It’s hard to know where to start. This week – as I have noted before – is LAUDATO SI week (Pope Francis and Dicastery for Integral Human Development) and Christian Unity week (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.) Now on top of that I discover that the ongoing mission of LAUDATO SI’, and promoting integral ecology, begins in families, the first stage in a 7 year journey to carry out the 7 goals of the LS Action Plan. Have we been told and if so by whom? Other stakeholders will be parishes, dioceses, schools, institutions, organisations and more. So we, as families have a great responsibility to make the world more eco-friendly and from our MARFAM perspective more family-and-eco friendly. Why? Because the world needs to be more family friendly, for a start, to combat many of the social ills that bedevil us. In fact it strikes me as really strange that this plan is a separate plan to what the family document, AMORIS LAETITIA, (Pope Francis and Dicastery for Laity, Family, Youth) has in mind, also a multi-year plan to strengthen families. Question: should those different initiatives not be “integrated,” to use their same term?
Last weekend, on 15th May, the UN International Day of Families (IDF) was held and also supported in a small way by the Vatican, but keeping up with all the various initiatives on top of managing our daily lives can be mind-boggling. The IDF theme was FAMILIES AND NEW TECHNOLOGY and we did look at its positives and negatives. Technology does give us easier access to the wider world of information and knowledge but can become excessively time consuming. As always it is a balancing act.
However, climate change is a reality and needs to be addressed by us as families as effectively as we can. Those in science and industry already contribute from their workplace. My Chris was an environmental engineer. Educators can and do build many related aspects into ecological education. The Catholic Church and all religions have a special role to focus on climate change, not just as a governmental, practical, financial and economic issue but also from the perspective of nature, which is God’s creation, and God’s expectations for us to CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME in the words of Pope Francis. All religions and cultural value systems do value creation as well as love of God and love of neighbour. Love is a particularly important dimension
It can be said that our nearest neighbours are those in our homes and our ecological conversion begins there in how we love one another and love all life. There we begin to care for the environment which is being destroyed daily by excessive use, destruction and waste. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE is a simple message that “covers a multitude of sins.” In LAUDATO SI Pope Francis refers to our social and environmental sin and the need to respond to “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” I find this is not always straightforward to understand. Our theme THE WORLD, A FAMILY OF FAMILIES highlights too that everything is connected, and is experiencing degrees of hardship, but who and what is most vulnerable, experiences this most deeply.
Considering the world as a family of families has practical aspects but also a spirituality. God is love. God is family. Plus the Church in Africa carries the image of FAMILY OF GOD. Family love is a unique, intimate expression of care, because we belong. If we could relate to everyone and everything as family, treat them with the love and respect that God has for each of us his creatures would we not be living in the footsteps of St Francis himself, who saw all of creation as brothers and sisters. Let us use our resources and join other Christians to pray this week for Unity in dealing with spiritual and social issues. TR FAMILY WEEKLY 20 May.
So now, please join me, Toni, at our 2021 LAUDATO SI – LOOKING WITH FAMILY EYES presentation where we try to bring some of the resources together and explore that Family is Hope for the World. It will be available from 20th May on YouTube, Facebook and twitter and on 23rd May broadcast on Radio Veritas. This is presented in collaboration with MARFAM, Johannesburg Archdiocese Marriage and Family Life Office and Judy Stockill from Justice and Peace Commission contributes too. See the poster flyer for info. Go to https://marfam.org.za/laudato-si to find latest details. Visit #laudatosiweek for much more