Thursday 1 September was the second World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and Pope Francis has used the day to say that destroying our environment is a sin.
Pope Francis yet again showed his knack for surprises and his openness to “newness” by adding the care of creation to the traditional sets of both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Our eighth work of corporal and spiritual work of mercy is ‘To care for our common home’.
It calls for a “grateful contemplation of God’s world.” And “simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness” and “makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world.”
In his encyclical ‘Laudato Si” he had already appealed for urgent action on climate change and now that 2016 is looking like being the warmest year on record, he reiterates that this will inevitably contribute to even more drought, more floods and more extreme weather conditions around the world. Pope Francis goes on to say:
“Climate change is also contributing to the heart-rending refugee crisis. The world’s poor, though least responsible for climate change, are most vulnerable and already suffering its impact.”
He goes on to ask Catholics to use the Holy Year of Mercy to change our “selfish” system which is motivated by “profit at any price” and called for the Environment to be added to the seven Spiritual works of Mercy.
We are asked to reflect on a society that lacks concern for the destruction of nature and social exclusion. We are called to modify our consumerist lifestyles and make much more effort to reduce our consumption, reduce our waste, recycle, plant trees etc..
“…and to realise that when we hurt the Earth, we hurt the poor.”
Political and business leaders are urged to work for the common good and to stop thinking only of short term gains, but rather work towards resolving the “ecological debt” between the global North and the global South.
The Holy Father said that:
“Repaying that debt “would require treating the environments of poorer nations with care and providing the financial resources and technical assistance needed to help them deal with climate change and promote sustainable development.”
As Pope Francis reminds us in Laudato Si’
“all of us can co-operate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.”
Most of us want to live an active faith yet feel unsure about how to go about it. The seven Spiritual Works of Mercy help us. They are: Counselling the doubtful; instructing the ignorant; admonishing sinners; comforting the afflicted, forgiving offences; bearing wrongs patiently and praying for the living and the dead.
Click here if you would like more resources on the Year of Mercy.
We are very happy to come to your parish to give a short presentation on the Year of Mercy, please get in touch on 02920 344 883 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org