Healing our broken relationship with creation

Father General Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ has called on all Jesuits to restore and heal humanity’s broken relationship with creation with the same urgency as we are called to serve a faith that does justice.

In a letter to the whole Society on September 16, Father General encouraged the Society to make a commitment to the sustainability of our planet and invited Jesuits to review personal, communal and institutional lifestyles and practices in accordance with this mission of reconciliation with creation.  

“Just as we Jesuits are called to promote and serve right relationships with God and with other human beings, in the same way and with the same urgency, we are called today to restore and heal humanity’s broken relationship with creation,” he said.

He said the ecological challenges in the broken world we live in “demand of us a change of heart that manifests our gratitude to God for the gift of creation and our readiness to embark on the path of conversion”.

Father General also announced the publication of “Healing a Broken World”, a document developed by a Task Force on Ecology at his appeal and convened by the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat and the Secretariat for Higher Education in June 2010.   A group of Jesuits and lay people from all the Conferences worked through their various disciplines to help the Society, collaborators, and friends reach out to those frontiers where nature and human life are seriously threatened.

“Healing a Broken World” provides a situation overview, noting the trends that mark the course of climate change.  It reflects on the motivation for our commitment in this area - the climate challenges that many people suffer and the anguish of many whom the Society accompanies, the biblical roots and appeals of the Social Doctrine of the Church and of Ignatian spirituality, the request of General Congregation 35, and the invitation to collaborate from civic and ecclesial movements.

The document concludes with recommendations for commitments and initiatives that can be undertaken at all levels of the Society by Provinces, Conferences, communities and works - communities and institutions, spirituality centres, parishes and universities, as well as the communication media.

Fr Pedro Walpole SJ, a member of the Task Force on Ecology and Ecology Coordinator for the Jesuit Conference Asia Pacific shares some concrete examples of engagement that reinforce the stream of hope underlining the document.

“Working through the garbage bins with the ground staff of Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, we reduced the waste by 30% and we will reduce it further in the months ahead with student engagement.  Every Jesuit institute and community is taking this on and we can do this when we practically apply ourselves and be seen to care.  On the Mekong River, 40 people gathered last month and touched the vastness of this flow of life that it is so great as to embrace 60 million people; and yet, development of the region’s economics, of energy, and extraction of resources, threaten to strangle the living ecosystems and cultures of this flow of life,” he said. 

“We need to live life and have lifestyles reflecting Creator and creation as celebrated and upheld.  There is no lasting development, no human development for all of us, without Creator and creation.”

Click here to read “Healing a Broken World”.

To find out what the Jesuits in Asia Pacific are doing to reconcile with creation, go to http://sjapc.net/what-we-do/ecology

The Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific has a carbon offset scheme, called Flights for Forests.  Click here to learn about it and participate.