Part 20 – December 2015

Laudato Si’ – Call To An Ecological Conversion

We have a “Green” Pope! However, Francis is not the first pope to call us to an ecological conversion. In, Laudato Si, he quotes the previous four popes who speak of the ethical and spiritual roots of the environmental problems and challenge us, as Thomas Berry said, to “reinvent the human” 1. This is a call to explore and live into, become again, one with a universe that is alive.  Which words of Francis call us to this radical change in consciousness?  It is those rooted in the teachings of Jesus.  A significant one for us CSJs is the call to be in relationship.  Francis speaks of relationship – with creation, with each other, with the Divine.  We are reminded that the core issue of this environmental crisis is spiritual.  We are breaking the essential relationships we are meant to have with our planet and all its creatures.  Once we understand our common heritage and common ground, a common reverence and responsible action can emerge globally – and with joy!  We need to let go of a mindset that denies, rejects or is simply unaware of our oneness with all creation.

We know now, that our world is dynamically alive and interconnected.  Science is discovering anew the enchanted world that mystics of different religious traditions have written about; this is our true and common home that over the past three centuries has been devalued/diminished and is now close to being lost.  Yet there remains a missing link between the scientific breakthroughs and the prevailing consciousness which is leading to the current environmental crisis.  The consequences are overwhelming.   The rapid melting of glaciers 2 and the increasing toxicity in our oceans, land and air indicates that the very conditions of life are being destroyed. Tragically, we are losing splendid and intimate modes of divine presence, with the extinction of innumerable species. Perhaps we are losing ourselves 1 as well.

As spiritual beings we are stimulated by the beauty all around us – all the living forms of our earth reveal the beauty of the divine.  Aquinas has said that God’s first Word was creation and Pope Francis writes, “In all its manifold relationships the universe shows forth the inexhaustible richness of God” (Laudato Si’ 86).  The awesomeness of our magnificent earth awakens the sense of the divine within us.  The uplifting display of colour and sound, of form and movement, of fragrance and delicacy draw our imaginations into the immensity of Love, that we call God.  Our spiritual life deepens as we experience the divine in the multiform beauty of creation.  Pope Francis reminds us that we are genetically connected to all things and all things are in relationship with us – or are they?  What is our awareness of this communion of all things?  As we celebrate the season of Advent, a time to “wake up” we need to ponder these questions for ourselves and make choices that lead to mutually enhancing relationships among the entire earth community.

In 2009, the Federation Ecology Committee envisioned the symbol of the “Green Window” to invite us into a green perspective upon the critical issues of our day.  Today, in 2015, the issues, especially that of climate change, are more critical than ever.  As religious women we have an important role to play in the survival of our earth home through our personal lifestyle choices and our persistent advocacy for environmental change.  It has been said that we are not into yet another era of change, rather a change of era. In this call to conversion, can we see the next adjacent possible?

Quotes taken from “The Dream of the Earth” by Thomas Berry;  Resource: Google “james balog CBC” for the documentary, “Chasing Ice”