MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE II FORUM OF THE LAUDATO SI COMMUNITIES
Amatrice, 6 July 2019
I extend a cordial greeting to the organizers and participants of the II Forum of the Laudato Si communities, which is celebrated in an area devastated by the earthquake that struck central Italy in August 2016 and which more than others paid a very high price in number of victims.
It is a sign of hope that we find ourselves in Amatrice, whose memory is always present in my heart, focusing on the imbalances that devastate our "common home". Not only is it a sign of closeness to so many brothers and sisters who still live in the ford between the memory of a terrible tragedy and the reconstruction that is slow to take off, but also expresses the desire to make loud and clear resound that the poor pay for the higher price than environmental devastation. The wounds inflicted on the environment are inexorably wounded to the most defenseless humanity. In the Encyclical Laudato si ’I wrote:« There will not be a new relationship with nature without a new human being. There is no ecology without adequate anthropology "(n. 118).
After having dealt with the issue of plastic that is suffocating our planet last year, today you reflect on the grave and no longer sustainable situation of the Amazon and the peoples who inhabit it. You are thus inspired by the theme of the Synod of Bishops that will be celebrated next October for the Pan-Amazon region and of which the Instrumentum laboris was recently presented.
The situation in Amazonia is a sad paradigm of what is happening in many parts of the planet: a blind and destructive mentality that prefers profit to justice; highlights the predatory attitude with which man relates to nature. Please don't forget that social justice and ecology are deeply interconnected! What is happening in the Amazon will have repercussions on a planetary level, but it has already prostrated thousands of men and women robbed of their territory, who have become foreigners in their own land, depleted of their own culture and traditions, breaking the millennial balance that united those peoples to their land. Man cannot remain an indifferent spectator in the face of this destruction, nor can the Church remain silent: the cry of the poor must resound in his mouth, as St. Paul VI already pointed out in his Encyclical Populorum progressio.
Promoted by the Church of Rieti and Slow Food, the Laudato Communities are committed not only to sound the teaching proposed in the homonymous Encyclical, but to foster new lifestyles. In this pragmatic perspective, I wish to give you three words.
The first word is doxology
In the face of the good of creation and especially before the good of man who is the summit of creation, but also guardian, it is necessary to assume the attitude of praise. In the face of so much beauty, with renewed wonder, with childlike eyes, we must be able to appreciate the beauty we are surrounded by and of which man is also woven. Praise is the fruit of contemplation, contemplation and praise lead to respect, respect becomes almost veneration before the goods of creation and its Creator.
The second word is the Eucharist
The Eucharistic attitude before the world and its inhabitants knows how to grasp the gift status that every living being carries within itself. Everything is delivered to us for free, not to be plundered and swallowed up, but to become in turn a gift to be shared, a gift to be given so that joy can be for everyone and, therefore, be greater.
The third word is asceticism
Every form of respect arises from an ascetic attitude, that is, from the capacity to know how to renounce something for a greater good, for the good of others. Asceticism helps us to convert the predatory attitude, always lurking, to take the form of sharing, of ecological, respectful and polite relationship.
I hope that the Laudato Communities will be the germ of a renewed way of living the world, to give it future, to preserve its beauty and integrity for the good of every living, ad maiorem Dei gloriam.
I thank you and I bless you heartily. Pray for me!
From the Vatican, 6 July 2019
FULL TEXT + Image shared from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation