The Laudato Si Action Platform’s goal of Ecological Spirituality helps us “discover God in all things.” It’s more than just acknowledging the beauty around us but also recognizing when creation is sick and needs our help. Sister Myra Richards tells us what she learned when investigating Ecological Spirituality’s meaning.
What is Ecological Spirituality?
By S. Myra Richards
Ecological Spirituality – What is it? That’s what I wanted to know, so I checked it out. Amazingly it was a part of me that I knew, but I never realized its depth.
Defined: ecological Spirituality is the acknowledgment that all creatures owe their existence to God. Humans share with other creatures. God is the creator of all. The word share or what I see as dependency, is key to this definition.
In mulling over the idea of ecological dependency, I was curious about how spirituality was related. I found the answer in Thomas Celano’s, The Life of Saint Francis (1C 80-81) “…he (Francis) often overflowed with amazing, unspeakable joy as he looked at the sun, gazed at the moon, or observed the stars in the sky…Fields and vineyards, rocks and woods and all the beauties of the fields, flowing springs and blooming gardens, earth and fire, air and wind: all these he urged to love of God and willing service.”
Through the word service, I see the interaction of humans and all creation. It is also in daily living that I am the recipient of that service. All creation serves to bring me pleasure and life.
When I think seriously about creation, it is as if God prepared everything in readiness for my birth. Like a mother bird prepares her nest for her babies, God did likewise for all humanity; all the wonderment must be shared.
I want to share the following poem, “A Love for Art,” which I believe is the Ecological Spirituality found in one’s love for Art.
A Love for Art
By Sister Myra Richards
I am getting old – its evidence is seen,
But still quite young at heart
These later years bring great joy
Especially in the field of Art.
Art has grasped me…held me captive
In a marvelous universe, unlike no other
I have ever experienced.
I see everything in a different light.
Trees, once used for play…to climb
And hide behind now have become pristine
And beautiful. Their branches…every one unique.
Their shape and size, and color each expressive of a world
Unique within. Their bodies, precious wood
Cut and prepared made into cribs and cradles, cabinets
Canoes, carriages, beds, frames, floors, bridges
Oh yes – and crosses displayed, reminders of their
Creator and Redeemer.
An artist never sees just a tree, water or clouds, or rain.
The depth of each and every item provides hours of
Entertainment, mystery and awe.
An artist familiar with the poem “The Master’s Touch” may be haunted by a
little box of paint left unused on a shelf. It may be a reminder of the violin
spoken of by the poem’s author Joyce Kilmer.
Just an old dusty violin left unbidden at an auction until an interested
onlooker picked it up, tightened the strings and began to play. And then…a
thousand dollars, then two and then three.
And so, a little box of paint, if used serves to color one’s world and make others happy like a beautiful rainbow…A sign of Promise!
When the Trees Say Nothing by Thomas Merton; Edited by Kathleen Deignan
Earth’s Echo: Sacred Encounters with Nature by Robert M. Hamma
Ecology has a connection to spirituality. Bring Catholic spirituality to your life by practicing these seven spiritual eco-activities offered by Catholic Ecology inviting us to cooperate with God’s saving activity. Help save the planet!