In his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis asks us to care for creation and to mend our often-broken relationship with creation, and one another; in other words, an Ecological Conversion. This Ecological Conversion calls us to a new way to live in harmony with our Mother Earth who freely shares her life and love giving essence: clean water to drink, vegetation to nourish and enchant us, air to breathe and her wondrous atmosphere to protect us from the burning rays of her sun.
For far too long have we not ‘over fed’ on our mother’s gifts of her life sustaining nature? For far too long have we not, in the developed world, over fed to the detriment of many of our sisters and brothers less fortunate than we?
Now, Mother Earth is pleading with us to change our ways – be mindful of how our ways impact our sisters and brothers around the globe. And be mindful of actions we can take to reduce our carbon footprint.
According to the Laudato Si’ Movement (laudatosimovement.org), an ecological conversion involves four steps:
1. Recognizing that we have harmed creation
“…we must examine our lives and acknowledge the ways in which we have harmed God’s creation through our actions and our failure to act” (LS 218).
By reading scientific reports; by going through an ecological examen, checking our own carbon footprint, conducting an energy audit, reviewing our consumption habits, looking for food/water/energy waste.
2. Repentance and turning to the Creator
“Is it not true that an irresponsible use of creation begins precisely where God is marginalized or even denied? If the relationship between human, creatures, and the Creator is forgotten, matter is reduced to a selfish possession, man becomes the ‘last word’, and the purpose of human existence is reduced to a scramble for the maximum number of possessions possible” (Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience 26 August 2009).
Prayer, receiving the sacrament of reconciliation, restitution, reading and meditating on Scripture.
3. Commitment to change and becoming good stewards of creation
An ecological conversion “must translate into concrete ways of thinking and acting that are more respectful of creation” (Pope Francis, 1 September 2016 message).
Living Laudato Si’ in your day-to-day life (changing lifestyles, cultivating virtues, and attitudes mentioned in Laudato Si’ 220).
4. Community conversion
Ecological conversion takes place at the personal level, but as Pope Francis notes, a community conversion is equally important: “Social problems must be addressed by community networks and not simply by the sum of individual good deeds… The ecological conversion needed to bring about lasting change is also a community conversion” (LS 219).
Sign up for HT Green Team updates (firstname.lastname@example.org); make plans to attend the Green Fair on April 23; bring your reusable water bottle and fill up at stations outside McKenna Hall and the Faber Room; use compostable products at your parish meetings and events.
-HT Green Team
Reconciling God, Creation and Humanity: An Ignatian Examen.
References: ignatiansolidarity.net, ecologicalexamen.org.
Begin the examen by placing yourself in a posture that allows you to be open to the ways the Spirit is working within you:
Give thanks to God for creation and for being wonderfully made.
Ask for the grace to see creation as God does- in all its splendor and suffering.
Ask for the grace to look closely to see how life choices impact creation and the vulnerable.
Ask for the grace of conversion towards ecological justice and reconciliation.
Ask for the grace to reconcile my relationship with God, creation and humanity, and to stand in solidarity through my actions.
Close with your favorite prayer on behalf of the Earth and the vulnerable of our world.
Loving God, pour your love into us so we may be filled with awe and compassion for all creation, and give thanks for our interconnectedness and interdependent lives. (adapted from Laudato Si’)3.