“Let justice flow on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.”
This Message by Pope Francis is a meditation for conversion and action that can inspire a change in the way we live. He writes that just as the heart of a baby in the womb beats in harmony with the mother, so also we need to harmonise our own rhythms of life with those of creation, which gives us life.
During this Season of Creation, let us dwell on those heartbeats: our own and those of our mothers and grandmothers, the heartbeat of creation and the heartbeat of God. Today they do not beat in harmony; they are not harmonised in justice and peace.”
Pope Francis recalls that Pope Benedict XVI once observed how external deserts are growing due to internal deserts that have become so vast.
We need to act urgently, to create a more sustainable and just world, the Pope notes also referring to grave warnings from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And he stresses it is possible to prevent the worst from happening if we all unite to come up with more sustainable ways to live now and for the future, and he reiterated that much can be done if we come together.
Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation
In looking especially at Christian communities, the Pope writes that we can all contribute to change for good by “resolving to transform our hearts, our lifestyles, and the public policies ruling our societies.”
Transforming our hearts is a key starting point and this “ecological conversion” that Saint John Paul II encouraged us to embrace, the Pope writes, involves “the renewal of our relationship with creation so that we no longer see it as an object to be exploited but cherish it instead as a sacred gift from our Creator.”
We need to change the way we live
With the help of God’s grace,” he adds, “Let us adopt lifestyles marked by less waste and unnecessary consumption, especially where the processes of production are toxic and unsustainable.”
The things we can all do are many, the Pope continues, such as using resources with moderation, recycling waste, using available products and services that are environmentally and socially responsible.
Finally, we, need to look at our public policies, especially “economic policies that promote scandalous wealth for a privileged few and degrading conditions for many others,” as they mean they gravely threaten peace and justice.
Issuing an appeal to make our voices heard to halt this injustice towards the poor and the future generations who will bear the worst effects of climate change, the Holy Father asked for action in conformity of these perspectives on society and nature.
He concluded, that “our synodal Church must be a source of life for our common home and all its inhabitants… sowing justice and peace in every place it reaches.”
In this Season of Creation, as followers of Christ on our shared synodal journey, let us live, work and pray that our common home will teem with life once again. May the Holy Spirit once more hover over the waters and guide our efforts to ‘renew the face of the earth.’”
You can read the full Message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation 2023