Yesterday’s DAY FOR LIFE message from the Irish Bishops’ Conference focused more on the environment. Here is what it said.
‘Faced with the sacredness of life and of the human person, and before the marvels of the universe, wonder is the only appropriate attitude.’ Letter of St John Paul II to Artists, 1999
Last year was the hottest on record. In a small village in the South East of India, a farmer called Jejabba braved the midday heat to take his cows to shelter by a mango grove. He arrived home dehydrated and died before he could reach a hospital. He was 63. Jejabba is not alone. Over 4,500 people in India and Pakistan died during last summer’s heatwave. Rising temperatures are making droughts more severe and floods more intense. The poor always suffer most.
On 18 June 2015, Pope Francis published his environmental encyclical Laudato Si’ (Praise Be), and in December of that year, the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement was signed. The pope reminded us powerfully that we are one human family sharing a common home, dependent upon one another and the whole of creation. It is our duty to ‘pay special attention to the most vulnerable.’ He said, ‘Neglecting to monitor the harm done to nature and the environmental impact of our decisions is only the most striking sign of a disregard for the message contained in the structures of nature itself. When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.’ (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ 117)
When we recognise and grow in wonder that we are all brothers and sisters living in one common home, it will not only affect how we care for the environment, but also how we care for one another and how we welcome and accept those with different needs and abilities, refugees, the elderly, the unborn, the forgotten and the abandoned.
Growing in wonder will help us to treasure more deeply the gift of human life.
A Prayer for Our Earth:
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. Amen