“Lord God, One and Three, awaken our praise and gratitude for every being you have created.
Give us the grace to feel intimately united with everything that exists.”
(Christian prayer with creation – by Pope Francis)
There is much talk, writing and discussion of a pandemic. Few, however, are concerned with indicating new paths towards a more humane and dignified coexistence. Pope Francis, the prophet of today, has already started a project: “Covid 19 – Building a better future”. To this end, it set up a Commission to which a great expert was also invited, the British Martin Palmer, director of Faith Invest, a group that bridges the world of religious entities and that of finance. The secret, according to the Pope, is to prepare the future and not prepare for the future.
It is interesting to see how the two encyclicals: Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Sì offer important elements to reverse the current situation and create a new model of society. According to Palmer, we too have adapted to the corrupted system, based on the cupidity and greed of the multinationals and banking systems that led to the collapse.
To reach the new, the secret is to take a step back, as the Second Vatican Council taught us, when it asked religious institutes to go back to their roots to understand how to proceed for the future. Thus, we had all been invited to a thorough study of the origins in order to progress with greater authenticity and security towards the future.
And this is precisely the recipe that Pope Francis and the Commission are showing us: go back, respect diversity, nature, fight the inequalities of opportunities, goods, access to health, technology, education, welcome the last ones, build a new way of living together, where we are. We value what we have in the community and do not fall into the wave of consumerism.
We, Benedictine Sisters of Divine Providence, are also involved in this process, both in our schools and in the various social and pastoral assistance and education activities. We are called to build a new human coexistence through solidarity in faith. Pope Francis says: Education will be ineffective, and its efforts will be sterile if it does not also concern itself with spreading a new model regarding the human being, life, society and the relationship with nature (LS 215). Without our work, conducted in silence, humility, without appearances, civil society would already have collapsed.
We welcome the teachings of Pope Francis with gratitude and faith. We must not give up this opportunity: the 2020 Pandemic has come to shake each of us and the whole of humanity from the exploitation and abuse of created things and from the domination of power. We are called to fight all kinds of pandemics. A society, a community, in which the different is respected, is much more resistant than any type of virus. The ecological crisis is a call for a profound interior conversion (LS 217). Let us reflect.
Ideas for reflections from Vatican News – Sister Maria das Dores Paz