Enjoying God's Creation - Catholic Rural Life

Enjoying God’s Creation

Kaycee Monnens Cortner • May 28, 2024


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-John Paul ll

God created the earth, the skies, the plants and trees, the fish in the sea, and topped it off with you and me. The book of Genesis tells us the amazing story about how God created everything that inhabits the earth, then created mankind, the pinnacle of his work. He then gave his children, Adam and Eve dominion over all his creation. 

Today there is a temptation to two extremes regarding the use of God’s creation. One extreme consists of the overuse of creation and nature, as if it doesn’t matter. overgrazing due to greed might be one example.

The other extreme is the idea that we have no right to use the land or creation because it is too precious, as if it’s the only thing that matters. Both are errors. The first error occurs because man thinks he is like God. The second because man considers the earth to be a god. 

Virtue is always found in the middle, as we know as Catholic Christians. 

God gave us dominion over all his creation, not to pillage or to refrain from partaking in it, but to be good stewards of it. 

My favorite writer, G.K. Chesterton said this: 

Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover that she is a step-mother. The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate. This gives to the typically Christian pleasure in this earth a strange touch of lightness that is almost frivolity. Nature was a solemn mother to the worshippers of Isis and Cybele. Nature was a solemn mother to Wordsworth or to Emerson. But Nature is not solemn to Francis of Assisi or to George Herbert. To St. Francis, Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved.”

And I think that instinct comes very easily to those of us involved in agriculture. We love nature not because we profit off of her – as the mainstream media would like everyone to believe – but because we have the same creator. Furthermore, as Catholics, we get to view nature in an even lighter way, from which enjoyment naturally springs. 

Nature can be harsh, as many of us know. After all, we are the ones who care for livestock and land amidst floods, tornadoes, and blizzards. 

But she also provides us with much to enjoy. Like St. Pope John Paul II, perhaps you feel closest to God when you are out in nature. It is His untouched creation, ever renewed. We are blessed to experience God’s miracles so closely, from the first green leaves in our gardens to newborn baby calves to the first rain after a drought. I would go so far as to say that farmers and ranchers remain the closest to the first job that God gave to our parents, Adam and Eve. How incredible it is to ponder that. 

We have a duty to honor nature as God’s creation, but we also have a duty to enjoy her. That is the proper Christian view. After all, if God said it was good — very good, who are we to argue?

About the author

Kaycee Monnens Cortner is a ranch wife, mother, horsewoman, writer, and editor at Tri-State Livestock News. Her family lives on a historic Wyoming cattle ranch where her husband works. She enjoys reading from Chesterton and the saints, and her blog can be found at thepreservationoffire.com.

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