Here I offer a random reflection on citations from Laudato Si. They reflect an Ecological Spirituality for our time, with a tentative eye on the impact COVID-19 may have. Such a spirituality is the fruit of an ‘ecological conversion’ – the lynchpin of Laudato Si – and also reflects our double vocation.
Day 1: 16th May – Remembering that Everything in the World is Connected: From Laudato Si
We do not look at the world from without but from within.’ #120
“We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.” #2
“It cannot be emphasised enough how everything is interconnected…. A good part of our genetic code is shared by many living beings… Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it.” # 138-9
One planet, one climate, one future was the slogan used by the Green Party in the election in the Republic of Ireland, earlier this year. It is a strong message of oneness, of unity and such a notion goes to the heart of everything that is real in the world. Both science and religion echo this. For many years scientists have been pointing out the fact that the very elements making up the stars and planets – the solar systems and galaxies of our universe – are those found in our human bodies. We are not separate or apart. We are all One. At a more local level our human community is part of the larger earth community.
This is precisely the message conveyed in Laudato Si, and we often forget it. We are reminded of the Ash Wednesday dictum: remember you are dust and to dust you will return. The scientific message is expressed in a spiritual context. Thus a key primary element of an ecological spirituality it that we are all connected because all things come from the same source. More than that we depend on the earth for our very survival.
In this time of pandemic the notion of oneness particularly among human beings is being sorely tested. The challenge of social distancing – which suggests separateness rather than togetherness – is inviting us to give it expression in new and very different ways. The draw of unity, of oneness among our species is only possible now through the dictum to stay apart. We are being called to live the paradox of this time.
Let us be ever mindful of the call to unity at the heart of all reality. As we travel forward in the darkness of this time of Pandemic may we be alert to the deeper invitations being issued – to the recognition that often in the paradoxical situation of our lives we come to deeper insights and a more profound sense of the oneness of all things.
Margaret Twomey rsm