“At Mass, not a word about ecology! »
Eric de Kermel is sorry for the absence of prayers for nature and the living in most Catholic masses. For him, it is the result of an anthropocentric vision that corresponds neither to the biblical message nor to the encyclicals of Pope Francis.
I recently participated in a gathering of Catholics engaged in society. As it should be during such a meeting, a mass brought us together, many. And from there was born my perplexity at the origin of this column.
Whether at the time of prayer intentions or the homily, not a word about ecology. We prayed for the sick, the migrants, the families, those who have left us, the entrepreneurs… we prayed for us…
An anthropocentric prayer, forgetting the invitation made by Pope Francis to consider our mother-sister earth differently, thereby extending the idea of fraternity to the rest of the living world. How dare a eulogy of the future that is not ecological constantly reminds us, especially the youngest?
These young people who, a few days earlier, had sprinkled Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” with tomato sauce at the National Gallery in London. Action having provoked an offended reaction from less young people finding it very violent to stain the protective glass of the famous painting. During mass, I thought of our famous heritage days where each year we celebrate the extraordinary beauty of our castles, our churches, our palaces, our museums… There too, in a very anthropocentric approach since only heritage from the “hand of man” is honored.
There is, in the moment in which we live, a growing gap and incomprehension, between those who cry foul about a dirty window in a museum, and those who, by this gesture, denounce the ever more disproportionate attacks and permanent damage that is legally suffered by nature, whether on land, in our forests, or in the sea. Where is the violence?
If we believe, and we believe, don’t we, in the power of prayer, in the power of this moment which brings together everyone’s energies in a common intention which goes beyond us and also sets us in motion, it is it is essential that these moments be an opportunity to express our empathy not only towards our fellow human beings. We are OF nature, it is a biological evidence that confirms the story of our biblical genesis. As the philosopher Baptiste Morizot invites us to do, it is urgent to start a diplomatic dialogue with the living non-human.
What better table than that of our Eucharists to invite to this renewed communion with all that lives. Wonder is the first step towards protection. Endowed with the most beautiful texts, Christians have the resources and the places to do their part. I am not only referring to the story of Creation or to the prayer of Saint Francis, but also to the encyclical Laudato si, which invites us to this “integral” ecology, weaving in the same movement the relationship to oneself, to others and to everything the living world.
Tree of the year
As I write these words, the general public is invited to elect “the tree of the year” among those who wear the colors of each of the French regions. Every year, this operation organized by the magazine Terre sauvage, is a huge success and attests to the strong relationship we have with trees. Or rather, with ONE tree. Because indeed, if we think about it a little, we all have a tree in our life. That of the village square, the schoolyard, the one at the foot of which we like to gather as a family, which has witnessed a baptism, a marriage or a departure.
A singular relationship between a representative of the people of humans and a representative of that of plants… These links are precious and contribute to the weaving of the web of life. Free relationship, accessible to all, even to the most wounded of humans, because a tree is also capable of collecting our prayers and entrusting them to the wings of the wind. We all have a tree in our life, not all a Van Gogh…