Ecological Crisis

The Fate of Jonah

The Fate of Jonah

A painting and sonnet from my new series “Cries of Creation”, inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si

 

Jonah was a good man from the start

for he saw beauty in all things that lived,

and knew he was of it a part.

He was with God, he lived, he loved and prayed.

 

Then one day God tested him! This is what He said—

Go to Nineveh, for there they’ve strayed in sin.

And tell them how they’ve lost their way.

And teach them how to live, to love and pray.

 

Now Jonah’s knees began to shake,

like a mighty mountain began to quake.

 

And Jonah that night ran away

on a ship whose course was far apart

from where he knew he should depart

to do what he knew was right.

 

But doubt and fear had closed his heart.

And greed and self-interest had closed his ears.

 

The fate of Jonah we must heed

for his redemption is our great need.

To do God’s will and change our ways,

for now it’s us who’ve gone astray.

 

Only fools run from God and try to slink away!

 

Those of us who were good to start,

who have the sight, who have the heart,

help us Lord not to turn away, but let us turn

and face our fate and know our place.

And live and love and pray!

 

Ships of Fools

Ships of Fools

A painting and sonnet from my new series “Cries of Creation”, inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si

 

We do not know where fools’ ships go,

for all they tell are lies.

Their Captains have no course nor maps.

They only sail where blows the wind,

and only at their backs.

 

The captains’ futures are all invested.

In the market they do rely.

No thoughts of destination nor direction,

for on the Big Board they have their eye.

 

Ni port nor starboard do they veer,

nor course corrections do they dare

while in the current of their winnings.

 

But, if Mammon-wish tickles their fancy,

quickly will their trading shift.

Or if by chance they be becalmed,

then happily will they daze and drift.

 

Their crews are drifters all,

 from the sea the captains plucked.

Their losses and misfortunes

are the foolish captains’ luck.

 

The passengers all are gamblers.

These ships are what they sought.

Cheap one-way tickets

are what they scrambled for and bought.

 

All good one-time married men,

left their wives behind—

knowing, like some good husbands,

they thought it would be kind.

 

For on these one-way foolish ships,

ships with no return,

there is no need to bother, ponder, or discern.

Foolish ships are bound to flip,

for black holes they are bound!

It is their way

when gone astray

that fools do double down!

 

Let us learn again to sail

the oceans with her winds.

And tack, when need be,

so when the wind swings round

we yield, to her lead.

 

To keep on course, we cannot force

Nature to do our will.

Our destiny is to bend and mend our ways.

The signs are all around us

all the time, numerous as the waves.

 

It’s only fools who sail on ships

 captained without a course,

ships that sail to nowhere!

Of this I cry BEWARE!

 

 

Sólo Un Futuro

Fue hace 50 años que recibíamos por primera vez una imagen de nosotros mismos desde la Luna. En el proceso de enviar un hombre a la luna por primera vez, Joseph Allen, uno de los astronautas que estuvo involucrado en el proceso de planificación, recuerda:

“Entre todos los argumentos que se hicieron a favor y en contra de viajar a la Luna, nadie mencionó la posibilidad de que la mejor razón sea simplemente observarnos a nosotros mismos”.

Y, esa resultó ser la razón, para vernos desde afuera como planeta. Cuando recibimos la foto de nuestro planeta, fue una revelación global que cambió la forma en que pensamos. Desde entonces, nuestra conciencia nunca ha sido la misma. Vimos a nosotros mismos tal como somos; solo en la inmensa oscuridad del espacio; pequeña, delicada, resplandeciente con la vida, la belleza divina.

No fue hasta los principios de los años 70 que comenzamos a pensar en la ética y el cuidado del medio ambiente. Esto sólo fue comentado por los místicos y los ambientalistas, pero desde entonces todo ha cambiado. El mundo ha respondido con una gran cantidad de reflexiones importantes. Ahora tenemos las herramientas científicas y el pensamiento filosófico y ético para comenzar a razonar acerca de nuestra responsabilidad con respecto al medio ambiente.

Pinté esta obra (pintura al óleo sobre panel de madera, 42 x 57 ″) cuando era miembro de la Comisión de Justicia y Paz de la C.O.R. aquí en San Juan, Puerto Rico en 1992, inspirado en parte debido a las condiciones de deterioro del medio ambiente en esta isla más delicado, los irreflexivos desarrollo excesivo, la contaminación que estaba pasando, y la destrucción de las comunidades locales. La encíclica del papa Francisco Laudato Si ‘En el Cuidado de Nuestro Hogar Común lo explicó todo por completo. Su mensaje fue claro y dijo de forma elocuente. Fue una aclaración teológica de lo que decía toda la ciencia, y para mí, ¡el huracán María aplastó la prueba de ello!

