Updated: Jun 23, 2022
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” (Genesis 1.20-22)
God’s abundance in the world is nowhere more live-giving than in the oceans. June has been designated “National Ocean Day” since 2019 to call attention to the wonders and gifts and needs of our oceans.
Did you know?
Around 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by oceans, and 70% of the oxygen we breathe is produced by the oceans.
The sea is home to the world’s largest living structure – the Great Barrier Reef—yet, according to marine scientists, it is dying from coral bleaching in 91% of its area.
If all the clouds rained down at once, it would only raise the level of the oceans by 2.5 cm (1 inch). According to a new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) if we do not reverse the warming trend, sea levels could rise by one foot by 2050.
As God’s stewards, we are called not only to enjoy the ocean, but also to care for it as a sacred gift from God. The ocean, teeming with sea life, vibrant coral communities, and vast beauty, is part of God’s beautiful creation. When God created the ocean, God declared it good. Because we are people of God, we are to maintain the bounty of the oceans’ waters and the integrity of oceanic systems that contain beauty and support an abundance of life.
We receive the oceans’ bounty on our tables and experience the ocean’s beauty as we participate in many recreational activities.
Many of us will be visiting and enjoying our Pacific (“peaceful”, from the Latin pacificum) Ocean this summer. As we do, let us be aware of the life-giving nature of the seas, the oxygen and food they produce. And let us pledge to protect and restore the health and bounty of the seas!
Video prayer for Oceans: https://youtu.be/vD72NffEEWw
Mary McCarty is a native of Southern California and has been managing the bookstore at the Jesuit Retreat Center for almost 7 years.