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Ecology Reflections from Fr. John Surette, SJ

A reflection by Fr. John Surette, SJ

It is time to abandon the illusion that the environment is not central to the long-term economic health and well-bring of all the Earth’s peoples. Injustice for us humans and destruction of Earth’s bio-systems are not two separate challenges. They are one. Hidden behind economic poverty today is ecological depredation. We cannot have healthy people on a sick planet.

It is time to embrace the reality of our cosmic interconnectedness. Native Americans tell us about the sacred circle and hoop. The Buddhist tradition speaks of everything being dependent on everything else for its existence. Our Christian mystics teach us that we cannot be fully human without being in communion with all that exists. Significantly, our scientists now refer to the Universe as a single energy event, as a cosmic communion in which everything in the Universe is present to everything else in the Universe.

To be is to be related. Galaxies, planets, oceans, plants, humans…all come out of a common beginning some fourteen billion years ago and today we enjoy our existence within this communion that continues to this day at the center of cosmic reality. This communion makes all our human activities possible and it also puts restraints on those same activities.

It is time to move out of that consciousness which perceives creation in terms of separateness and dualism, that world-view which structures reality into superior and inferior, dominant and subordinate; the human over the rest of the natural world, men over women, first world over third world, one race and religion over another. The fundamental conversion required is to see all as interdependent partners sharing in one Earth-human community.

It is time to build a human society that is more truly human and that is radically participative in the dynamics of Earth. We need to nurture the awareness that the human and the other-than-human are of their very essence connected to each other, both possessing spiritual qualities and moral rights.

Is it possible for those of us who have lost hope in the human endeavor and/or in our planet’s survival to regain that hope within the cosmic reality of interconnectedness? Is it possible for the poor and the rest of us to listen to each other and to do justice together within this communion? Is it possible for us, as woman and men of faith, to focus our meditation upon the mystical bond that exists between us humans and Earth?

It is possible! It is no accident that we are living at this time in history. It is time to act. It is not yet too late for Earth and its humans!

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