Nurturing an Ecological Spirituality for the Healing of our Wounded World
Within Redemptorist spirituality, Plentiful Redemption (Copiosa Redemptio) is a concept that directs us to the Abundant Life of Christ the Redeemer, whose source is in God-Father-Creator.
Redemptorists are sent to proclaim this abundant life as we strive to witness it through our lifestyle.
“I have come that they may have life, and life in abundance” are the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John (10:10b). These words go far beyond the promise of material abundance, prestige, power, or well-being. Indeed, it may include these elements, but the Redeemer’s offer of superabundant life is not exclusively human-centered. The current ecological crisis helps us to see, as Pope Francis says, that “everything is connected” (LS 34) and that the life of our planet Earth depends on the life on our planet Earth. This seems to be a very subtle distinction, but one that, at the same time, is very real. Thus, the Abundant Redemption of Christ is addressed to the human species in its interdependence on the other living species.
Our theology and mental structure have been anthropocentric; that is to say, it has been mostly articulated placing the human being as the center of Redemption, excluding or giving little importance to the rest of the created world. For this reason, the Season of Creation represents a precious opportunity to reflect, pray and deepen the way we understand and announce the Copiosa Redemptio, the superabundant life that marvelously manifests itself in the created world.
The consequences of sin, the antithesis of the Plentiful Redemption, can be seen today in the degradation of human life, generally that of the poorest, and the loss of sister species and their habitats. Creation cries out as the forests burn, the arctic ice melts, the Earth dries up, and the rivers become polluted or lose their flow. It is a sin that nestles in the human heart and, fueled by ambition and greed, makes ever greater demands on a fragile and limited planet.
Our interconnectedness with the entire created world implies that all forms of life interact with such a degree of dependence that what affects one, affects another. Deepening this idea may help us understand Pope Francis’s observation at the beginning of the pandemic: “we are all in the same boat” because we obtain our salvation in communion with the whole of Creation. We are all members of the same fabric of life, which, according to a single plan
of Redemption, can only find its source in Christ, the Life, the Way, and the Truth.
Redemptorists, within the context of the celebration of our XXVI General Chapter, are invited to listen to the voice of Creation and to reimagine our charism in the light of this emerging spirituality, the spirituality of integral ecology proposed by Pope Francis.
General Secretariat for Evangelization