“We know that things can change” (LS 13).
Laudato Si Week 2021 is an event that will take place from 16-25 May and will conclude the special Laudato Si Year and the celebration of the progress the Church has made in terms of ecological conversion. The Pope has called us to an ecological conversion through a communal conversion (LS 219). How are we Redemptorists taking up this call?
In the second chapter of our constitutions, in number 43, it is stated that the apostolic community must be open to the world so that, through human contacts, it may better know the signs of the times and places and be better able to adapt itself to the demands of evangelisation. It is precisely this quality of openness that enables local communities in particular and the Congregation in general to understand its vocation in today’s wounded world. It leads it to take up the call to ecological conversion.
One may think that the terms “ecological conversion” and “integral ecology” are fashionable concepts with little to do with the essential elements of our Christian faith and practice. But it is precisely this attitude that Pope Francis invites us to overcome because it dislocates the relationships between God, the human person, humanity and the whole of creation. Moreover, “living the vocation to be protectors of God’s work is an essential part of a virtuous existence, and is neither optional nor a secondary aspect of the Christian experience” (LS 217).
Pope Francis interprets the Social Doctrine of the Church and the reality of today’s wounded world from the perspective of ecological conversion and integral ecology. For Redemptorists, this is an opportunity to reread our spirituality in the light of current events. But it is also a challenge to cultivate an integrative spirituality that recognises the links between social justice and environmental justice. The encyclical Laudato Si articulates the connections between environmental justice, conflicts, refugees and poverty, considering that an ecological approach is always an approach for the social and the spiritual. This is why the cry of the earth and the cry of the earth are ultimately one. Our apostolic ministry, seen from an ecological perspective, can open up challenges for us, but at the same time, great possibilities for interpreting our charism and incarnating it in today’s reality. The call to ecological conversion and integral ecology thus represent the forces shaping our Redemptorist being in today’s wounded world.
Today’s apostolic ministry of Redemptorists involves the search for an integral ecology that is capable of recognising the close relationship between the preaching of the Good News to the most abandoned and the protection of our Common Home. And it also implies the search, as Pope Francis affirms in LS 217, for an ecological conversion that allows all the consequences of the encounter with Jesus Christ to emerge in our relations with the world around us.
Many of our local communities have already started to move in this direction, but there is still much to be internalised and realised. The General Commission of PS-JPIC hopes that Laudato Si Week will be an opportunity to explore and generate ideas and initiatives that will lead us to creatively integrate the values of Laudato Si into our Redemptorist spirituality.
General Commission for Social Pastoral Care – Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation