When the Great Tribulation arrives, the Earth will at last have her well deserved rest
It appears to me that the reflections of Waldemar Boff*, who practices ecology with small rural producers near the Surui river, in Baixada Fluminense, Brazil, are very opportune.
This is his text:
«No one knows the day or the hour with certainty. That is because, almost without realizing it, we are already in its midst. But it is coming, with ever greater intensity and clarity. When the great catastrophe occurs, it will appear to be a surprise.
Not withstanding that well documented data point to the inevitability of global changes due to climate, with consequences that scientists are trying to fathom, and that surely will worsen, the economic interests of the great nations and their leaders’ lack of vision keep them from taking the measures necessary to mitigate its effects and adapt their way of living to the Earth’s feverish state.
We can imagine a plausible scene in which hurricanes will wipe out entire regions. Gigantic waves will overwhelm cities and civilizations, leaving them to die at the feet of the mountains. Lengthy droughts will cause all that wealth to be traded for a simple glass of dirty water. Extreme heat and cold will make us recall nostalgically our grandmothers’ tales of the afternoon breezes and the heat of the hearth fires in winter, always foreseeable, and of fruits ripened by the warmth of a beneficent summer sun. People then will eat only to survive, always small meals of questionable taste.
But that will not be the worst. The rail-thin mother will be unable to bury her daughter, and the grandson will kill his grandfather for a crumb of bread. Dogs and cats, mankind’s friends, will be sought everywhere as the last possibility to satiate hunger. The living will envy the dead and no one will mourn the deaths of the children. Hunger will reach such a point that, as in besieged Jerusalem, the starving will await death’s next victim, to eat away the flaccid flesh.
“the countryside will be devastated and the cities will be in ruins. When she is devastated, the Earth will rest for the Saturdays she did not rest when you inhabited Her” (Lev 26,33-35).
But will this be the end of the biosphere? No. For the just and sensible ones, God will make those days brief, and will not destroy all life on Earth, keeping the promise made to our father Noah. But it is necessary for humans to pass through that tribulation to awaken from their selfishness and recognize that the human being is part of the community of life, and is its main guardian.
What can we do to prepare ourselves for those times? First, we must recognize that we are already living in them. We no longer know when Spring or Fall will come. Nor can we count on the months of cold and warmth. We no longer know when there will be rain or sun. Also, it is important to remain silent, vigilant, and observant, watching for the signs that indicate the acceleration of the processes of change. And above all, it is essential to convert, to change our life habits, undergo personal change, profound and definitive. Only then will we have the moral conditions to ask others to do so. But, as in the time of the prophets, few will listen, some will ridicule and the majority will remain indifferent, allowing themselves all sorts of liberties, as in the times of Noah.
We should also return to our roots, to start over, as repentant humanity has done so many times before, recognizing that we are just creatures, and not the Creator, that we are comrades and not the lords of nature; that to be happy we must necessarily submit to the great laws of life and listen attentively to the voices of our consciences. If we obey those main laws, we will harvest the fruits of the Earth and the joy of the soul. If we disobey them, we will inherit a civilization like that in which we are living now, full of greed, war and sorrow.
For the coming times of scarcity we must retake the ancestral arts and techniques of planting, gathering, eating; of caring for the animals and using them with respect, of making utensils and tools with local crafts and technologies; of selecting and planting herbs that cure and grains that nourish; harvesting to weave; preserving the sources of water, finding the right places to dig wells and learning again to store rainwater. We must rejoin the economy of scarcity, of shared sobriety and naked beauty. From that recovered and enriched knowledge a civilization of contentment will grow, a bio-civilization, the Earth of good expectations.
After that epoch of tears and hope, we will overcome the stupid war of religions, that intolerable dispute of gods. Beyond prophets and traditions, beyond morals and liturgies, perhaps we will return to worshiping, under a multiplicity of names and forms, the only Creator of everything and Father-Mother of all life in the Great Spirit who unites and inspires all, lovingly intertwined in one unique universal fraternity. And we will at last be able to truly organize a union of all the peoples of the world and an authentic parliament of all religions».
*Waldemar Boff, a graduate in philosophy and sociology in the United States, works with the Popular Organization and Education Service, SEOP, from the Spanish, Servicio de Educación y Organización Popular, in La Baixada Fluminense, Brazil.
Free translation from the Spanish sent by
Melina Alfaro, firstname.lastname@example.org,
done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.