Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ecology and Spirituality

Jeff Peck, a member of the Commission on Peace and Justice, offers the following Lenten reflection.

Getting What You Want or Wanting What You Have?

We are all aware of the condition of the physical world. Depletion of fossil fuels, climate change, raising rates of asthma among children, concerns over water purity, and other signs indicate that we are having an effect on the environment around us. At the heart of many of these problems is the extreme to which our consumerism has gone. The drive to own more and use more is not at the heart of our Christian faith.

We are called to develop a holistic relationship between ourselves and nature. In Genesis, we are given stewardship over the Earth and its inhabitants. We are given the opportunity to see the interconnectedness and interdependence of all living things. In a sense all living things are our neighbors. Jesus calls us to love our neighbor and therefore to seek what is good for them. This good includes a healthy world. Part of Christian spirituality is the belief that humankind has a serious responsibility to care for the earth’s resources by using them wisely and replenishing them.

We are to live our lives virtuously. We can do so through:
· Temperance – embracing a simple balanced lifestyle.
· Prudence – Using good judgment in consuming the world’s resources.
· Justice – Right action toward the earth through a deep respect for all creation and doing what is needed to help it flourish.
· Fortitude – Having the courage to redress the ecological problems which exist today by recognizing our obligation to collaborate with God to bring all of creation to completion.

One of the frequent “church conversations” at this time of year includes the issue of what to give up or do for Lent. We are often urged to do something positive. We can be both penitential as well as outwardly constructive if we simply resolve in a very concrete way to consume less.