April 20, 2022
Friday, April 22nd, was the 52nd Earth Day and the theme this year was Invest in our Planet. Next month on May 24th is also the seventh anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si. In this encyclical, On Care for our Common Home, the Pope refers to the work of St. Francis who reminds us that Sister Earth is our common home, “who sustains us and governs us” but who also now cries out in distress because of the harm we have caused her through our thoughtless and irresponsible behavior. This encyclical is an urgent appeal for all peoples to respond to the climate crisis as part of our response to the needs of the poor.
In turn, this encyclical has led to an entire movement, the Laudato si movement that seeks to implement its vision for Catholics, the world over. Together, as Catholics, we are called to work for a spirituality that answers the cry of the poor by responding to the cry of the earth for the two are intimately linked.
As Laudato si notes, and as Scripture tells us, we live within three essential relationships: God, our neighbor and the earth. When these relationships are broken then there is sin, the sin of rupturing these relationships. Pope Francis reminds us, we are not God! He notes that we are not meant to own the earth! We have taken the call for dominion, to “till and keep” the garden of the world” to live in relationship with the earth, and turned it into domination.
No part of creation is superfluous and the ultimate destiny of creation is to be found in the fullness of God (83,84). In this Easter Season we understand that this reality has already occurred through the Risen Christ and hence “all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.” (83)
Hence, we are called to join with people of good will of all faiths and all places, to take action and work for ecological conversion and make the conscious decision to care for the earth. This includes the call for ecological justice, speaking truth to power, joining with Youth for their future, working to correct injustice against the poor, for all of creation and committing to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. This Spring, as individuals, families and as a parish community we are invited to join together to act for the good of Sister Earth.
More information can be found at: https://laudatosimovement.org
R.M.M. Stoicoiu, Ph.D.