Fifteen years before the encyclical “Laudato Sì”, a United Nations document appeared entitled “The Earth Charter.” The United Nations commissioned a group of experts and various organizations to draft it in 1997. Three years later, in 2000, “The Earth Charter” was released worldwide, translated into 30 languages. Immediately it acquired great diffusion and recognition in all countries. The letter outlines the urgent challenges facing our planet, formulates proposals for change, and sets shared goals to carry them out. The Letter is prophetic because the Spirit of the Risen One fills the earth and finds accomplices where one would least expect it. Pope Francis, in his Encyclical (LS, 207) connects with it and notes that “we have not yet developed a universal consciousness that makes this possible.” And he adds—with humility!—: “I dare to propose again that precious challenge: … a call to seek a new beginning … the awakening of a new reverence for life.”
The techno-economic paradigm
The techno-economic paradigm has been imposed on humanity—Pope Francis says.
- Its objective is to mass-produce and promote compulsive, obsessive and voracious consumerism:
- People try to fill their own emptiness with objects to buy and consume (LS, 202-204).
- The effect of this paradigm is devastating. it is unbalancing the ecological balance of our planet, wasting its resources, polluting its air and waters, destroying its biodiversity.
- This paradigm must disappear. We must free ourselves from it, opt for a good and regenerate ourselves.
- We need a new education: to bring to light what is already sown in us because there is no system that completely nullifies our openness to good, truth and beauty.
Fifteen years later, the Encyclical Laudato Sì followed the Earth Charter. In it, Pope Francis recovers the Theology of Creation: a perspective blurred by the Theology of Redemption and sin. The Spirit moves us pedagogically and from different levels. And … then the “Millennium Goals” will come.
The Spirit, the great caretaker of the earth
Many people skeptically wonder if there will be a remedy for the deterioration that our planet is reaching. Not a few predict a threatening future for the next generations: overpopulation (more than 11 billion inhabitants in 2100) and scarcity of resources. Will we be in time to avoid it? Will we be able to do it?
The Creator, God the Father-Mother, so loved our planet, our cosmos, that he sent us his Beloved Son and poured out his Spirit on us. The Spirit sent on mission invites us to collaborate with Him in caring for the earth. It must always be the “common house” and the scene of the most extraordinary biodiversity. That is the faith that the psalmist so beautifully proclaimed:
“The Holy Spirit of God visit the earth and water it, make it abundantly fertile.”Psalm 65:9
Accomplices of the Spirit!
This is how faith is expressed in the ecology of the Spirit! The Spirit cares for the earth and enriches it without measure. But the Spirit of God never acts alone. He does not want a paralyzed or consumerist humanity, but active and responsible. Wherever the Spirit is, his charisms are poured out, like sparks from a great Fire. Wherever the Spirit finds availability, charismatic people arise in humanity through whom He cares for the earth and enriches it without measure. They are the accomplices of the Spirit! This leads Pope Francis to proclaim:
“Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning. We are able to take an honest look at ourselves, to acknowledge our deep dissatisfaction, and to embark on new paths to authentic freedom. No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to his grace at work deep in our hearts. I appeal to everyone throughout the world not to forget this dignity which is ours. No one has the right to take it from us.”Pope Francis, Laudato Sì, n. 205.
Movements of people arise who fight against those companies and those products that pollute. And they do it betting on another lifestyle. They are aware that buying is not only an economic activity but above all, a moral act. Those citizen movements are capable of blocking the profits of such companies and pressuring them to produce in another way.
“If someone has not learned to stop and admire something beautiful, we should not be surprised if he or she treats everything as an object to be used and abused without scruple.”
Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 215
Therefore, profound changes are needed to end the consumer paradigm—which is transmitted to us by the media and the effective gears of the market. The new paradigm awaits us: that of reverence for life… We are facing a “new beginning”.
Santa Ruah, You have the Trinitarian mission to carry it out, to create conclusions, to finish works, to make goodness, beauty, and truth emerge. You take care of the land; you water it and enrich it without measure … but you count on us. You are the Holy Ruah who sanctifies, who makes us transparent, luminous beings, little by little inhabitants of a new world that we are not capable of understanding. Keep us away from the techno-economic paradigm and transform us into caretakers of the earth and accomplices of a new beginning, Creative and Innovative Spirit.
SHINE, JESUS, SHINE
At Royal Albert Hall, London
English Translation: Fr. Alberto Rossa, cmf