La pintura es retórica en concepto y nos presenta dos posibilidades: una en armonía con la Creación de Dios, un futuro de justicia, paz y sostenibilidad. El otro de saqueo, el caos, la guerra sin fin y un colapso último de la naturaleza y la vida en nuestro planeta tal como la conocemos. La Tierra está pintada en forma de huevo, simbolizando metafóricamente la fragilidad del ecosistema de la Tierra, así como su abundancia y fertilidad natural. La metáfora del huevo también se utiliza para mostrar un pacto roto y la ruptura resultante de la frágil ecología de la tierra y la caída de la humanidad en desgracia causada por un sistema económico lineal defectuoso basado en el abuso del poder y la riqueza, simbolizado por el uso profano de oro.

No hay duda acerca de esto. Nosotros, los humanos tenemos las herramientas para destruir o salvar a la civilización, porque Dios nos creó con esa capacidad. Pero también nos creó con libre albedrío.

Cuidar el medio ambiente es una cuestión moral. Papa San Juan Pablo II hizo hincapié en la prioridad de la ética sobre la técnica, y el espíritu sobre la materia. Si destruimos la tierra, destruimos la creación divina, nos destruimos a nosotros mismos.

¿Es ese el plan de Dios? ¿Es ese nuestro plan?

LEER MÁS ACERCA DE ESTA PINTURA

 

Earth Day 2019

BREATH OF LIFE
“and then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and Man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

 

                                       Breath of Life

On this Earth Day 2019, I share this 27 x 40-inch oil painting which was conceived with Teilhard de Chardin’s “Cosmogenesis” in mind. It makes visible how we are physically part of the Cosmos and of our Mother Earth. It is a visualization of how all things are connected in God’s creation.
It is a reminder of the crisis we find ourselves in.

We here in Puerto Rico who have lived through Hurricane Maria have seen both the most beautiful and the most destructive forces of nature. When I think of the devastation, the waste and the suffering, I lament that we humans have contributed in a significant way to this most devastating, climate crisis.

Let us meditate on this Earth Day on our connectedness to all things.
We are the conscience of planet Earth!
Lord we pray, help us to be the Stewards of your Creation as you created us to be. Amen

“Earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.” (Isaiah 24:5)

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The World’s Greatest Challenge!

Saving God’s Creation

The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws,
violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.    Isa 24:5

                         On Earth as it is in Heaven

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Visualizing Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’

 

                             Defendamos la Creación

This poster was originally designed by A.Vonn Hartung for an ecumenical conference on the environment organized by the Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace in Puerto Rico on Earth Day 1993.
The poster is interactive. Crayons were provided to the participants who purchased the posters–the proceeds of which went to the Faith-based environmental movement.
It depicts St. Francis giving thanks for Creation but he stands in a semi-polluted world. The scripture reading is from Isaiah 24:5 (“The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant”).

 

                                     Breath of Life    

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                                                  Latter-Day Jonah

“Latter-Day Jonah” is a concept (a drawing with a paste on image of planet Earth) that speaks of the crisis that we face with climate change due to the overuse of carbons in our energy consumption and the unsustainable development that is taking place because of our predatory economic system and the technology that we have developed that is so powerful that it is threatening to destroy the natural balance of God’s creation.

The threat that we witness in the drawing is both the terrestrial devastation shown by the power of the bulldozer and the crisis we face in over-fishing and pollution of our oceans where we see a young fisherman being swallowed like Jonah by a giant fish. This is symbolic of the Awakening of consciousness that we as a species are Awakening to as scientific data is revealed to us.

This drawing in some ways is a self-portrait as I recall becoming aware of the crisis that we face as Humanity peers into and contemplates our future.

 

                                       Thorns of Christ

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"El Jíbaro" oil portrait by AVonnHartung
                                                        El Jíbaro

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On Earth as in Heaven

On Earth as it is in Heaven

In response to our Holy Father Pope Francis’ call to dialog and action on Climate Change in his Encyclical Laudato Si’ On Care for Our Common Home, I offer this metaphorical painting, On Earth as it is in Heaven,  as a visual prayer to raise consciousness and to encourage dialog.

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The title of the painting “On Earth as it is in Heaven”  is taken from the prayer Christ Jesus taught us. That is, the Lord’s Prayer, Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.

The painting is rhetorical in concept and presents us with only two possibilities.

One in harmony with God’s Creation. In other words, a future of justice, peace and sustainability in the natural world. Conversely, the other of plunder, chaos, and endless war. Subsequently, an ultimate collapse of nature and life on our planet home as we know it.

Moreover, the painting asks a question of the viewer, each one of us, whatever our religion or beliefs. Which future do we want to live in, leave to our children and future generations?

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