Waiting, Beauty and Hope: Advent Reflection on Care

We need to care not only because caring is our birth right, or because we are driven by our natural desire for sustenance and life. We must care not only for our love of nature’s beauty nor  for our hope of an abundant life. We simply must care just as our Creator and Father cares.

 

GREEN SIGNIFES CARE

by Fr. Rex Rocamora 

Green signifies CARE.

Green symbolizes care for nature, for life and the fullness of life.  It also denotes health, comfort, growth, creativity, youth and adventure. All these good things are desirable in one’s life. Jesus affirms this when he told his disciples,” I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Greta Thunberg, a young Swedish environmental activist, went to the top of the world and declared that we have a climate emergency! Our “house” is on fire! Despite all the warnings given by scientists and eco-warriors like her, for the most part, business as usual goes on. There is so much apathy and indifference in people and in our world leaders.

While the Covid19 pandemic is raging, and everyone in strict quarantine, I have rediscovered gardening. I started planting tomato plants and papaya trees, and taking care of them which I found difficult to protect and grow. I had to learn that in caring for plants, I must care for the soil too. The green leaves of the papaya trees turned yellowish because worms are eating at the roots and cutting them off from the soil. My lack of knowledge about the components of soil is compounded by the fact that the soil in Manila is bad.

A colleague said that in the Philippines alone, 60% of the soil is washed out by many typhoons. It’s also not inaccurate to claim that it is also the result of rampant abuse in agribusiness, deforestation and mining.

Something is very wrong in our global economics. It is very wrong for an economy to be truncated from ecology! Our natural home is under threat and in heavy duress because of our irresponsible lifestyle and destructive activities. In 2020, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has reported that our ecosystem has seen a global species loss of 68% in less than 50 years, a catastrophic decline the likes of which we have never seen before.

David Attenborough, an English broadcaster and natural historian, in the face of climate change and biodiversity loss, wants us to re-wild the world, to give more space for forests to re-establish themselves. We must stop cutting trees. Trees are better alive than dead. They draw back down to the ground the carbon dioxide that is heating up the atmosphere. The roots of the trees embrace the soil and prevent them from eroding, averting floods.

Pope Francis, in his letter, Laudato Si’, is urging us to care for our Common Home.We are fighting a systemic problem on a global scale. To make a difference, we need to take care of the whole ecosystem and all its diverse life forms, including the forests, rivers, oceans and all living creatures.

Columban Fr Sean McDonagh wrote a book called, The Greening of the Church. Among other prophetic Columbans, he has been calling for ecological conversion, to care for the natural order of God’s creation and not be blinded by man’s fantasy of unlimited ‘progress’ and ‘development’. Otherwise, we will continue to suffer the consequences of our own doing leading to uninhabitable lands and an accursed planet that is no more than a big garbage pit, a hell on earth.

The recent floods in our country have reminded us once again of the dire importance of our forests that shield us from the devastating effects of natural calamities. I hope that our fervent passion for environmental protection lasts even long after we have recovered from our losses.

We need to care not only because caring is our birth right, or because we are driven by our natural desire for sustenance and life. We must care not only for our love of nature’s beauty nor  for our hope of an abundant life. We simply must care just as our Creator and Father cares. This world and this time, is very much a moment and a part of His eternal design.

We must, therefore, remember who we are, first and foremost. We are creatures of God. We exist because we are madly loved by God.May we love Him above all and also love all of our co-creatures.