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Care For Our Common Home By Fr. Isidore Clarke, O.P.

Care For Our Common Home By Fr. Isidore Clarke, O.P.

"I think to myself, 'What a wonderful world!"Not only Louis Armstrong marvelled, so also did God Himself."Then God looked over all he had made, and He saw that it was very good!" (Gen. 1.31).

What is more, He, our Creator, has appointed us custodians of His handiwork.What a privilege! What a responsibility! Just think of it! God trusts you; God trusts me – with His precious world! He has placed it in our hands!

To a great extent we've done a pretty good job.We've learnt to improve plants and animals so that they can better feed a growing population; scientists are continuely discovering ways of improving our quality of life and conquering diseases.We have good reason to be proud of our achievements.

But these have come at a great cost.Short-sighted selfishness has led us to pollute the very air we breathe and the water we drink. Our health and well-being depend on them remaining wholesome.

As various species become extinct they can no longer give glory to their maker, simply by being themselves. Without them our lives are impoverished.Through the selfish greed and wastage of the wealthy world the people of the impoverished world starve.

Through our short-sightedness future generations will be deprived of their rightful heritage.We are failing them; we are failing in our God-given stewardship to protect, develop and share the fruits of the earth, which the 'Giver of All Good Things' has provided for the human family as a whole.

Pope Francis has responded to the world-wide concern for what he calls 'Our Common Home.'In the encyclical 'Laudati Si' he both proclaims the wonder of God's creation and deplores the way we are destroying it.He also urges us to reverse its decline by taking steps to preserve it.

More recently, he declared 1st Sept. 2016 to be a special day of prayer for the 'Care of Creation, Our Common Home.'

To re-enforce this need Pope Francis proposed 'Care of Our Common Home' as a new Work of Mercy, in addition to the traditional fourteen.He argues that if we look at the works of mercy as a whole, we see that the object of mercy is human life itself and everything it embraces.Obviously "human life itself and everything it embraces" must include care for our common home.

He develops this theme. As a spiritual work of mercy, care for our common home calls for a "grateful contemplation of God's world" (Laudato Si, 214) which "allows us to discover in each thing a teaching which God wishes to hand on to us" (ibid. 85). As a corporal work of mercy, care for our common home requires "simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness" and "makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world" (ibid. 230-31).

Only if we take Care of Our Common Home seriously will we and future generations be able to say, 'We think to ourselves, 'What a wonderful world!' Hopefully we will join the celestial chorus of"… every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, 'To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might
for ever and ever!'
(Rev. 5. 13).

Isidore Clarke, O.P.

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