March 13. Milly brought a school project she had worked on. “Loss of biodiversity is a very serious matter and I have discovered it is often neglected because of short-sighted approaches, like just looking at the economy. Indigenous forests are bulldozed to plant nut trees, that mainly produce for the export market and make money for the farmers or developers, rather than protect the environment. Corrupt leaders and their police and armies buy off critics. Each year thousands of plant and animal species disappear due to our human activity, poaching, and reduction in their habitat for their livelihood needs.
Pope Francis: Good ecosystems even require worms and insects to feed the soil and care for the plants. Because of us, these species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence. LS 33. The book of nature is one and indivisible and includes the environment, life, sexuality, the family, social relations. The deterioration of nature is closely connected to the culture which shapes human coexistence. The natural and the social environment have suffered damage due to an evil, the notion that there are no indisputable truths to guide our lives and that our human freedom is limitless. The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves. LS6
Everything is connected. We, people are part of a much greater ecosystem of the whole universe and bear a great responsibility for it. St Francis and his brothers chose complete poverty, calling her Lady Poverty and they chose to become one with nature and all of creation. St Francis preached to the birds and St Anthony preached to the fishes.
From the Little Flowers of St Francis. St Francis saw on some trees by the wayside a great multitude of birds; and being much surprised, he said to his companions, “Wait for me here whilst I go and preach to my little sisters the birds.” He began to preach to the birds on the ground, and suddenly all those also on the trees came round him, and all listened. Brother Masseo observed how St Francis went among them and even touched them with his garments, and how none of them moved. The substance of the sermon was,“My little sisters the birds, ye owe much to God, your Creator, and ye ought to sing his praise at all times and in all places, because he has given you liberty to fly about into all places; and though ye neither spin nor sew, he has given you a twofold and a threefold clothing for yourselves and your offspring. Two of all your species he sent into the Ark with Noe that you might not be lost to the world; besides which, he feeds you, though ye neither sow nor reap. He has given you fountains and rivers to quench your thirst, mountains and valleys in which to take refuge, and trees in which to build your nests; so that your Creator loves you much. Beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praise to God.”
As he said these words, all the birds began to open their beaks, to stretch their necks, to spread their wings and reverently to bow their heads to the ground, by their motions and by their songs manifesting their joy to St Francis. And the saint rejoiced with them. He wondered to see such a multitude of birds, and was charmed with their beautiful variety, with their attention and familiarity, for all which he devoutly gave thanks to the Creator. Having finished his sermon, St Francis made the sign of the cross, and gave them leave to fly away.
Scripture. What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away. I have slain them by words of my mouth. For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, the knowledge for God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:1-6.
Pope Francis: The creation accounts suggest that human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself. These have been broken, both outwardly and within us. This rupture is sin. LS66.
Reflect, share, act, pray. Lent is about repentance for evil and wrongdoing. An examination of conscience can examine sins against the environment.