The Season of Creation, as many of you might know, is an ecumenical event that is taking place worldwide between the 1st September and today the 4th October, the feast of Francis of Assisi. This saint is the inspiration behind the first words of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, which is medieval Italian for "Praise be to you”. Saint Francis looked at all of creation and in it found all the reasons to praise God, the Creator.
By choosing these words from St. Francis’ ‘Canticle of the Creatures’, Pope Francis wanted to remind us that a spirituality which forgets God as the loving Creator leads us to usurp the place of God, even to the point of claiming an unlimited right to trample his creation (Laudato Si’, 75).
The quaint village of St Julian’s and its surroundings are today highly commercialised and have been exploited for the maximum gains of some.
The Pope also refers to the calling of each creature by the name of brother or sister and says that if we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs (Laudato Si’, 11). One need not look far to see the result of such a relationship - the quaint village of St Julian’s and its surroundings are today highly commercialised and have been exploited for the maximum gains of some.
Laudato Si’ reminds us that the Creator has given us the dignity to be co-creators with him. The Catholic Church has always stressed the notion of the common good which it defines as “the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfilment” (Gaudium et Spes, 26).
The Pope in fact notes that it is not just nature that is threatened: “together with the patrimony of nature, there is also an historic, artistic and cultural patrimony which is likewise under threat” (Laudato Si’, 143).
For Pope Francis all this is interconnected and an integrated approach to a complex crisis is required. He writes, “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, at the same time protecting nature” (Laudato Si’, 142).
It is what the Pope calls an integral ecology, which ultimately is the promotion of life – he continues, “if everything is related, then the health of a society’s institutions affects the environment and the quality of human life. Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment” (Laudato Si’, 142).
In essence, as we gather here today to ponder upon the different perspectives which promote the necessity to care for creation, let us not forget the interconnectedness presented to us by Pope Francis; that one cannot work for a better environment without working for a society of justice and peace, a society that promotes and protects human life. Thank you.
The Vicar General, Fr Joe Galea Curmi