September 09, 2016
Today, Pope Francis released a beautiful message to the world on the occasion of World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. The message is worth reading in its entirety and can be found here:
The message is imbued with the spirit of the Year of Mercy and structured upon an examination of conscience and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Pope Francis writes: “After a serious examination of conscience and moved by sincere repentance, we can confess our sins against the Creator, against creation, and against our brothers and sisters.” Pope Francis continues in the next paragraph, writing that “Examining our consciences, repentance and confession to our Father who is rich in mercy lead to a firm purpose of amendment. This in turn must translate into concrete ways of thinking and acting that are more respectful of creation.”
To underscore a few highlights, Pope Francis asked all of us to undergo an examination of conscience and to see that:
As individuals, we have grown comfortable with certain lifestyles shaped by a distorted culture of prosperity and a “disordered desire to consume more than what is really necessary” (Laudato Si’, 123), and we are participants in a system that “has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature.” Let us repent of the harm we are doing to our common home.
In 2002, St. John Paul II revised how we pray the rosary, inserting the Luminous Mysteries. In a similar move, this document adds one to both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The new, eighth spiritual work of mercy is “grateful contemplation of God’s world,” and the eighth corporal work of mercy is “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.”
Here at The Human Thread we resonate deeply with this message from our Holy Father. We humbly suggest that our work with the St. Vincent Pledge, which is a simple daily gesture, and our actions on behalf of garment workers and care of creation provide an explicit way to live this new corporal work of mercy.
We join with Pope Francis, who wrote:
The protection of our common home requires a growing global political consensus. Along these lines, I am gratified that in September 2015 the nations of the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, and that, in December 2015, they approved the Paris Agreement on climate change, which set the demanding yet fundamental goal of halting the rise of the global temperature. Now governments are obliged to honour the commitments they made, while businesses must also responsibly do their part. It is up to citizens to insist that this happen, and indeed to advocate for even more ambitious goals.
We believe that our work at The Human Thread is deeply aligned with the message of our Holy Father. We also keenly see that citizens must hold governments and business accountable to do their part in the care of creation and the protection of the most poor and vulnerable.