CHAPTER Such other worldly spirituality often moved disciples

CHAPTER 5RESPONSE TO THE
ECO-CRISISIntroductionThe
ecological crisis that threatens to affect the entire world of nature and
humanity has led to frantic search to track down the basic causes responsible
for the crisis. Religions in general have contributed towards the crisis either
through their teachings which underplayed the role of nature as in the case of
Christianity, or by the failure to prevent ecological destruction despite
appreciation of nature, as in the case of Buddhism. Our focus here however
shall be limited to a brief consideration of the role of the Biblical religion
in the whole crisis and can be broadly summarized into three positions: that
Biblical Religion is primarily responsible for the ecological crisis, that
Biblical tradition has no role in the abuse of nature, and that Biblical faith
encouraged the crisis with its ambiguous views regarding the Divine – human
relationship towards nature.14. 1. Response to the
Eco- Crisis: An Ecological Vision of SpiritualityChristian
spirituality has often focused on an outside God, one who lives in the realm of
heaven, far removed from earth. Such other worldly spirituality often moved
disciples to flee the world to find God. In the extreme such spirituality
viewed God as a being so far beyond this earth. That the earth was considered
to be a Godless place, a fallen place, a fallen world, which had to be
transcended completely in order to be in union with God. This image of God
often still prevails in Christian spirituality today. With our contemporary
understanding of nature and concern for environmental issues, however, more
positive images of God as creator and nurturer can better engender a reverence
for the earth and motivate Christians to be active as co-creators with God who
is lovingly involved with creation. Therefore today in the context of
ecological crisis one needs to evolve an ecological spirituality that studies
our relationship to God and in the context of our relationship with the cosmos
in its totality. 24. 2.  New Evangelization: Eco- Focused. The
phrase “New Evangelization”3
calls our attention to a sharing of the faith, which is new in its vigor, new
in its method, and new in its expression. New in its vigor meant, it must come
from a greater unity with Christ who is the first agent of evangelization, from
a greater confidence in his power to change hearts, and longing and willingness
to transmit to others the joy of Faith. New in its method meant that every
member becomes an agent in spreading Christ’s message and in being coherent
with this mission in everyday behavior. New in its expression meant, that
Christians be attentive to the Lord’s suggestions at every moment of their
lives and learn to use a language which is understood by all and be committed
to justice in a way concomitant with evangelization. It should spring from a
‘new experience of God’, a new
consciousness of reality, a new understanding of past events, of present and
future possibilities. The new evangelization is a call to conversion; a call to
change and transform the present world view of the modern world toward true
wisdom and fullness of life for the whole humankind.4In
the context of our ecological crisis, we need to have a new experience of
ecological God, a new consciousness of this dreadful reality, a new
understanding of present needs and future possibilities. A new evangelization
is the vital need of the time for environmental protection. A call to repent
for our ecological sins must be part of our mission to the world.  It can be done in the following ways;·        
To make people aware of
the cosmic reality of which all creation form an integral   part.·        
To conscientize all
about the great dangers posed to the delicately balance eco-system and the
consequences of such an eco imbalance.     * To make aware of each one’s duty to
appreciate, preserve and nurture the Earth as     humankind’s
common heritage. Thus evangelization must reach the human greed,   selfishness, and utilitarian and exploitative
attitudes, which are the basic causes of ecological
crisis.54. 3. Christian Response
and the Following of JesusIn
the living memory of the Christian community, Jesus is a Wisdom teacher whose
parables are taken from nature, who finds God in the wilderness, and who
teaches that God clothes every wildflower and cares for every sparrow that
falls to the ground. In the light of his resurrection, Jesus is celebrated by
the first Christians as the wisdom/ word of God, the one in whom all things are
created and all things are reconciled. The contemporary concept of deep
incarnation suggests that in the word made flesh, God has embraced the
interconnected world of fleshy creatures, the whole web of life on earth. The
incarnation is God with us in the every tissue of biological life. From the
perspective of evolutionary history, Jesus can be seen as the self –
transcending of the evolving universe into God. From the side of God, Jesus can
be seen as God’s self communication to creation. Jesus is the event of
salvation because he is both God’s self- bestowal to creation and the radical
yes of creation to God.64. 3. 1. Diversity of
Life and the Expression of TrinityIn
a Trinitarian theology of creation, everything that exists springs from the
divine communion and all find its fulfillment in his communion. The word
“perichoresis” describes the mutual presence of divine persons, their ecstatic
being- with the other in diversity and freedom. In this kind of communion,
diversity and unity are not opposed but flourish in relation to each other.
Only the diversity of life- huge soaring trunks of trees, the community of
ants, the flashing colors of parrots, the beauty of wild flowers, along with
the mind and the heart of human- can give expression to the radical diversity
of life on earth, can be seen as sacramental, as expressing and representing
the abundance and dynamism of the divine communion. The Trinitarian insight
that God’s very being is relational provides a basis for the vision of the
fundamental reality of the universe as relational. The interrelatedness that ecologists
find in the biosphere on the Earth, and the interrelatedness that science
discovers at all levels from quantum physics to cosmology, springs from a God
whose being is to be in relationship.74. 3. 2. All Things in
ChristThe
resurrection changes created reality forever. In Jesus’ death, he freely hands
his bodily existence into the mystery of a loving God. In the resurrection, God
adopts Jesus’ creaturely reality as God’s own reality. The resurrection
constitutes an objective change in the world of creatures. It is the promise,
and the beginning, of the transformation of all things in Christ. We do not
have the mental picture of this transformation. The God of the future is a God
of radical, incomprehensible mystery. Our future and that of the rest of the
creation are hidden in God. What we know is the promise of God given in the
resurrection of Jesus, a promise that involves the embodied human person and
the created universe. Based on the God revealed in Christ, individual creatures
can be thought of as participating in redemption in Christ by being taken up
into the eternal divine life in a way that is appropriate to their nature. This
may occur in their being taken up, loved and celebrated eternally in the loving
memory of the Trinity and the communion of Saints. It may occur in other ways
that we cannot yet imagine or envisage. 84. 3. 3. In Worship and
PracticeWhen
Christians gather for Eucharist they bring creation with them. Every Eucharist
can be understood  as the lifting up of
creation to God, the living memory of both creation and redemption , the
sacrament of the cosmic Christ , participation with all God’s creatures in the
communion of the Trinity, and solidarity with victims. Following Jesus means
following the wisdom. It involves seeing all things as love by God and destined
to be taken up and transformed in Christ. It is a call to ecological conversion
that involves a new way of seeing, thinking and acting. It is a way of loving
knowledge, with the “loving eye”. It is to be led by the Spirit into ecological
praxis, which is a way of seeing that leads to action that leads back to
further reflection. What is needed is a mysticism of ecological praxis.
Christians committed to ecological praxis 
need to be mystics, finding God not only in the experience ofthe
boundless beauty of the natural world but also in the painful dark night of
loss, failure, and defeat and in the enduring , life –long commitment to the
Earth and its creatures.9 ConclusionAccording to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine
of the Church, there must be a consideration of the relationship between
development and exploitation of natural resources and it states that Catholic
social teaching calls for ‘economic activity’ to reconcile ‘the needs of
economic development’ with those of environmental protection. We cannot travel
through a middle path amidst the growing ecological crisis. Catholic social
thought emphasizes the person both as responsible for creation and at the same
time as at the centre of creation.10 The dual role that human beings are called to tread
invites for a renewed response to perceive and use the earth more carefully.  As regards the ecological question, the
social doctrine of the church reminds us that the goods of the earth created by
God to be used wisely by all. They must be shared equitably, in accordance with
justice and charity. This is not an option that is before us but a Christian
imperative. It is necessary to state that the
characteristic principle of social doctrine: the goods of this world are
originally meant for all. Some considerations that we need to keep in the whole
process of ecological discussions are respect for life, and above all for the
dignity of the human person is the ultimate guiding norm for any economic,
scientific and industrial progress”.11
Thus the social teachings of the Church emphasize on respect towards the
creation and also to respect the most vulnerable sections of the society.

