There were many different coloured threads woven together throughout the Week. Here are some to give you are glimpse of the tapestry it formed from the various Zoom meetings online, with participants from all round the globe; translations were miraculously available in several languages.
Ditebogo, from the Youth Programme South Africa, described how the great river Limpopo near her home was drying up, and the crops were not growing so well for lack of moisture; this is what got her into advocacy and climate justice; she saw the lived reality of vulnerable people. Gregorio, from the Amazon region wore his indigenous multicoloured head-dress and called on and thanked the spirit of the earth, the spirit of the forest and the fire. Leaning on his spear he told us we are the guardians of life, we are alive, the trees are alive, we have solutions, give us the space where we can speak out. Stop killing us!’.
Severine from the Laudato Si Research Institute in Oxford, talked of the importance of bringing different disciplines together so no branch of wisdom and knowledge is left out. This is a challenge to research and curricula, and even more so for politics where that which is not working needs to be confronted. There is a crisis of relationality. Education is of great importance and needs to include the ecological virtues. Can we not find new economic models and a garden of encounter?
` it is a moral and theological imperative that we divest from fossil fuels’ said Fr Josh from the Dicastery of Integral Development clearly and unequivocably, Catholic institutions should divest.
Augusto, from the same Dicastery , talked of the health, economic, political and climate crisis as symptoms of rotten roots. The rotten roots need to be healed, and the soil nourished if we to leave behind our extractive mentality, our loss of feeling and empathy for others, our indifference, our consumerist mentality fostering a throwaway society. Ditebogo had talked earlier of our greed and loss of moral compass and the likelihood of irreversible damage done to the planet; she called for a just transition, dark threads indeed. Augusto then put before us the vision of roots restored where love can blossom, interpersonal, social and cosmic love. Let us imagine a world that we would like to live in.
An even darker thread was during a Zoom of songs celebrating biodiversity, an Anglican churchman who went to the door of his church and looking out on God’s creation, recited one after another, the names of the species lost in the last ten years, After each name the church bell tolled, as it had done for so many years for each member of the local community. Each species that was named was lost and gone for ever.
The question was asked, `is the Spirit moving?’ what do you see? We were urged to listen, to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor; but also to listen to the young, to silence and to the beauty of nature. Can we imagine a world in which we would like to live? There are solutions, so many of the young can see them, the indigenous people know them. The Lord’s creation is not for sale, a new universal solidarity is being woven – simple lifestyles, ecological education, ecological spirituality and community engagement, bright threads woven together by the Spirit, weaving together the wisdom of religions, the young and indigenous peoples. We are all interrelated and have a role to play.
The week ended with the launch of the Laudato Si Action Platform, creating a great social movement worldwide of the Catholics and others from the grassroots. More of this anon. This week was just the start!
A prayer from the Week: –
We thank you for the gift of life, which you lovingly wove into being.
We confess we have not card for your Creation, your world grows hotter, hungrier, sicker
And the people and the planet cry out for hope.
In your love Lord, we answer, for we know that things can change
Give us the courage to bring Laudato Si to life, to care for all communities and species
Suffering from environmental harm.
Bless all who labour for integral ecology
That they might inspire others to discover your face
In our suffering and beautiful world.
We ask this in Jesus’name.
Jessica Gatty ra