Thursday, October 31, 2019

For Our Common Home

Written by  Michael LeBlanc

Guest post from Michael LeBlanc, our parish's representative for Development and Peace.

 

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by something you had to do? Some duty or responsibility that just seemed un-do-able no matter which way you looked at it?

Sometimes it's because we’re afraid by the sheer scope of the task. Or, maybe, it’s the demands and hardships it places on our loved ones. Other times it may be because we don't even know where to begin. We may even ask “Why, God?”

I have often found in approaching complex tasks it often helps to separate out the “why questions” from the “how questions” and start with the whys. This is where our faith can guide us. It was God's mission and purpose that inspired our modern day saints like Mother Theresa and John Paul II. They responded to God's call in their lives and it was their faith that led them to action. They asked whys and found answers in the person of Jesus Christ.

Photo Credit: Greenpeace

Pope Francis reminds us that our faith can help us see with new eyes the plight of the poor and the natural world that we all live in. In Laudato Sí Pope Francis reiterates the call of Jesus Christ and the responsibility of the Church to look after and preserve the natural world. For us Catholics, Jesus Christ is our Alpha, and he leads us - through the pope, the bishops, clergy, consecrated and all the lay faithful - to an ever deepening relationship with him in all of our duties and tasks. In the encyclical Pope Francis identifies common, constant threads in history when viewed through the lens of faith -- namely, that in preserving and living in harmony with nature we give praise to God and also discover him in the world around us.

There's no delicate way to say this: this blog post is a plea for help. In the previous months various political forces in Brazil and other countries have led to forest fires being started throughout the Amazon region. After this land is burned the land is then reappropriated to ranchers, prospectors and other land development interests. Over 65 million people call the Amazon their home. Because of these forest fires as well as the collapsing ecology of the region, their homes and livelihoods are threatened (this is sadly not a new situation nor is the Amazon the only rainforest being burned in this way). Development and Peace has partnered with various agencies including a network of the Catholic dioceses.of the Amazon (REPAM) and the Brazilian Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) to try to protect the homes, livelihoods, and the entire ecology of the Amazon rainforest. 

How can we help? Development and Peace has written a letter of solidarity to which they hope to add 65,000 signatures (Link is here: https://www.devp.org/en/campaign/forourcommonhome/action or google “development and peace amazon letter”). You can also participate in a national conversation aimed at raising political awareness since many of the offending companies in Brazil are registered in Canada and there are upcoming trade deals with Brazil (i.e., MERCOSUR). And of course we can and should consider sharing our financial resources this lent or year round  with Development and Peace. Together we can heed the call of the Saviour, “Come, follow me, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.” This burden is not light because of anything we do but because of whom we do it for. May we continue to discover Christ in this way as he makes our burdens light, all the while we try to lighten the loads of others.

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