Wednesday, 25 March 2020 05:54

Pastoral Instruction: Let us not put aside care for Mother Earth

My dear people of God in the Archdiocese of Manila,

During these quarantine days most of our attention is riveted to COVID 19. This is understandable because it is an invisible enemy perceived to be everywhere.This great concern on the coronavirus, however, may cloud our mind from other important matters that should call our constant attention. I speak most specifically of our care for Mother Earth, our common home. The global damage that COVID 19 does should make concrete to us the global destruction that will come upon us if we do not care for our common home.

In a way, this coronavirus phenomenon inadvertently has some positive effects for Mother Earth. The forced rest imposed on us by the virus also gives rest to Mother Earth. The factories that are shut down, the air, land and sea travels that are cancelled, the business buildings that are quiet – all of these, at least momentarily, bring down the CO2 emissions that we spew out to our skies. But more than these, we are forced to face some important realities of life. For one, that we are all interconnected. What happened  in Wuhan, China is now affecting all the world, and almost all aspects of our life. And if it is true that this virus came from animals, exotic at that, this tells us that we humans are bound to other living creatures as well.

Now that our life is constricted, we are seeing that it is possible to live an alternative lifestyle contrary to that which we had been so used to, and we thought we could not do without. We thought that we need to be always on the go, that we could buy things that we wanted, and easily throw away those that we do not want. Pope Francis told us in Laudato Si’: “Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life… one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption” (LS #222). Now we see a glimpse, and in fact, we may already enjoy it, that “LESS IS MORE.” It is spelled out thus: “Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little. It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack” (LS #222). Let us go through this again and reflect on it. Is this not what we are living now? Is it not liberating?

Hopefully these days of forced quarantine can help us see life anew and inculcate in us a way of life that is more friendly to our family and to our beloved Mother Earth.

To home in on us our responsibility to the environment, providentially we have EARTH HOUR this year on Saturday, March 28. EARTH HOUR started in Sydney in 2007 when businesses and residential houses turned off all lights for one hour to make a stand against climate change. Since then, it has been done annually all over the world, participated in by more people in all countries. In the Philippines this year we will be turning off the light from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. It will be very dramatic and felt by all families because we will all be at home. We will stay in darkness and in silence for an hour, hopefully to make us appreciate the importance of energy. If we squander it, we will be forced to do without it because energy too is scarce resource. As Christians let us spend this hour in prayer for our Mother Earth and for all those who defend and care for it.

Let us not be myopic. We are not only fighting against COVID 19. We are fighting for a better and healthier life. We cannot achieve this without a cleaner and healthier Mother Earth. We are reminded that: “The effects of our encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in our relationship with the world around us. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (LS #217).

In Mother Mary, the Word of God took flesh. Because of this “creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God” (Rom. 8:19). Together with us, creation awaits salvation.



Yours truly in Christ,

Apostolic Administrator of Manila

25 March 2020



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