Mystic Mantra: Care for Earth

What am I doing to make our home, the earth, a paradise for everyone, everywhere?

Our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.” This introductory sentence in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si (meaning, “Praise be With You!”) sets the tone for reflections on our common home — the earth — and our relationship with Her.
An encyclical is a papal exhortation to instruct and invite Catholics to respond to critical concerns. But this encyclical is addressed to “all people of goodwill”. Pope Francis opines: “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing and its human roots concern and affect us all.” So, let’s ask: What am I doing to make our home, the earth, a paradise for everyone, everywhere?

Pope Francis laments that “the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth” due to many reasons: pollution, wastage, a throwaway culture, selfish exploitation of the earth’s resources and lack of concern for the poor, who are worst affected and least equipped to cope with ecological crises. “It’s good for humanity and the world at large when we believers better recognise the ecological commitments which stem from our faith convictions,” writes the Pope. Expounding the Christian faith-foundations for care of the earth, he stresses the intricate interdependence of all God’s creatures — created to harmoniously interrelate in cosmic communion. Cosmic communion “recognises that other living beings have a value of their own in God’s eyes” and are extensions of our own body.

The religions of mother India can collaboratively inspire us to care for mother earth. The adivasi-tribal religions celebrate mother nature and foster an all-embracing sense of the sacred in their myths, culture, festivals and lifestyles. The vedas look at all beings — living and non-living — as subsisting by the same spiritual power. The whole universe becomes “one home” (ekaneedam) and one must transcend one’s ego (ahamkara) to enter into transcendental consciousness of the “Ground of all beings”.

The Quranic concepts of “khalifa” (trusteeship) and “tawheed” (the unity of all creatures) instruct Muslims to shoulder their responsibilities as guardians of Khuda’s creation, so as to bequeath a green earth for future generations. Buddha preached an ethic of universal harmony (dhamma), embracing not only human beings but all creatures. This engenders universal love with compassion (karuna), friendliness (metta), gentleness (mudita) and equanimity (upekha) towards all beings.

Ecology and economics have the same root, oikos, that in Greek means “home”. To care for our earthly home, we need creative, committed and collaborative “homework” among entrepreneurs, economists, scientists, politicians and policymakers worldwide. If what Pope Francis calls “integral ecology” becomes a reality, then all of creation will joyously sing, “Laudato Si!” Praised be God!

Francis Gonsalves is a professor of theology.
He can be contacted at

( Source : deccan chronicle )
Next Story