By Jean-Claude Bonnemere
Spirituality of the cosmos, green theology, “Laudato si” (encyclical of pope francis)… references to theecology multiply within the Church, arousing growing interest among Christians. To Bergantytown of 120 inhabitants, close to Saint-Cirq-Lapopiewas held on August 28, 2022, for the second consecutive year, a diocesan day dedicated to “theintegral ecology “.
A hundred participants met under the leadership of Father Bertrand Cormier, coordinator of this meeting, joined by Msgr. Laurent Camiade, Bishop of Cahors. Guest of honor: Father François Euvé sj, theologian of creation, holder of the chair of Teilhard de Chardin, editor-in-chief of the journal Études. “Listening to the voice of Creation”, such was the theme declined from different angles: conference, workshops, sharing of experiences…
find the fundamental
“Go back to elementary ; find in our life the most fundamental of existence ! » says Fr. Euvé. The theologian points the finger, “the artificialization of the environment”, the examples of which have continued to multiply across the planet, to the point of excess, with in particular a ski resort built, in the middle of the desert, in Dubai… Going back to elementary means rediscovering “what makes us human : listen to Creation ». For the Christian, it is a matter of listening to the Word of God and remembering that according to the Bible, “God creates by the Word”. “The Word of God is not primarily a commstatement, but an invitation to dialogue… » he insists. It is a dialogue of alliance, of love between the Creator and the creatures. “The Church invites us to listen to the Word of God, through creatures ; let’s be aware ! » he adds.
The Earth reminds us through bad weather, this is what the theologian calls: the cry of the Earth. However, François Euvé notes an encouraging development with a growing perception of the life of the animal and plant world, whereas these were only considered as goods, at our disposal… Question that everyone must ask themselves: are we listening to Creation, or do we consider it as a simple reserve of materials at our disposal?
The scientific community recognizes a life specific to the animal world and the plant world; even trees would be able to communicate with each other, according to observations made by several researchers… “ Everyone has a life of their own ! » says Fr. Euvé. He invites us to hear God speak to us through his creatures: “The animal world and the plant world are carriers of their own value, which we must observe ! »
An invitation to “decenter”
Entering into an ecological approach means agreeing to “decenter” oneself, whereas man has so far evolved in an “anthropocentric” conception (placing the human being at the center of everything). The social thought of the Church is based on the development of humanity, “which cannot be done without a decentering of man, towards all other creatures ; how God speaks to us, across the entire Earth”. Direct reference to the Book of Genesis: “God made the wild beasts after their kind, the cattle after their kind, and all the creatures of the earth after their kind. And God saw that it was good. »… Theology that invites man to experience how God speaks to us through creatures. In Christian revelation, God is incarnate and access to God is through matter. God himself became incarnate, recalls Fr. Euvé. He quotes Teilhard de Chardin: “Through the notion of incarnation, we find the sense of the presence of God in matter”. It should be asked, how through the consideration of the material, we live this harmony!
“Understand that everything is connected…”
In the second part of his speech, Fr. Euvé refers to the canticle of Francis of Assisi: “Praise be to you, Lord, “by” all your creatures… » He observes how a bad translation from ancient Italian was able to change the preposition “by” into “for”, whereas the original version precisely invites this “decentering” of man in relation to the Creator and his creatures. He recalls in passing that ecology is first and foremost the science of relationships, before being the defense of nature; the perception that everything is connected. With this same insistence on realizing that we can only be ourselves in a relationship of dependence on others. “Fundamentally, we only exist in dependence on others and our environment.nly » supports François Euvé. Another dimension to be taken into account in the integral ecology approach: hearing the cry of the Earth and hearing the cry of the poor, the two are linked. “We will only be able to fulfill ourselves fully if we receive from those who have nothing to give us ! » he says, explaining that “The whole point is to understand that the one who apparently has nothing to give us, perhaps has “something else” to give us ! »
In conclusion, the fundamental attitude of the Christian is to recognize, “what I have received from God, through mediations, people and nature”… put ourselves in a position of recognition of all that has been given to us. In this way, we gain access to Christian ecology. Therefore, it is necessary to re-establish the links between all the components of the world. Father Euvé does not detach this approach from the component of freedom. The person asserts himself in his freedom; the relationship between God and humanity values this fundamental dimension, calling each human being to exercise their own responsibility. According to the theologian, the last word belongs to hope. Faced with catastrophism, collapsology (theory of the collapse of civilization), large-scale catastrophes… Christians are invited to take care of the Earth, to move towards reconciliation with God and creatures… Never forget that if evil entered the world, like the worm in the fruit, it is good that is at the origin of Creation…
From the Christian perspective, death does not have the last word because it is through the resurrection that the Son of God conquered death. Christians are called to bear witness to this hope, in a world tempted by despair, by praising God and his creatures, in prayer and in deeds…
Workshops provided information on the use of a domestic solar oven, agriculture and animal husbandry, zero waste, paints made from natural materials, seasonal products, waste recycling…
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