Ecospirituality: Love for Creation

General Administration

Originally Published on OMIWORLD.ORG

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On January 1, 1990, Saint Pope John Paul II stated compellingly: “Faced with the widespread destruction of the environment, people everywhere are coming to understand that we cannot continue to use the goods of the earth as we have in the past…! A new ecological awareness is emerging…! The ecological crisis is a moral issue.”

Concerns for All People:
Ecology is no longer an issue reserved for a select few. People from all walks of life—rich and poor, men and women, young and old, urban and rural—feel the impact of environmental problems daily. An ecological crisis of enormous proportions looms on the horizon, threatening the survival of humanity and other life forms within this century.

Some of the Ecological Crises:
We face numerous ecological crises: air and water pollution, noise pollution, population explosion, soil erosion, health hazards from pesticides and artificial fertilizers, global climate change, deforestation, depletion of biodiversity, overconsumption, urban migration, species extinction, and destructive development. These crises demand immediate, concerted action from all concerned. We die and return to Mother Earth, becoming one with the body of God. Hence, the earth is holy and sacred and must be treated with respect and dignity. To restore the beauty and glory of Mother Earth, we must adopt a Cosmotheandric spirituality, recognizing the intimate connection between the cosmos, the divine, and humanity. This spirituality inspires us to respect every created being as part of God’s family, inviting us to live in harmony with ourselves, others, the cosmos, and the divine.

We Are at the Crossroads:
Today, we stand at a crossroads, acutely aware of the ecological crisis we have caused and continue to exacerbate. While it is impractical to halt all developmental activities, we must urgently pursue sustainable and eco-friendly development programs. Our mission today is to promote harmony in diversity and sustain all life forms on earth. We must awaken the conscience of humanity to take radical action for a sustainable and harmonious environment, ensuring the survival of all life on this planet.

Jesus the Cosmic Liberator:
Reflecting on Jesus’ life, we see an ordinary human being deeply connected with nature. He walked through the Palestinian landscapes, familiar with local plants, trees, flowers, fruits, birds, and animals. The Gospels highlight the significant role nature played in his life—from his birth in a manger (Luke 2:7) to his greeting by shepherds (Luke 2:8). He found peace in the wilderness (Mark 1:13), reinforcing his mission. He communed with the Father on hills (Matthew 17:1), preached from mountains (Matthew 5:1-7:29), and performed many teachings and miracles by the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 13:1-52).

Cosmotheandric Spirituality:
A spirituality based on the Cosmotheandric vision fosters a deep awareness of the sacredness of all creation, encouraging us to live harmoniously with humans, the cosmos, and God. This spirituality urges us to abandon destructive attitudes toward the earth, embracing our role as ‘tillers and keepers’ (Genesis 2:15) of creation. It recognizes that nature is sacred and harming it is sinful. We protect ourselves by respecting and protecting vegetation, animals, and humans. This spirituality affirms that the path to God involves not only prayer, meditation, rituals, sacraments, and scriptures but also the cosmos in which we live and move.

Dialogue on Ecological Issues:
In our diverse world of various religions, ethnicities, and cultures, dialogue on ecological issues is crucial and rewarding. In a context of communal hatred and violence, bringing people together under the umbrella of ecological dialogue can significantly impact every religion. As Oblates, we should collaborate with different religions to find inspiration and respond to today’s ecological crisis. In addressing the environmental crisis, we play a vital role in helping people rethink their attitudes towards nature, fostering a new self-awareness and sense of responsibility. Religions have the potential to bring about significant attitudinal changes. It is encouraging that world religions are already engaging in ecological dialogue, and we Oblates are actively participating at various levels.

EUGENE Benedict OMI
General Councillor for the Region of Asia-Oceania

Photo@Vatican News
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