“The Lord give you peace!”
Dear Brothers, I would like to share some activities and ideas of our Laudato Si’ Revolution.
Ideas level. The first thought is that all ideas that have to do with the common house, the creation, are ideas that have hands and feet. They cannot just remain speeches. This principle guides every type of initiative.
In the meetings it is good practice – in order to listen to creation – to place an empty chair (perhaps on the guest table) with the words “Nature”, or “Creation”, or “Environment”, or “Biodiversity”, or “Climate”, or “Blue Continent”, etc. To provoke reflection on the fact that it is we human beings who speak and decide for her; but she speaks in another way: she responds and / or returns in according with our more or less responsible behaviors and interactions.
Another aspect: at each meeting there must be a decision to adopt, a practice that becomes a lifestyle: how to dispose of waste, plant trees, cultivate, consume responsibly, orientate towards renewable energies, concrete actions to manage the water resource, as you can see in the pictures of solar panels in a village, where we assist in pastoral service.
Another level of commitment of our Franciscan Mission is to contribute not only to community dissemination of these ideas and practices, but to intervene with the weak political authorities so that they develop responses in the same direction, without which we’ll continue to sink into a sea of garbage increasingly visible. The recycling and reuse of things is imperative if we want to allow others to exist tomorrow. We are literally consuming a world of billions of years, reducing its visible mass in favor of a human being who lives a few years and then disappears…
This is pushing us to reflect on what and how we build buildings for different purposes. Example: when we have exhausted the graves with what will we build? Will we tear down old buildings to recycle their material? Will we better reuse existing buildings? Will we finally plant millions of trees to go back to building wooden houses because the plants grow back while the graves don’t? Will we change lifestyle …?
All these ideas / practices carry a brand, which as JPIC animator in Guinea-Bissau, I wanted to call Green African Generation to prevent the green continent from becoming too yellow (desertification), as we are already experimenting. That is, any human activity has to deal with its environmental sustainability. It must be eco-compatible. It guarantees the life not only of the environment, but of ourselves that we are part of creation that we cannot ignore.
To close with a current reflection: we cannot limit ourselves to fighting an invisible Coronavirus also by using human-made respirators for oxygen, when we continue to kill the natural oxygen reserve that is plants and marine organisms. The words of the recent victim of racism George Floyd I can’t breathe, are an alarm signal for the whole of humanity: we all risk not being able to breathe anymore …
We can revolution and renovate our alliance with Mother Nature. With the intercession of Saint Francis, we believe that wherever our sandals leave a footprint, it will be a loving ecological response to God’s gift of life.