Source: Jesuit Institute South Africa
Reflection prepared by Annemarie Paulin-Campbell from the Jesuit Institute South Africa:
"If we learn how to listen, we can hear in the voice of creation a kind of dissonance. On the one hand, we can hear a sweet song in praise of our Beloved Creator; on the other, an anguished plea, lamenting our mistreatment of this our common home." (From Pope Francis's message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.).
In his message for the Season of Creation this year, Francis speaks of a sweet song inviting us to pay attention to God's presence in the natural world, reminding us that we are one with the rest of creation. Yet, simultaneously speaks of a "chorus of cries of anguish." The anguish of the earth; the anguish of species dying out and having their hymns of praise silenced; the anguish of the poorest peoples who feel most acutely the impact of climate change disasters - like the floods we experienced earlier this year in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Pope Francis reminds us of the pleas of native peoples as they see their lands invaded and devastated and of the challenge of young people pointing out that they and their children will experience the tragic consequences of our lack of care.
He calls for an "ecological conversion" of both individuals and of ourselves as a community, saying that there is a need for a covenant between human beings and the environment, which for us believers is a mirror reflecting "the creative love of God from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying."
There are "big picture" decisions to be taken by the COP15 summit in Montreal later this year on biodiversity, the reduction of carbon emissions by governments and industries, and the "ecological debt" of economically richer countries which need to support economically poorer countries who already bear the brunt of the climate crisis.
There are also the daily decisions that we make: choosing to eat more plant-based foods which take less natural resources and which prevent the unnecessary suffering of animals; recycling waste; conserving water; walking more and driving less; and remembering to bring our shopping bags and coffee mugs. It is tempting to believe that my tiny drop in the ocean of change cannot make a difference. But as Mother Theresa reminds us, "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."
What one act of caring for creation can I do today?