Given the impossibility of holding this new edition of the Day of the Catacombs in the usual way, the event has been observed in a virtual version, making use of the new communicative technologies.
In the context of the Year of Reflection on the Encyclical Laudato Si’, proposed by Pope Francis five years after the publication of the Magisterium’s first Document on the environmental problem, the intention is to recall the vision of nature as it is found in the Christian catacombs, in the frescoes, and in marble reliefs. The bucolic scene, the representations of flowers, plants, and animals, either isolated or inserted in biblical or symbolic representations, refer us to the original garden, Eden, and, at the same time, to Paradise, to the Kingdom of the Blessed, in which the original beauty of creation is recreated and proposed as the ultimate end of the journey of life, sustained by faith in the Risen One.
In face of the images of creation, of the natural environment just described, sometimes essential, at other times luxuriant and rich in particular curiosities, while placed in a context dominated by obscurity and by signs of death, it is spontaneous to exclaim: “What a Paradise!” — be it thinking of all the more thought-provoking and attractive natural beauty, be it, in fact, as the ultimate end of human existence, hoped for and desired not only by believers but by the whole of humanity.
The Christians of antiquity, referring especially to biblical texts, imagined humanity’s last destiny in a paradisiac context, in which full harmony with creation reigns, with all creatures, called also to take part in the new life announced and promised by Christ and inaugurated with His Resurrection.
To observe, contemplate those thought-provoking representations does not only mean to imagine, to dream about a beautiful and harmonious, serene joyful end but also to desire it and build it in the present, taking care of the “common home,” of the earth on which we live and of all the creatures that share it with humanity. The paradisiac images ask us, therefore, to protect and take care of the earthly “paradise” in which we dwell and live, entrusted to us by the Creator.
To follow all the initiatives of the Third Day of the Catacombs, consult the site www.giornatadellecatacombe.it and the connected social networks (@catacombeitalia)