Інститут еколого-релігійних студій


A Farmer’s Nature 12-02-2019, 13:51

Life on a rural farm is a natural place to experience and nurture a vibrant Catholic culture. This culture begins with the farmer himself. It is natural to welcome God each day on a farm. Waking up each morning to the peaceful farm environment is a privileged way to experience God. As Bishop Fulton Sheen once said, “One can either wake up in the morning and say, ‘Good morning God,’ or say, ‘Good God, it’s morning!’”

A farmer’s morning starts with chores while looking forward to breaking the fast with his family. The early morning hours are especially productive because many of the daily distractions have yet to interfere. Breakfast allows for time to assess priorities for the day and may be followed by time for morning prayer.

Morning continues with a wide variety of chores, which almost always involve a closeness to the land. The morning sets the stage for the day, whether it is running equipment with hours of time to think and talk to God, or physical jobs like picking rocks, shoveling, or digging out weeds.

A farmer recognizes that the beauty or harshness of nature, which accompanies each day, is a reality that cannot be ignored. It is in this way that nature daily reminds the farmer of his attachment to the earth and its Creator. This attachment may seem counter-intuitive to those who lack this fundamental connection.

With the lunch hour comes the opportunity of sharing another meal with the family as well as a time for conversation and more prayer. After lunch there is often time for a few minutes of quiet gratitude. A nap, or simply resting allows for a renewal of natural energy in order to tackle the work at hand.

Evening arrives with the satisfaction of having spent the day doing something tangible. Some days it is difficult to see that any forward progress has been accomplished, but the following day brings another chance to fix or continue the job. The evening meal and subsequent prayer time allows for meditating on the joys and sorrows of our Lord and His family, and how well the farmer has applied this to his life.

The arrival of Sunday or a feast day gives the farmer a chance to reconnect with God in a sacramental way and spend time with others outside the family circle. Going to Mass becomes a privilege instead of being an obligation. The farmer and his family bring their prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of the week and present them to God, knowing that He is always close by to help with unconditional love. The day of rest is often slower and gives the farmer time to see if all of the issues encountered during the week have been resolved, or how to address them the following week.

A farmer’s sense of time is uniquely tied to nature and the passing of seasons. The sun conveniently measures the evolving of the day while the clock remains only a guide. As the seasons come and go, each brings a change of required tasks. The farmer inherently understands that nature controls many of his decisions as to the use of time. This allows the farmer to take time off to enjoy the family, nature, and relationships without being tied to a calendar or clock.

Unassuming events such as a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a lunar eclipse, or just a clear night for stargazing take on a special meaning. The future of the Church and the family is closely connected to life on the farm. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Far and away the best prize life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” This doesn’t capture the real, best prize, which is the farmer and his family living a life together in union with the Holy Family.

— Kelly Spiering is a farmer in the Heart Mountain area of Wyoming. He is also the Board chairman of the Powell Economic Partnership, Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors for Catholic Rural Life.




Modern ecological challenges at concern society are also important for the Church, as our faithful are a part of this society. The Church, relying on Christian ecological teaching, believes that responsible and honest decisions regarding the development of various types of energy  - and the arrangement of the plans for the construction of wind turbines on the Polonyna Borzhava in particular - should be made on the basis of a broad civil consensus based on proper scientific studies.

The Church is not expected to offer technical solutions for this matter, but based on substantial evidence, offers to create ethical criteria which will encourage responsible environmental decision-making.

Addressing environmental and energy issues should be based primarily on true solidarity inspired by values such as love, justice and general well-being. It is therefore important for the Church to show that every ecological and ethical action must rely on belief in Creation, and that the energy issue is a matter of justice, especially for future generations.

We emphasize the great importance of not only the material, aesthetic, scientific and recreational values of the Borzhava mountain range - one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in our Carpathians -, but also its spiritual and religious values. Therefore, it is extremely important to make decisions guided by the universal principles that all that is done should be done for the glory of God, for the benefit of humanity and all of God's Creation – Nature. Since the Creator has given us the Creation – Nature for our responsible and careful use, we must pay due attention to natural harmony in our environment and act accordingly.

Today, it depends on all of us, whether we will preserve the unique landscape of Borzhava, gifted to us by our Creator, in its primeval beauty for future generations, or whether we will give the grief-investors the opportunity to do with the Borzhava everything they planned, using the immaturity of a civil society, the imbalance of legal mechanisms, and the lack of a firm belief in our Savior.

We appeal to our pastors in a special way to acquaint the faithful with the text of our appeal within their parish communities and to promote the dissemination of this information on protection of the Polonyna Borzhava from the construction of wind farms.

We want to assure everyone that the seeds sown by us to encourage responsible behavior towards this  part of God’s Creation – the Borzhavsky Mountain Range - and its preservation in its original form, will grow into good deeds in the future, and give us hope for the opportunity to change our whole life and the surrounding reality.

Bishop MILAN
Bishop of Mukachevo,
Chairman of the Committee on Ecology of the Mukachevo Greek Catholic Diocese

Bishop Antal MAINEK
Ordinary of the Mukachevo diocese,
Chairman of the Commission on Ecology and Migration of the Roman Catholic Conference of Bishops of Ukraine