Saturday, October 17, 2015

How to be a green Catholic (with a little help from Boromir)

In September, Lux.teachings came to St. Martin de Porres in Luton. 42 young people came along to consider ‘How to Be a Green Catholic’.

We profess the most essential elements of our Catholic faith every time we say the creed at Mass (although sometimes we don’t think as carefully about the words as we could!) beginning, “I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven of earth…” As Fr. Michael pointed out in his talk, we don’t own this planet. God does. He created it, but he has entrusted humanity to look after it. We are stewards. When we talk about the environment, particularly in the context of our faith, we often hear about stewardship. Remember Sean Bean’s character in Lord of the Rings: Boromir? His family are the Stewards of Gondor: they are looking after the kingdom until The Return of the King - remind you of anything?!

So what if we get it wrong; do we get a second chance? We’ve only got one planet and it’s not easy to mend the damage we to do to it. To illustrate this, we had a go at ‘banana surgery’ in small groups. We sliced bananas into five pieces and then, using nothing but sellotape, paperclips and matchsticks, we tried to put our bananas back together again. Needless to say it wasn’t easy.

But how important is this passing world when we have faith? We know that one day God is going to bring about a new heaven and a new earth. In fact we are reminded of this a few times! Check out Isaiah 65:17, 2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1…

We put that question to the group, and we asked them to move around in the room, depending on how much they agreed with some thought-provoking statements. Consider the following for yourself:

One day God will bring about a new heaven and a new earth so actually it doesn't really matter what happens to this one 
Humans have dominion over all the creatures of the earth
The church should be more bothered about people’s soul than their carbon footprint

This generated some great discussion and we began to think about what it means to be good stewards. Then we considered some of the things the Pope said in his recent letter to every single person on the planet: Laudato Si’. (It means “Praise be to you”, which is the first line of a prayer written by St. Francis, a man who loved the environment!) CAFOD have made a great video explaining the Pope’s letter.

Being a green Catholic is also part of the call to love our neighbour. The way we use the world’s resources affects, not just the planet itself, but the people on it.  Our choices can lead to poverty, dirty water, and pollution. The bargain clothing we wear might be encouraging child slavery. Our gadgets and mobile phones may be turning working people into robots in countries with little concern for human rights. Much of the food we have is wasted, while others go hungry. There are lots of little things we can do however: from the things we spend our money on, to being more careful with the resources we use every day. Here are a few ideas you could think about.

And of course we can pray. Our evening finished in prayer and we remembered those around the world in need, and for ourselves: to have the heart to make a positive change! Thank you to Fr. Michael and all who attended. Check out the photos here.