Most of us will now be aware of the issues that face the planet. We have come to a greater awareness of the beauty of all that surrounds us. With the advances of cameras and television, we are brought to the deepest oceans or the highest mountains in a moment. One commentator, the broadcaster David Attenborough, has shared his love of nature with the world.
It is a great misfortune that the negative elements in our understanding of ecology tend to win out over the positive. For example, the gradual heating of the planet is leading to rises in sea levels, loss of species and great loss of human life brought about by the extreme weather conditions. These elements can cause great fear that overwhelms the beauty of a bird singing or the smile of a child. These are some of the consequences, ensuing in the main from humankind’s pollution of the planet. An important prophet in this regard is the young Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg, rallying young people to social action.
Young people are indeed among the most affected by the climate crisis. It is their world that will be received damaged. And there is no planet B.
What can we do? Among the many voices raised came that of Pope Francis himself. 8 years ago this May he published a document Laudato Si’ – Praise to you which spoke of these issues of care for our common home at length. Such was the impact of the document and the many initiatives it stimulated, there was a celebration of prayer and shared actions from around the world on its first anniversary. This intense week has continued each year since and is entitled “Laudato Si’ Week”.
Today, 21st May, marks its beginning this year and it would be great if you (and your community/group) become part of its events. Laudatosi.org is the best place to start to get your information. One of the principal activities is showing the movie ‘The Letter’ which is a glimpse of Laudato Si’ work on each of four continents. It’s available free on YouTube – https://youtu.be/Rps9bs85BII – and is a good place to start your celebration of the week. Hopefully, the film will lead you to prayer and contemplation before the awesome creation that God has gifted us, and to move from that personal or, even better, communal space, to a time of looking at the world through the eyes of God.
On this day of The Ascension of Jesus we celebrate the handing over of the living of the gospel to us without His earthly presence as before. We are invited to take up our responsibility of living the gospel ourselves united as Church. Today, Pope Francis calls us to the protection and care of nature and our human and social selves in a spirit of integral ecology. This is a vital part of living out the gospel in an authentic way.
Happy Ascension Day. Happy Laudato Si’ Week.