This is a reflection by Fr. Josh Kureethadam from the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
Ecological Spirituality, one of the Laudato Si’ Goals, offers a unique perspective – one that encourages us to recognize God’s presence in both the beauty and suffering of creation.
Understanding and, more importantly, fulfilling this goal through urgent and immediate actions in the care of one another and our common home, is characterized by three key elements: contemplation, compassion, and care.
Contemplation: Seeing God in All Things
Contemplation is the foundation of Ecological Spirituality. It involves “seeing God in all things” and perceiving the universe as an embodiment of the divine. This perspective revives our sense of awe and wonder for the intricate order and beauty in the world. By considering the universe a sacred temple, we invite the essence of contemplation into our lives.
The term “contemplation” itself stems from the Latin word “templum,” denoting a place inhabited by deities. Just as God told Moses in Exodus 3:5 that he was standing on holy ground, we too should view the entirety of creation as sacred. Indigenous communities can help us reconnect with the divine presence that hovered over the waters during creation.
Indigenous communities can help us reconnect with the divine presence
that hovered over the waters during creation.
Compassion: Responding to the Cry of the Earth and Cry of the Poor
Compassion is another vital aspect of Ecological Spirituality. Rooted in the incarnation, this dimension encourages us to cultivate tenderness and remain attentive to both the cries of the Earth and the cries of the marginalized.
As the ecological crisis unfolds through various forms like droughts, floods, and pollution, we are called to be sensitive to the suffering of creation. This entails acknowledging the groans of the Earth and the impoverished, as they are intertwined.
As the ecological crisis unfolds through various forms like droughts, floods, and pollution, we are called to be sensitive to the suffering of creation.
Pope Francis reminds us that spirituality isn’t disconnected from the world around us. Genuine compassion extends to all life forms, underscoring the interdependence between human and non-human beings.
Care: Acting With Responsibility
Care embodies the practical aspect of Ecological Spirituality. It emphasizes our role in tending to creation with the same compassion as God. Small actions carry significance, as demonstrated by St. Therese of Lisieux’s “Little Way.”
Embracing sobriety and simplicity becomes crucial when the planet faces the repercussions of excessive consumption. This lifestyle shift aligns with the core of Ecological Spirituality, calling for moderation and contentment with less.
Embracing sobriety and simplicity becomes crucial when the planet faces the repercussions of excessive consumption … calling for moderation and contentment with less.
By adopting a “culture of care,” we pave the way for a “civilization of love” amidst the current backdrop of global challenges, including environmental degradation and conflicts.
The Transformative Path of Ecological Spirituality
Ecological Spirituality beckons us to embark on a transformative journey of contemplation, compassion, and care. By recognizing the divine presence in all aspects of creation, responding to the cries of the Earth and marginalized, and embracing responsible actions, we can foster a deeper connection with the planet and each other.
Ecological Spirituality has the potential to illuminate a path toward a harmonious and sustainable future for humanity and the environment – a future defined by concrete steps each one of us can take in our daily lives to directly affect our common home and one another.