In today’s readings, the people of the city Nineveh proclaim a fast to repent of their sins and to seek God’s forgiveness. The king of Nineveh proclaims that “every man shall turn from his evil way and from the violence he has in hand.”
Through a Lenten examination of our conscience, we can give thanks for God’s gift of creation and recognize in “loving awareness that we are not disconnected from the rest of creatures, but joined in a splendid universal communion.” (Laudato Si’, 220)
We see signs of our sins in our wounded creation reflected in the “symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.” (Laudato Si’, 2). Our society, driven by a “throwaway culture,” discards not only things but people as “leftovers,” whether it is the poor and vulnerable who suffer most from climate change or indigenous peoples who have been displaced from their lands or seen their water contaminated due to an economic system that prioritizes profit over people and the common good.
Throughout Lent, let us answer Pope Francis’ call to spiritual and ecological conversion, rejecting a throwaway culture and embracing a culture of solidarity. Let us examine our lifestyles, take steps to live more simply, reduce our consumption, and be conscious of how our choices impact our brothers and sisters at home and around the world.
As Pope Francis reminds us, “We must not think that these efforts are not going to change the world. They benefit society, often unbeknown to us, for they call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread” (Laudato Si’, 212).
- Where do you see a need for spiritual and ecological conversion in your own life?
- How can you take steps to reject our “throwaway culture,” prioritizing people and the common good over possessions and profit?
Cecilia Calvo is the senior advisor on environmental justice of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States’ Office of Justice and Ecology. Calvo is an expert on environmental issues, including climate change, children’s health, and natural resource policy, and has worked domestically and internationally to help respond to these challenges. Previously, Calvo worked at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, coordinating the environmental justice program.