Jacqui Remond on how water creates ‘sublime communion’ with God

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Jacqui Remond on how water creates ‘sublime communion’ with GodJacqui Remond, co-founder of the Laudato si' Movement, encourages us to read the Book of Creation written by God the Father and to recognize the gift of water "in the waterfalls, the gifts of dew and droplet, to praise and really sing out that song together with water."

Jacqui Remond, a co-founder of the Laudato Sì Movement, was a member of the Federation of Catholic Bishops of Oceania (FCBCO) secretariat that organized the Oceania Continental Assembly held in Suva, Fiji from 5-10 February. She also works at the Australian Catholic University as the lead on Integral Ecology, and has been part of coordinating “Listen,” a Laudato si’-inspired network of educators.

One of the three themes the bishops reflected on during the Oceania Continental Assembly was Care for the Oceans. In an interview with Vatican News, Ms. Remond spoke about the importance of including the oceans in the synodal conversation, the significance of water in Catholic tradition and practice, and the language of water in the Book of Creation.

Care for the Oceans as a synodal topic

“At this time, of course, the oceans are one of the most incredible ecosystems on the planet. It makes up 70% of the surface of earth. And indeed, 70% of our bodies are made up of water. And so, the connection for us with oceans is actually imprinted in who we are…our DNA….our identity. And the cycling of water on our planet – to the desert regions, to the mountains, to the plain – this all interconnects us with the oceans.

“Sadly, at this time, we're living through an ecological crisis, which has been a contribution from the human family to bring this about with the pollution of plastics in our oceans, the acidification of our oceans through releasing greenhouse gas emissions, nd of course, the biodiversity loss that we're facing in our oceans for the marine life, the sea birds, the fish. All of that beautiful, interconnected web of life is crying out its suffering.

“And so, at this time we’re called to look at the wounds that we've created, to go through a process of daring to turn what is happening to our common home into a sense of understanding through our feelings, so that we can together work out what to do about it. And at this Assembly we've been hearing from scientists, we've been deeply reflecting from a theological perspective about the gift of oceans from our creator God. And we're being called to see that together we can actually do a lot more to care for our ocean home, within our common home.

Water within Judeo-Christian tradition

“Liturgically, water is so significant for us, and absolutely for all faiths. It's one of the ancient compositions on earth. So, we bless with water. We baptize with water. We cleanse with water before the Eucharist. There's a whole lot of significance in that flow of water and the relationship we have with water in liturgy, in prayer, in renewing ourselves.

“So, this question of when the water is polluted, when the water is not pure in the way that the ecosystems enable it to be through filtering and evaporation, and dropping down as fresh water, and soaking through to the aquifers – when we're polluting this gift of water, we're actually despoiling and diminishing the presence and the power, if you like, of the spirituality of God for us…. As Pope Francis says in Laudato si’, were contributing to a great pile of filth on our planet. And water is the connector of everything and of us all. So, it's reflected in our waterways. When we can't drink the water, when we can't bathe in the water, it causes huge pressure on the economic systems of communities to bring in bottled water and tanked water. It creates more waste.

“So, going back to the basics of understanding the water cycle and how in our local ecosystems of Church we're engaging with water at schools and parishes; putting in simple filtration systems and making sure that we're reducing our impact on the pollution of water through the products we buy; changing from a consumer mentality, and carrying our own water bottle, are simple ways that we can enact and show the witness of our love for water and our Creator God and the presence of a spiritual connection with our relationship when we wash our hands, give thanks. These are the ways that we're called to be in close relationship or kinship with water.

What God communicates through water

“I love that we are opening up the Book of Creation more and more alongside our Sacred Scripture texts of the Book that we know and love so much…. And I think the teachings of Aqua fons vitae are quite challenging for us to see how deeply embedded the journey of being with creation and hearing the cry of water, the songs of water as well.

“So, there's a balance in how we are called to, if you like, hermeneutically interpret water in our world – to notice it when it's crying, when it's damaged, when it's despoiled, of noticing it when it's singing and the gifts of rain, the gifts that we receive in the waterfalls, the gifts of dew and droplet, to praise and really sing out that song together with water.

“This is how we're called to be in sublime communion, and I think there's a lot that we can do to bring our attention, our loving attention and our presence to the water in the glasses we’re drinking out of, to the tears that flow from our eyes, the salty water. These are all daily experiences that we’re called to understand more fully, to not take for granted or to wipe away more quickly than we ought, and to reflect on each day where water is in our lives and how we’re touched by water, how we’re renewed by water and how we're called to continue to love it, because God is in all of this.

Sr Bernadette M. Reis
Source: vaticannews.va