in which we live – the world that we are to hand down to succeeding generations. I can think of rivers in which I used to enjoy bathing. Not again! Now, on coming out of the water my skin would be itching because of all the insecticides, fertilizers and detergents that have found their way into the once clear, pure, water.

 You will have your own tales to tell. This is a crying shame. I really mean it. God the Creator must feel like weeping at what we are doing to the world He made for us and found to be so good. When God put man in the Garden of Eden it wasn’t that he should demolish it.

 He intended man to cherish it, develop it and protect it. There’s no denying man’s marvelous achievements through ever-evolving skills and technology. From Cave Man to High-Rise Man. But at what a price! How far has man fallen short of the expectations God had when He took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep it, (Gen.2.15).

Remember how Jesus was able to find explanations and excuses for the men who were nailing Him to the Cross? “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing," (Lk.23.34). Well, there was a time when we had no awareness of environmental issues.

Now we know all too well what  is happening to our world and why. We know but we don’t care sufficiently to do anything about it. We can’t plead ignorance.

 My friend, the bear, is telling me from his cool repose that our Christianity, our humanity, should make us more responsible, more protective of our environment….for God’s sake, our  sake, and for bear’s sake. If I take this to heart then I can claim I know how  to Reach God…My Way… Through a COOL BEER. Sorry! I mean a COOL BEAR! 
                                             ~~~~~~~~~~~~                              (These thoughts were published in 2006 in the  monthly magazine ‘CATHOLIC FOCUS’ of the diocese of St. George’s-in-Grenada. And now in June 2015 the whole world awaits the publication of an Encyclical on the Environment.  In February this year Pope Francis stated, “If you are a Christian, protecting the environment is part of your identity, not an ideological option.’

 A journalist has written, ‘The subject in question is climate change, as the Holy Father gears up to release a  much-anticipated Papal encyclical – a letter to Catholics everywhere – that will consider care for creation, sustainable development and the impact that climate change is having on the world’s poorest people. 
The expectations for this document are huge.’)

Peter Clarke, O.P.

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