The season of Advent invites us to deepen the mystery of the Incarnation, an essential element of our faith and also of our Trinitarian spirituality. But what does it mean for me today, and for us as a community, to live our relationship with Jesus, the Word of God who became flesh and came to dwell among us, in a coherent way?
What consequences does it bring to us SSpS to assume in depth the mystery of the incarnation in the face of the challenge of global warming and the destruction of nature that affects especially the poorest and most vulnerable of our planet? Therefore, in the light of the Document Laudato Si’ and the spiritual heritage of our founding generation, let us allow ourselves to be challenged by God and listen to the cry of mother earth, opening our whole being for a real ecological conversion.
Saint Arnold Janssen was enraptured by the image of the child Jesus and meditated on the great mystery of the love of God who was not content merely to create the world, but wanted to become one of us and fully assume human reality. Following our Founder, in an attitude of adoration, surrender, praise and admiration, let us open our hearts so that God himself may reveal himself in us and transform us according to “his benevolent will”.
The incarnation of Jesus has its origin in the passionate love of the Triune God for all his creation: “God so loved the world that he gave His own Son”. It is a Trinitarian action that transforms history and the destiny of all creation from within. The Eternal Word, in becoming one of us, inserts Himself within the created world as part of creation. The creative Word of the Father, by which everything was called into existence, is now within every being, not only within us humans, but takes on all creatures to bring them to redemption.
On God’s part there is a great emptying (kenosis): the Word of God takes on human weakness, grows like any baby in Mary’s womb and depends entirely on her for survival. Like any child he needs to be breastfed, he needs hygiene care, he needs to learn to speak, to take his first steps… Only God is capable of loving like this…
At the same time that the Trinity, through Jesus the Son, penetrates humanity and Creation by becoming one of us, it initiates a process of transformation of the universe, bringing it into the Trinity. By humanising himself, God also divinises us. Here is salvation! By this act of inexplicable love, we are called to share in Trinitarian life and, with Jesus, we also die and rise to eternal life. This mystery involves the whole of creation “which groans in labour pains” waiting for the “new heaven and the new earth”.
God the Trinity has always looked upon creation with love. Everything in the universe is interconnected and participates in some way in communion with God, its Creator. We too, created in the image and likeness of God, have been moulded in love to love and live together and relate to all other beings with care and respect. By deviating from this path, we have exploited nature and turned it into our slave, exhausting its resources and destroying its equilibrium. Now we face the consequences of humanity’s own abuse.
We may think that this is too complex a problem for us to solve and that our personal and community actions do not interfere in this process. But this is a mistaken view. We are part of humanity and part of creation. If even our thoughts can interfere with the whole, how much more our actions. We have personal responsibility and also as a community, as a Congregation and as Church…
Pope Francis in the Laudato Si (LS) encyclical reminds us that God, in Jesus Christ became part of the natural world. Jesus himself appreciated the natural world, Jesus constantly interacted with the nature (flowers, seas, mountains, lakes, birds, etc.…) Both in the Old and the New Testaments, the theme of love for creation is highlighted. Both the mystery of incarnation and the LS encyclical stress the care for creation and humanity. One cannot care for the nature “if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings” LS no.91).
Laudato Si document is addressed to every person on the planet to have an ecological conversion, in which we see the intimate connection between God and all beings, and more readily listen to the “cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”(LS no. 49).
For our reflection today let us evaluate our attitudes towards creation and, looking at Jesus Incarnate and the first two goals of the Laudato Si Action Platform. Can we find a personal and communitarian way to answer to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the Poor and play our role?
The Response to the Cry of the Earth is a call to protect our common home for the wellbeing of all, as we equitably address the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and ecological sustainability. Actions could include the adoption of renewable energies and energy sufficiency measures, achieving carbon neutrality, protecting biodiversity, promoting sustainable agriculture, and guaranteeing access to clean water for all.
The Response to the Cry of the Poor is a call to promote eco-justice, aware that we are called to defend human life from conception to death, and all forms of life on Earth. Actions could include projects to promote solidarity, with special attention given to vulnerable groups such as indigenous communities, refugees, migrants, and children at risk, analysis and improvement of social systems, and social service programmes.
Gretta Fernandes, SSpS, is the Mission Secretary of the Congregation in Rome and member of the Director Board of Vivat International.
Ana Elidia Neves, SSpS, is the Congregational Communication Coordinator and member of the Editorial Team of Vivat Deus Website.
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