Father Edmond Grace SJ endowed us with the wisdom of the Laudato Si’ (or the Jesuit´s Bible as he remarked) to discuss certain notions and concepts with us.
As such I drew inspiration from his points which I summarise as follows;
- Although individual in their approaches to understanding reality, science and religion can enter into “intense dialogue fruitful for both”, and as John Paul II said, “science and technology are wonderful products of a God-given human creativity”
- The Gospel of Creation in connection to the ecological crisis indicates that “no branch of the sciences and no form of wisdom can be left out, and that includes religion and the language particular to it”. Furthermore, the often widely contested Genesis account granting mankind “dominion” over the earth (cf. Gen 1:28) is not to be understood as our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.
- The human roots of the ecological crisis (chapter III) are strongly connected to technology. While technology “expresses the inner tension that impels man gradually to overcome material limitations” (Benedict XVI) technology is the power that must be dealt with responsibly.
- Integrity in human life, as “the need to promote and unify all the great values”.
- Dialogue on an international, national and local level which also includes the transparency in decision making by leaders. Dialogue about how to shape the future of the planet that includes everyone.
- Education and Spirituality are the tools we can use to develop our minds and hearts in alignment with the ideas stated in the Laudato si.
The more one dwells on these concepts the clearer it becomes that it requires more than just the intellect to grasp these ideas. As such, as soon as Father Edmond brought up the notion of praise as a way to look at the Laudato si, it changed the focus of change from a purely intellectual process to a pristine and pure spiritual experience.
But what exactly is praise? We spent considerable time discussing what praise could be… or not. According to Father Edmond, flattery, homage and encouragement are not components of praise. Contemplation is.
“Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”. I quote the canticle of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and environment, whose words shine light on an approach to ecology that stems from praise and contemplation. One that transcends the purely logical part of the human intellect and speaks to the heart, the place of inner change and spiritual rebirth.
By Klara Antonia Wuketich
3rd Cohort ELP Fellow