I am grateful to find an expression of the importance of reflecting on this theme in relation to other themes of justice and care for one another, especially those who are most fragile and marginalized.
I have two simple reflections on my first read of the document.
1. I was struck by the range of voices and points of view that are brought into the conversation. True, one will search in vain for a single woman's voice. However, in addition to citing scripture, early Christian writers, popes and councils, the pope also cites current statements from bishops conferences and leaders from the orthodox churches. There is even a reference from a Sufi mystic. This is our common home. All of us, women and children, rich and poor, north and south, east and west, all of us live together on this earth. It is a beautiful and resilient home, but it is at risk from our abuse of its abundance.
2. The second point that struck me was the acknowledgement that the endangered state of our common home puts pressure on many other social, economic and political issues. It reminds me of my own house or office. When they are in disarray, it is harder to address any of the other issues that need attention. Likewise environmental decline means less usable water, less abundant and less nutritious food, increased disease pressure, more desperate people with 'nothing to loose'. So environmental decline also increases poverty, hunger, sickness, racism, gender inequality and violence. All of these issues are interrelated.
This can seem overwhelming, and in one sense it is. But it also empowers each of us to take up the cause. Each choice I make has an environmental impact:
- what I eat
- what I wear
- what I buy
- what I throw away
- how I set my thermostat
- where, how and how often I travel
- what I plant
Is this related to the theme of this blog: the future of religious life? I believe that it is. I believe that sisters and brothers join together to face the biggest challenges of society. Historically, we have nurtured and healed and educated in the most dire and overwhelming situations. Now we have a new challenge. As we come together in communities of praxis, let us listen attentively, live simply and love freely, in our common home, and for the sake of our common family.
Read it here.