Editorial November 2021
ELSiA – The European Laudato Si’ Alliance – is a network of Catholic organisations with a commitment to promoting the vision of Laudato Si’. Last Friday a group of people from these diverse organisations set out for Taize. We came from many different countries and with differing levels of seniority in our respective organisations but we shared the same task – to articulate a spirituality for ELSiA. You will find an account of the weekend elsewhere in this edition of Eco-Bites but it is worth asing why this weekend in Taize was so significant.
For ELSiA to function properly it needs to be more than a bureaucratic structure. The Alliance would be of little worth if it did not also motivate and nurture the spirit of those who come together from its different organisations and the truth is that those of us who have worked together in ELSiA have found it a spiritually enriching experience.
We could be content with that and simply go on working together but spirituality is a form of life. It needs attention and care. It’s not a ‘thing’ or even a ‘process.’ Spirituality is about nothing if it is not about relationship and relationships need to be reflected on. Nor is it enough to reflect on this or that ‘relationship.’ Reflection needs to be a part the dialogue which constitutes any valued relationship.
Going to Taize was a way of saying that we were relating not only to each other but to a reality bigger than all of us. Taize called us into dialogue with God and each other in a place of natural beauty where people come from all over Europe and the world. This holy place, a place of pilgrimage, is in touch with the gentleness of nature and the pain of humanity.
Everyone knew at least one other person in the group as we began on Friday afternoon, but no one knew everyone. During the weekend we heard a number of inspiring guest speakers, but we spent the last session on Sunday morning in each other’s presence – having got to know each other over the weekend. Only then could we begin to respond to the question which had been waiting for us: ‘What have we here in Taize got to say, to the organisations which sent us here, about the spirit which gives life to ELSiA?’ We are still working on the response to this question but when it is complete you will be hearing about it.
Edmond Grace SJ
Secretary for Ecology