Back a few weeks ago, we decided to pray outside for our weekday mass honoring the words of Pope Francis’ new encyclical Ladatio Si. It was lovely but I also noticed one thing:
It was hot.
In the last five years or so, I have found it difficult to be outside because the heat is often too much for me. Now hear me carefully, I love to be outside. But I’m finding it more and more difficult because the temperature is much higher and the humidity much more unbearable.
If this is global warming, I’m not playing this game. And anyone who denies that we play a part in this each and every day, is simply kidding themselves.
I’m honored that the Pope has written such an amazing call to action for the global community. Hear that! The Pope is challenging all people, not just Catholic people, to care more diligently for the earth.
Our difficulty in taking up this challenge seriously has much to do with an ethical and cultural decline which has accompanied the deterioration of the environment. Men and women of our postmodern world run the risk of rampant individualism, and many problems of society are connected with today’s self-centred culture of instant gratification. We see this in the crisis of family and social ties and the difficulties of recognizing the other. Parents can be prone to impulsive and wasteful consumption, which then affects their children who find it increasingly difficult to acquire a home of their own and build a family. Furthermore, our inability to think seriously about future generations is linked to our inability to broaden the scope of our present interests and to give consideration to those who remain excluded from development. Let us not only keep the poor of the future in mind, but also today’s poor, whose life on this earth is brief and who cannot keep on waiting. Hence, “in addition to a fairer sense of intergenerational solidarity there is also an urgent moral need for a renewed sense of intragenerational solidarity”
So what is that to all of us mean? It means that we have a responsibility for the earth. And in celebrating stewardship we are called to love the earth as St Francis did and as Pope Francis does. Smartly, Pope Francis links this global crisis additionally to a care for the poor. How many live in poor environmental conditions because of our unwillingness to reduce our dependence on the comforts of our developed world? How many places have no drinking water or minimally no clean drinking water?
Today I will call myself to consider the environment more intentionally and make changes in my own life that will be good for both me and the world. I’m trying to eat less meat, recycle as much as possible and reduce my driving as much as I can. I’m sure they’ll be more to do–but for now this is a good start.
So let us pray for all those who are living in less than adequate conditions and face the world each day a little poorer because of our consumption. Let us pray for more sustainable solutions so that all might live a bit more freely in peace and security.