1Tucker Grim.Worldviews and
Ecology.Editedby M. Oelschlaeger. London, Yale University, (1994), 5.

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2 Oliver Inchody, Towards the
Need of Re- conceiving Religious Spirituality: An Ecological Perspective, in
Earth People: Greening religious Life Today,( New Delhi: CRI Publication,
2009)  55.

3 The encyclical RedemptorisMissio
makes a distinction of three types of evangelization; evangelization ad gentes,
which refers to contexts in which Christ and his Gospel  are not known, pastoral care of the faithful,
who are fervent in their faith and Christian living and the new or re-
evangelization. (R. M). Speaking to the members of the federation of the
conferences of Latin American Bishops in Poto-au-prince, Haiti, on March 9,
1983 Pope John Paul II used the phrace  “New Evangelisation” for the first time.
Quoted by Thomas Menaparampil, in: Thoughts
on Evangelization, Bombay: St. 
Paul’s, (1997), p. 79.

4Ibid., p. 79-80.

5Ibid., p. 90.

6 Denis, Edwards. Jesus the
Wisdom of God: An Ecological Theology, (New York: Orbis Books, 1995), 55.

7Ibid., 70.

8Ibid., 180.

9 Denis Edwards, Ecology at the
Heart of Faith, (New York: Orbis Books, 2006), 199.

10 Bernard V Brady, Essential
Catholic Social Thought,( New York: Orbis Books, 2008), 202.

11  Judith A Dwyer. The New Dictionary of Catholic Social
Thought,(Collegeville:  The
Liturgical Press,1994), 307-                   308.