WHEN I became a Catholic Charismatic in 2015, I didn’t turn my back on environmentalism but expanded it.
I embraced Franciscan spirituality. The Franciscan emphasis on the goodness of God and His creation is the outpouring of God’s love into the universe.
Franciscans call creation “the mirror of God” and that God has two books of creation—sacred Scripture and creation. And the faith in a good God has implications for the Incarnation and salvation history. The Word of God became incarnate not because the world is full of sin but in order to transform the world into a communion of love centered in Christ.
As Prayer guides, we hold our Desert in silence and to be close to trees, plants, or animals, even the earthworms. In the saint’s Canticle of the Sun, he wrote “Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, Who is the day through whom You give us light. And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor, Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.”
In 2002, during the International Year of the Mountains, I drafted the Negros IYM covenant. I had as inspiration St. Francis of Assisi.
Participants to a Negros-wide IYM conference pledged to a Covenant kinship “with all mountain peoples and before God my Creator.”
We vowed to “arrest the degradation of the mountains, which because of chemical-based plantations and deforestation caused by unsustainable logging, industrial intrusion, poverty and the absence of stable political institutions is spiraling into further tree losses, soil erosion, water crisis, floods, and droughts;
Preserve the mountains as islands of biodiversity in the midst of landscapes of monoculture, where because of their isolation, have provided a haven for God’s creations of infinite life forms and bestowed our world with plants, animals, wildlife, with trees, forests, with water and with food;
Respect the mountain women and men who over the millennia stood as guardians and stewards of mountain biodiversity, who with their indigenous knowledge in managing their community resources, in identifying plants with healing powers and other uses and in harvesting food, fodder and fuelwood from forests are helping sustain our food and our life;
Work for peace, justice, and human rights which because of inequitable access to resources, has degenerated into flashpoints of armed conflicts—from the mountains of Negros, Basilan, and Afghanistan to the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Himalayas—represent the most significant barriers to sustaining the development of mountains;
Enable mountain peoples to achieve empowerment through programs and policies that include reinvesting forest revenues for mountain communities and environmental protection; supporting community-based property rights, promoting sustainable agriculture; linking indigenous and mainstream scientific knowledge systems; decentralizing power and accountability and forging alliances of various sectors, communities, faith, and nations.
With God, my Covenant Kin and the world as my witnesses, I pledge to do my Covenant obligations from hereon, on this solemn day of the International Year of the Mountains 2002 in my beloved island of Negros.
So help me God.
Much as we pledged 16 years ago still resonate today.* (bq[email protected]hoomail.com)