GOD’S DREAM WITH US
(The final statement of the three day ECOJESUIT MEET, 2012)
Moments of Grace is what we fifty eco-friendly Jesuits and three women collaborators of South Asia (gathered at Tarumitra, Patna, 10-12 March, 2012) experienced through our conversations with one another. Beginning our journey on Basant Panchami or Holi, the day of colours, we discovered the magnificent colours of nature, relished the plenitude of Mother Earth and encountered the ‘divine milieu’ in which we are enveloped in. We invite our companions in South Asia to a similar journey to drink in deeply and live the many ‘Earth Moments’ in and through our way of being and engaging in our ministries as Jesuits.
1) In Gratitude
We listened to the many stories of our men in the South Asia Assistancy, of initiating meaningful involvements and daring interventions in the cause of ecology. We are particularly proud of our young men and many activists and their creative, scholarly and involved approach to environmental issues, especially those related to the poor. We feel further supported by the commitment of our women-collaborators and volunteers. We continue listening to the many such narratives of our people, especially from the wisdom traditions of the Adivasis. In South Asia we have inherited a very rich and unique tradition of a deep sense of the cosmos/sacred i.e. a sense of wonder and awe, openness and surrender before the mystery of creation. Reverence for nature and interdependence of the secular and the sacred are familiar perspectives for us from our rich and varied traditions of different Indic religions, traditions, philosophies and modern Indian Renaissance thinkers like Tagore and Gandhi. We are indebted to them for the integral approach to life that gives due care to the cosmos. We have much to learn from these sources.
2) Jesuit Heritage.
It is part of our Jesuit heritage to see the principle and foundation of our way of life in the ever-new and ever-creative cosmic dance of our God of surprises. We recall the invitation of St. Ignatius to relate with creation in a respectful manner keeping the ‘end’ in view. The mystic in St. Ignatius leads us to the perspective of ‘relational wholeness’ with regard to all things. Ignatius challenges us today, to join the enterprise of the kingdom, hearing the groaning of creation (Rom 8:22) for fullness. ‘Wounded Mother Earth’ cries with the poor, for a new healing touch through us, a partner of a creative evolutionary movement. The Spiritual Exercises equip us anew for this task with a contemplative eye to “find God in everything and everything in God”-Ignatius (Wholeness); ‘For ultimately, there is no reality that is only profane for those who know how to look’ (GC 35. D.2. No.27 Cf. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin). Studying the documents of GC 34 & 35, the post GC 35-S.A. Consultation (Jamshedpur 2010) and the appeal of Fr. General (‘Healing A Broken World’ 2011-HBW), we learn of a renewed call for ‘greening the earth’ towards the joyful realization of the fullness of creation. (Caritas in Veritate, Benedict XVI)
3) Urgent and Critical.
We recognized the urgency and criticality of the environmental crisis and we see in it an opportunity for the entire humanity to come to a new consciousness of its role and responsibility to lead the divine-propelled movement of evolution to its fullness. We acknowledge the alarming situation of ‘polluted water, air and land’, their impact especially on women and children, development induced displacement of the poor and destruction of their habitat caused by the reckless exploitation of natural resources in the tribal areas. The cry of the earth is the cry of the poor. The dominant development model and the consumerist life-style, accelerated by technology-driven globalization and promoted by corporates today are self-defeating and suicidal, which is both disturbing and challenging. “It is the very dream of God that is under threat” (HBW). We perceive in the concern for ecology, the emergence of a new integrated approach, to questions of faith and justice. Development worth its name has to be holistic and inclusive; it should lead to the growth of the entire community in relation to God’s creation. “The cosmos is not a collection of objects but a communion of subjects” (Fr. Thomas Berry). We owe a new relationship with Mother Earth.
4) Walking Humbly.
We discovered new interconnectedness with and inter-dependence of the whole of creation and within creation; diversity and plurality are the hallmarks of this marvellous universe. Science tells us that matter is energy. To be is to be related, and related with all, from its origin. We have the star-dust in us, leading us to the fullness of the divine image together with the whole of creation. We are on an exciting journey into a new consciousness where we are the privileged partners/co-creators with the whole of creation. In this journey we learn ‘to walk humbly, love tenderly and act justly’, (Micah 6:8) ever-evolving into God’s unimaginable design. A new spirituality of reconciliation (connecting), peace (nurturing), newness and transformation (illuminating) through constant ‘dying and rising’ is unfolding before us. The Spirit is alive and pervasive everywhere and at all times.
5) Epochal Change.
We learned that there is a common goal for the whole of creation and a common mission for all humankind which is consoling and affirming. With all its diverse cultures, religions, scientific progress and technological advance, humanity is the servant/handmaid of this ‘Evolving Creation’. Cosmic consciousness is providing us a new paradigm of relating with and knowing the universe in a ‘compassionate’ spirit that is marked by the Paschal way which is calling forth new expressions. The image of the Risen Lord beckons us to walk this road in hope to the fullness of this exciting creative evolution.
6) Dream to realize.
We therefore resolve once again, in response to the Fr. General’s appeal, to appreciate and relish the wonder of this creation; to labour for the preservation of the bio-diversity of our planet; to reduce pollution in whatever way we can and to struggle with the poor for dignity and sustainable living. We hope to do this as individual Jesuits, to implement it in all our communities from the novitiates to the apostolates; to undertake serious research on ecological issues and interact with research institutes and policy makers in our areas of ministries. We dream to adopt strategies and net-working in this regard and to take up advocacy to elicit global support and to enhance local expertise. Our institutions of higher learning and research can certainly play a major role in this regard.
We are all CO-CREATORS WITH GOD in this evolutionary eco-journey, MAKING HIS DREAM, HIS KINGDOM HERE ON EARTH A REALITY!