Today, 4th October, is the feast of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, and the concluding day of the “Season of Creation”, the annual celebration of prayer and action for our common home. Together the various Churches and ecclesial communities around the world unite to protect and defend creation. Chiara Lubich invites us in this text to have a right relationship with the environment.
… Proposals are being made from many quarters to heal our sick world. … Young people are particularly sensitive to this issue and feel the need for radical changes in our relationship with the environment, in the relationship between individuals and states, and in the application of scientific knowledge. They also realise that environmental protection and peace-building are only possible if practised on a global scale. They are convinced that to reach the ideal of a united world, the primacy of people over science and technology must be highlighted. …
This means making a practical contribution, even a small one, to solving major problems. Our young people have understood this and have already started various initiatives that express a personal and collective ecological awareness in many respects, for example in the purchase of products that do not have a negative impact on the environment, in removing waste that pollutes the environment and in all choices that derive from a deep respect for nature.
It is by starting with small local problems that a moral conscience is formed, which can then tackle problems on a global scale. After all, ecology is a challenge that can only be met by changing mind-sets and forming consciences.
Many in depth scientific studies have shown that there is no lack of technical and economic resources to improve the environment. What is missing, however, is the additional mindfulness, a new love for humanity, that makes us all feel responsible for everyone, in the common effort to manage the earth’s resources in an intelligent, just and moderate way. Let us not forget that God the Creator has entrusted the earth to all men and women, and not just to one people or one group of people. The distribution of goods in the world, aid to the poorest nations, solidarity between North and South and between rich and poor is the other side of the ecological problem. …
The Bible, in its account of creation, teaches us that only in harmony with God’s plan do nature and human beings find order and peace. If people are not at peace with God, the earth itself is not at peace. …
If we discover that all creation is a gift from a Father who loves us, it will be much easier to find a harmonious relationship with nature.
At the same time if we also discover that this gift is for all members of the human family, and not only for some, we will be more careful and respect something that belongs to the whole of humanity, present and future.
(Letter from Chiara Lubich to Nikkyo Niwano – 1990, in POLI, R. e CONTE, A., Vita, salute, ambiente tra speranza e responsabilità, [Life, health, environment: between hope and responsibility] Cittá Nuova, Roma, 2021, pp. 32-34)
Good practice and activities: http://www.unitedworldproject.org/daretocare2021/