Unbound offers a reflection focused on environmental themes as seen through the eyes of Unbound community members.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si (Praise Be to You).
When astronauts go into space, they often comment on a feeling of connectedness as they look back at Earth. There’s a sense that, “I am a part of that!” They realize, on a deeper level, they’re part of the life of the planet, part of the ecosystem.
Our faith teaches us that we are also an integral part of our human and natural ecosystem. It’s a central part of Ash Wednesday liturgy: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Again, we are not separate from the spaces in which we exist, but part of them.
Thus, we must treat our human and natural communities with the same care and consideration we give ourselves. While we build (roads, dwellings, connective technology), it’s holy to do so in harmony with the land and natural world rather than in opposition to them. This “right relationship” with the Earth and one another promotes health and well-being on many levels.
In the past few months, many of us have had great challenges and had to adapt to new ways of life. The Gospel teaches that such things can become opportunities to grow. One lasting benefit of 2020, with its reduced travel, slower pace and physical distance from one another, is that we’ve become more mindful of our connectedness. Going forward, we can become more intentional about remembering that connectedness and being better stewards of the Earth.
Copyright 2020 Unbound Outreach Call Representative Bridget Barry
Images (top to bottom): Pexels (2016); copyright 2020 Unbound.org, all rights reserved
About the Author
Unbound is an international nonprofit founded by lay Catholics grounded in the Gospel call to put the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable first. We build relationships of mutual respect and support that bridge cultural, religious and economic divides. We bring people together to challenge poverty in 18 countries. We invite you to join us. Find us on Facebook or Twitter.