Every year, the world comes together on April 22 to celebrate Earth Day as a reminder of our responsibility to care for and protect the environment.
But celebrating Earth Day without keeping the Creator of all things top of mind, makes Earth Day incomplete. It is precisely because all things were created by God as a gift that they are filled with ultimate meaning and value.
In his encyclical on the Environment, Laudato si’, Pope Francis wrote:
“the word ‘creation’ has a broader meaning than ‘nature,’ for it has to do with God’s loving plan in which every creature has its own value and significance. Nature is usually seen as a system which can be studied, understood and controlled, whereas creation can only be understood as a gift from the outstretched hand of the Father of all”
Because we can forget creation is a gift, one meant for all people and creatures, the environment can be treated as something to be owned and exploited, with no regard to how individual actions impact others and all of creation.
In fact, both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis argued that it is by our forgetting God’s role in creation that leads to the destruction of the environment.
“Pope Benedict asked us to recognize that the natural environment has been gravely damaged by our irresponsible behavior. The social environment has also suffered damage. Both are ultimately due to the same evil: the notion that there are no indisputable truths to guide our lives, and hence human freedom is limitless. We have forgotten that ‘man is not only a freedom which he creates for himself. Man does not create himself. He is spirit and will, but also nature.’ With paternal concern, Benedict urged us to realize that creation is harmed ‘where we ourselves have the final word, where everything is simply our property and we use it for ourselves alone. The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves.’” – Laudato Si (6)
The environment, and all the good it brings, from sustenance and security, and to beauty and wonder, are a gift from God meant for all people. By looking beyond ourselves, we can both help protect the gift of creation and help justly and equitably share its bounty in a common union of all people as God intends.
To help care for environment and ensure that all people have access to the good it brings, The Pontifical Mission Societies have created MISSIO, a new and innovative Catholic crowd-funding platform that allows you to directly assist the people affected by the impact of climate change and those with limited access to natural resources.
MISSIO allows you to search through life-giving and life-saving projects – ones providing for basic needs, others extending the Good News of the Gospel to remote areas, many helping care for communities as well as the land they live on, and still more bringing the light of the Lord’s loving-kindness to those in the darkest circumstances. With MISSIO, you can choose one of these missions of Pope Francis and donate directly to them, knowing that 100% of your donation will go directly there. You can also share them on social media and reignite the discussion and remind people of these forgotten situations, so others can support the projects also.
Launched by Pope Francis himself, the MISSIO platform offers a direct connection to change-makers who work on the “front lines” making a difference for the poor and forgotten through direct, daily service.
There are opportunities to support the Holy Trinity Sisters install solar panels to provide electricity for a shelter in Kenya, Kenyan Sisters growing hope through sustainable farming in arid areas, assist a poor village in sustainably utilizing natural resources in Cameroon, or provide safe drinking water for school children in the slums of India.
MISSIO is powered by The Pontifical Mission Societies, the Catholic Church’s official support organization for overseas missions since 1822, providing for a global network of people who are making a difference for communities in need around the globe.
Check out MISSIO today and start giving – the Earth will be grateful!