September 1, 2020 is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and this is an important opportunity to celebrate the richness of the Christian faith as an expression to protect our common home.
As followers of Christ, we share a common role as stewards of God’s creation, our well-being is linked to the well-being of our mother earth. It is also a moment of renewing our hearts and minds, and in rebuilding our relationship with Mother Earth, we are restoring our relationship with God.
In these months in which our globalised world has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, we became aware of our shared human nature and how interconnected the political, economic, social, spiritual and cultural dimensions are. We realised how unjust systems created the environment for the spread of diseases, how fragile our lives are, and how vulnerable we were before the virus. The pandemic also became an opportunity for us to joins hands to defend lives and ensure that we do not fall victims of the virus. It is also an opportunity for a new form of solidarity to emerge.
Caritas members started to work with local communities to fight against the spread of disease. As our globalised world got viral, we continued to spread what our President, Cardinal Tagle called the “pandemic of love and solidarity”, which continues to take form in different parts of the world.
On this particular World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Caritas Internationalis proposes to reflect on our roles and responsibilities in building a just and equitable society which would give the possibility for each and every one of us to live in dignity and in harmony with Mother Earth. As Christians, our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God, and COVID-19 must be for us a call to respect our common home.
As Pope Francis reminded us during his catechesis on August 26th, this home was given by God to the whole human race, and as stewards of creation, we are called to ensure that its fruits, are in fact shared by all. But unfortunately the reality that we observe every day doing our work alongside local communities around the world is far from this. Local communities are the first victims of the failure to safeguard our common home and today they are asking us for targeted and immediate action, especially concerning food security, access to water and ecosystem preservation.
Caritas is convinced that integral human development can be promoted only if:
- life is protected and nurtured and the sustainability of ecological, economic, social and political systems are ensured. It is the responsibility of each one of us to assume this individually and collectively.
- human beings’ unique capacities of knowledge, will, freedom and responsibility are recognised. Otherwise we cannot expect them to feel responsibility for the world. Everywhere in the world, Caritas is committed to building the capacity of the people and raising their awareness at the grassroots level.
- the post COVID-19 new start will consider the new, just and sustainable ways of living by taking into consideration the interconnected relationship between the respect for the earth and ecological, economic, social and political ways of living.
- all decision makers adopt and implement courageous policies to preserve the environment
On this particular day, Caritas Internationalis joins the Holy Fathers’ call to take bold steps in order to safeguard our common home, pray and act for building a community of solidarity and love.