02/26/2019, 13.07
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Lent, conversion is also good for ecology

by Bernardo Cervellera

In the Message for Lent 2019, Pope Francis reiterates the urgency of a "human ecology" that returns to a relationship with God, eliminating "destructive behavior towards our neighbours and other creatures – and ourselves as well – since we begin to think more or less consciously that we can use them as we will". The "Laudato si '" and the (forgotten) "deviated anthropocentrism". Prayer, fasting, almsgiving are signs of a revolution that "also includes history and all creation".

Rome (AsiaNews) - Lent, the period that prepares Christians for Easter, pushing us to conversion, "is good for creation". This is the paradoxical affirmation found in the Message of Pope Francis for Lent 2019, released today.

The paradox lies in the fact that often the "conversion", to which the faithful are traditionally called, often appears a very intimate and perhaps ineffective thing,  conceived as a series of pious wishes and efforts of good will.

Instead, the Message continuously emphasizes that "journeying" towards Easter, "is a dynamic process that also embraces history and all of creation". And it reiterates: "When the love of Christ transfigures the lives of the saints in spirit, body and soul, they give praise to God. Through prayer, contemplation and art, they also include other creatures  ".

This linking the internal with the external, intention with the action is already a great contribution to our contemporary living often reduced to multifaceted schizophrenia, with actions reduced to robot mechanisms (just think about work ) and escapism to a virtual paradise devoid of any link to reality.

More importantly, the Pope suggests that in order to restore a positive balance to people and our relationship with reality, we need to overcome impiety.

The "ungodly" - says Francis - are "those who act without thought for God or hope for the future". And it is this lack of the fixed reference point  in God that produces disorder and violence: " when we fail to live as children of God, we often behave in a destructive way towards our neighbours and other creatures – and ourselves as well – since we begin to think more or less consciously that we can use them as we will. Intemperance then takes the upper hand: we start to live a life that exceeds those limits imposed by our human condition and nature itself".

Environmental destruction, ecological problems, are linked to this imbalance: "This rupture of communion with God likewise undermines our harmonious relationship with the environment in which we are called to live, so that the garden has become a wilderness (cf. Gen 3:17-18). Sin leads man to consider himself the god of creation, to see himself as its absolute master and to use it, not for the purpose willed by the Creator but for his own interests, to the detriment of other creatures".

Sin is not only the betrayal of an abstract precept, but " greed and unbridled pursuit of comfort, lack of concern for the good of others and even of oneself. It leads to the exploitation of creation, both persons and the environment, due to that insatiable covetousness which sees every desire as a right and sooner or later destroys all those in its grip".

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See also
Pope: May Lent bring Christ's hope to creation too
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Pope: Lent, charity means giving oneself, not just giving "things"
Pope: fasting against egoism, in order to learn to do the will of God
Pope: Lent, fasting means abstaining from evil and living the Gospel


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