Ecology 02: God’s Merciful Regard For Us and the Spiritual Exercises

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God’s Merciful Regard For Us and the Spiritual Exercises

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Thanks to the untiring mercy of God, All is not lost!

Laudato Si points out to us that” [The earth] now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. [2]” We must take responsibility for the destruction we have caused. The call is urgent for each one of us to actively participate in rebuilding and safeguarding our common home.

This call is based on the conviction that every human being always carries within him/her the dignity and the capacity to collaborate with the author of harmony. Yes, from the beginning, our Creator never regretted giving us the confidence to be His cooperator[1]. Despite our failings, God still sees in us our original dignity. It is faith in this gaze of God's infinite goodness upon us that can be the foundation of our constructive action.

When Pope Francis calls every human being to seek a lifestyle for an integral ecology, he clearly expresses his conviction that “. . .all is not lost, because human beings, capable of degrading themselves to the extreme, can also overcome themselves, choose again for the good and regenerate themselves, beyond all the mental and social conditions imposed on them. They are able to look at themselves honestly, to reveal their own disgust in the open and to initiate new ways to true freedom[2].” This conviction of the Pope comes from his deep faith in God's fidelity: The Creator does not abandon us, he never backs down in his plan of love, he does not repent of having created us. Humanity still has the capacity to collaborate in building our common home.[3]

The face of God’s faithful love is Mercy. His infinite forgiveness opens up a future for us, because He believes in our ability to take a new step. It is in the face of this endless love of God that we can recognize ourselves as sinners and take a new path. In fact, when as sinners, we experience God’s mercy, we realize that all creatures express God’s forgiveness for us. And this experience gives rise to a cry of astonishment as St. Ignatius expresses it and invites us to live in the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises, # 60: “An exclamation of wonder, with intense feeling, as I reflect on the whole range of created beings. How have they ever let me live and kept me alive? The angels, who are the swords of divine justice, how have they borne with me, and looked after me, and prayed for me? The saints, too, how have they been able to intercede for me and pray for me? The heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the elements, the fruits, the birds, the fishes and the animals, how have they kept me alive until now? As for the earth, how has it not opened to engulf me, creating new hells where I might suffer forever?”

If despite our grave sins against the earth, God still chooses to show us His unwavering Mercy, how in turn, do we choose to correspond with Him in caring for our world?

[1] Gn 1, 26: «Alors Dieu dit: Faisons l'homme à notre image, selon notre ressemblance, et qu'il domine sur les poissons de la mer, sur les oiseaux du ciel, sur le bétail, sur tous la terre, et sur tous les reptiles rampants sur le sol. »

[2] Laudato Si n ° 205

[3] Laudato Si n ° 13