Sunday, April 10, 2011
In spiritual terms, what this time calls for is nothing less than a conversion of our minds and hearts to the good of the Earth. We need to learn to relate anew to the natural world not as dominators, not even as stewards - which does not go for enough but as real kin in Creation. Our human lives are interwoven with millions of other species in a great community of life. How we love responsibly will determine whether life on this planet has a glorious or miserable future. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There are at least three spiritual responses to Earth's crisis: the sacramental, or contemplative, the ascetic, and the prophetic. Each is important., they can be combined in different ways., together they will enable us to develop the virtue of "earthkeeping." The sacramental response gases contemplatively on the world with the eyes of love rather than with an arrogant, utilitarian stare, and sees there the handiwork of Creation. Not only is the evolutionary world created by the power and imagination of wisdom, but it also participates in the goodness of Divine Being. Moreover, choose to unite with the material of Earth in a profoundly personal way. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The ascetic response calls for intellectual humility in our assessment of the human place in the Universe and practical discipline in our use of natural resources. The tru purpose of asceticism has always been to make us fully alive to the movement of grace in our lives and the movement of the Spirit in the world. An ecological asceticism from the pebble to the peach, to the poodle to the person, all under the sway of the apex, asceticism reconfigures that pyramid into a circle of life with human beings thoroughly interwoven with all the other creatures, special in virtue of being conscious and free but utterly interdependent on others for their life. This view charts a path down from our pedestal toward partnership with Earth's power of life. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The prophetic response move us to action on behalf of justice for the Earth. A moral Universe limited to the human community no longer serves the future of life. If the Earth is indeed Creation, with its own intrinsic value, then Earth bears the marks of deep prophetic response with its ethical demands for care, protection, and restoration. Indeed, the impulse to care for the Earth, to heal and redeem it, takes on the character of a moral imperative. One stringent criterion must now measure the morality of our actions: whether or not these contribute to a substainable Earth community. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We need to respect life, not only among humankind but also among other living creatures. Who is your neighbor? The samaritan? The friend? The outcast? Yes, yes of course. But, it is also a whale, the dolphin, and the rainforest. Our neighbor is the entire community of life, the entire Universe. We must love it all as our very self. We all share the status of creature. We are Kin in the evolving community of life. Our vision of justice must be one of cosmic justice. The aim is to establish and protect healthy ecosystems where all living creatures can flourish.