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Reflection on our common home
The UN Biodiversity Report calls us to action Posted September 25th 2019
By Sister Margaret Heeran mshr
Pope Francis writes “It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation. ……….Joined to the incarnate Son, present in the Eucharist, the whole cosmos gives thanks to God. Indeed the Eucharist is itself an act of cosmic love; yes cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world. The Eucharist joins heaven and earth; it embraces and penetrates all creation. …………. Thus, the Eucharist is also a source of light and motivation, directing us to be stewards of all creation.” (Excerpts from Laudato Si 236)
The UN Report on Biodiversity is devastating in its assessment of what we have done and where we are heading. It is sobering reading in the light of Pope Francis’ call to us to be stewards of all creation. We have poisoned our environment and water sources causing climate change and now we are told we have killed off much of our biodiversity. The independent, intergovernmental body comprising more than 130 member governments finds that “nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history –—— and the rate of species extinction is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely.” (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services; IPBES)
Planetary biodiversity is “humanity’s most important life-supporting safety net that is being stretched almost to breaking point. The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever.” (IPBES) Finding that more than one million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, and at a greater pace than ever in human history, the UN report warns: “We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.” (IPBES)
What have we done to Mother Earth, our home? We have polluted the habitats of insects, animals and birds. We have drained wetlands and poisoned species on land and in our water system with toxins from industry and domestic use. We are well aware of the devastation in the seas caused by plastic ——-the list goes on and on. Now the cry of the earth has been brought to the fore by the UN biodiversity report.
“Through transformative change humanity still has the opportunity to conserve, restore and sustainably nurture nature’s bounty so that the full complexity of global biodiversity may fully thrive.” (IPBES)
Pope Francis reminds us that the Eucharist joins heaven and earth; it embraces and penetrates all creation. In the sacramental celebration of the Eucharist where bread and wine, fruits of the earth and work of human hands are used, heaven and earth are joined. It calls us to live Christ’s compassion at the heart of the Eucharistic celebration; then we will feel obliged to be part of a transformation that is urgently needed to save our planet for future generations.
“Transformative change begins by drastically reducing our consumption of animal protein and sugar while increasing our consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes by fifty percent. As we change ourselves through healthier diets, we can contribute to the indispensable collective work of transforming our food system for the full thriving of planet earth and all of its biodiversity.” (Alex Mikulich, NCR, May 11, 2019)
Pope Francis ends Laudato Si with a prayer: A Christian prayer in union with creation: the last few lines read: (but the entire prayer calls for reflection)
“The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future.
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to You!