December 9.   Canticle 4. PRAISED BE YOU, my Lord through Brother Wind, and through the air, cloudy and serene and every kind of weather, through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.

A guided meditation in the book Care for Creation (p 57-58) describes the wonder of breath and of air. The meditation suggests:   Taking up a relaxing position, become conscious of your breath, consider how breath happens by itself and the Spirit of Life breathes through you in every moment of your life.   The air that passes out from your breath “moves beyond you into the whole sky, joining with the great winds that encircle our planet. From the oceans to the deserts to the wind over high alpine meadows, our home planet is refreshed by this life-giving air which moves across its surface in currents of wind and weather. Our thin layer of atmosphere miraculously protects the fragility of life on this planet.  With Francis we can dance with Brother Wind, and gaze upon Sister Moon and the Stars, contemplating the vastness of God revealed to us.  This precious air connects us to one another across the globe and through the ages. This same air was breathed by our ancestors, by St Francis and Clare, by Jesus.   Take a moment to give thanks to God for the gift of wind and air.

And yet today through our interaction with the elements while the wind is appreciated as necessary in distribution of seeds, bringer of rain and coolness in the heat, it has too often also become a destructive force. As ocean surfaces heat due to global warming, hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons have become more frequent and more violent causing tremendous damage to nature and people.       

Elijah stood before the cave and behold the Lord passed and a great and strong wind rent the mountain but the Lord was not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire a still small voice which said, “What are you doing here Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-12.  

Pope Francis: Air pollution has become part of people’s daily experience. Poor people, mainly because of their more congested living conditions, become sick from breathing high levels of smoke and from cooking and heating.   Industrial fumes, and various toxins pollute soil and water. Technological solutions are presented as answers to these problems but are often incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relationships between things. From LS 20.   

For reflection and sharing:   As family members research, read up and share on wind, air and pollution. Is there action we as individual families can take to combat air and soil pollution?