December 10.    Sister Water.     Canticle 5. PRAISED BE YOU, my Lord through Sister Water, who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.   Water is absolutely essential for life throughout creation. Until recently, although droughts did happen, there was an overall abundance of water where humanity chose to live. Francis and Claire and their communities are not likely to have experienced water shortages although they may have been exposed to occasional floods. Francis will however have been exposed to the dryness and desolation of the desert on his pilgrimage to the sultan in Damietta.

In bygone days large herds of animals would migrate, following the water sources known to them. Although most desert locations appear devoid of plant-life, with even a small amount of rain the land surface will suddenly become green. Plants that have been dormant or seeds that have lain ungerminated will spring to life.  

Water is found in the great oceans covering 2/3 of the planet, in natural streams, rivers and lakes, in man-made dams and canals.   Glaciers and snow-capped mountains hold water for our use while ice-caps cool our poles.  The water cycle draws water into the atmosphere and circulates it in the form of rain.   Physical bodies of humans and animals consist of 70% water.  Animals and plants have little control over water supply apart from their instinct about water sources.   However, humans, with the current level, density and distribution of the human population, are conscious of future water scarcity and have even begun to search for water on the moon and other planets with a view to possible future colonization.     

While devastating floods are often the result of climate change many parts of the world are water-scarce and drought is increasingly common affecting the sustainable life for all the families of nature, plant, animal and human.   Safe drinking water is a basic and universal human right that should not be restricted or privatised.  The poor are often the ones deprived of access to safe water for drinking and sanitation resulting in health hazards, while a large amount of water is wasted everywhere.

Scripture. God said to Noah “I establish my covenant with you that never again shall flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth. This is the sign of the covenant for all future generations.  I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Gen 9:11-13. Pope Francis: The problem of water is partly an educational and cultural issue, since there is little awareness of the seriousness of water issues in the context of inequality of peoples. LS 30, For reflection and sharing:   As family members research, read up and share on the issue of water in creation and how its use is manipulated today. Are our actions just, in line with God’s plan in creation?  Look up references too in the Bible.