It also depends on me
There is one connecting thread that runs through this issue of the Magazine. We could call it “ecological conversion” to indicate the responsibility of all in facing the created and the use of things. It is a call that guides toward the essential as a style of life, to preserve the resources of the created and to share them with the poorest. For us, it is a provocation to reflect on our choices as women in the following of a poor Master.
“I possess in an authentic way not the things that I keep for myself, but those that I give away. I will give before being asked, rather, I will anticipate just requests. If I live in this way, the riches will be mine; otherwise I will belong to my riches.” Thus wrote Seneca to his friend Lucilus. They are expressions that have a biblical flavor and a strong relevance today. Choosing to not allow one’s self to be possessed by things is ecological conversion. It is one way held by many to prevent many possible world catastrophes: new diseases, famine, modifications of the ecosystem and territory that would lead to render our planet earth unlivable.
It is obvious, therefore, that there are a few considerations that should, instead, burn our hearts and hands. To mention a few: the poor become always poorer and the rich become richer; 20% of the earth’s population possess 82.7% of the world’s resources; we are traveling through three great emergencies: energy, food, and water. Notwithstanding all this, if we look around us, and also within our own reality, it would seem that all should continue as it always has. The society of consumerism, down deep, has an ample guarantee. Economic imperialism envelops persons and structures.
“The consumerist system,” emphasizes Tiziano Terzani, “seduces you into desiring even that which you do not want.” Conversing with his son shortly before his death in 2005, the journalist noted: “The person is, at this point, the slave of the economy. According to me, this will be the great battle of the future: the battle to return to a form of spirituality.
We need new models for development. Not only that of growth, but also of austerity. Look, what I’m saying is that we need to free ourselves from desires.”
I, you, each person must ask: “What can we do?” Improving the world, in fact, also depends on me, on you. There is an accessible and efficacious strategy, that of Lilliputian, which could indicate to us a trail that can be followed. It rises on the conviction that each change begins from personal awareness, from the free decision of the individual. It deals with concrete, ordinary gestures of austerity, of determination not to give in to the fascination of possessing. At times courageous gestures are called for to denounce and boycott determined products. It deals with contesting the logic indicated by today’s prevailing slogan: faster, higher, stronger.
We need to prefer the alternative slower, more profound, more human.
It is the “ecological conversion” to which the Gospel guides us, and it is prophecy.