ECOLOGICAL SPIRITUALITY

          Pope Francis in “Laudato Si” underscores that “The entire universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. The soil, water, mountains, everything as it were, is a caress of God.” And Saint Francis considers nature as a” magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness.” Truly the works of God are beautiful and wonderful even to the smallest spark of light. The sun proclaims the grandeur of God and the brightness of life. The radiance of the stars reveals the beauty of the sky and the harmony of human minds. How magnificent is the rainbow in its splendor, a reminder of God’s assurance of his constant care and protection.

            If we see a blooming flower, we enjoy gazing at its colors harmoniously combined, its symmetry perfectly assembled and its delightful scent that we sniff with pleasure. When we behold the rising sun radiating its rays all around us, it makes us aware of the life-giving heat that it ejects. When we feel the gentle breeze we are enlivened and refreshed. However, when it turns into a storm we experience the power behind it. All these creatures of God have really something to tell us and when we become more sensitive and interiorly perceptive to what they convey, we are always ushered to their ultimate Source and Creator, God Himself.

            Therefore, beholding contemplatively a beautiful flower, a plant or a butterfly and an exciting scenery will induce us to discover the beauty and artistry of God behind, thus we experience the goodness, tenderness, concern and affectionate caress of God through the artistic products of his hand. We are invited to marvel at the aesthetic power behind the beauty of his creation. The soothing breeze makes us feel the coolness of its touch and when we go deeper into our experience we realize the gentleness and loving embrace of God. Hence the deep sense of gratitude is evoked in our heart joyfully and spontaneously. Contemplating the  calmness of the water of the sea leads us to an intrinsic realization of true peace , serenity and tranquility that emanate from God. When these qualities pervade our heart and mind we are certain that we are connected with the real Source, God. This is what St. Ignatius wanted us to experience in the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love that he introduced in the Spiritual Exercises. In the second point we are asked to be aware of God dwelling in creatures: in the elements giving them existence, in plants giving them life, in animals giving them sensation and in us giving us

understanding. In the third point we are invited to consider how God works and labors for us in all the creatures upon the face of the earth.   

            Because of our profound and concrete experience of God’s presence and his endless operative action in his creatures and in us, we develop a relationship with him and this is the kind of spirituality that we acquired, the Ecological Spirituality. This spiritual life that is imbibed in us by the Holy Spirit is the fruit of our deep sense of God’s presence in all his creatures that he brought into existence and a profound realization of how God works unceasingly in them to sustain our life, to give us joy and to convey to us his boundless love.

            That is precisely what Pope Francis wanted to convey to us in “Laudato Si” when he says that the entire universe speaks to us of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Yes, every creature that God created has something to tell us . It brings with it an important message of God. However we can only perceive or discover God’s message if we contemplate such creature and see what God is communicating to us. Hence we have to develop a contemplative stance and allow it to grow deeper and stronger.

            The more we contemplate nature, gazing at it with the eyes of faith and with a loving heart, the more we grow in our intimacy with God. If we become keenly attentive and perceptive to what God is conveying to us through his creatures, we become closer to him and we develop a certain affectivity for him. Consequently, our relationship with him becomes more intimate and this is the essence of Ecological Spirituality. It is a spirituality nourished by our intimate contact with nature which eventually ends in our intimate contact with God. It is a spiritual life nurtured and sustained by our intrinsic encounter with God’s created world and all that it contains. It is the fruit of our consistent contemplative stance that unfolds to us the presence of the ever-living God and his bounteous love.