By Maria Antonietta Manna
Laudato Si ‘Animator of the Italian eco-spirituality team, and Senior Community Animator of the CEI Policoro project

Maria Antonietta Manna

“Less is more” (LS 222). An appeal to sobriety, simplicity, sufficiency, sustainability, the spirituality of wonder, the sense of communion with nature. This is the heart of the interventions of the authoritative speakers and the reflections of the participants from all over Europe at the ELSiA International Workshop “Spirituality and Ecology after Laudato Si ‘”, held in Taizé from the 12th  to the 14th of  November, in which I had the great joy of participating, under invitation by the Italian Commission for Justice and Peace of the Italian Bishop Conference (CEI).

A journey through the different shades of eco-spirituality, in a personal and, at the same time, community experience of knowledge, meditation, comparison, which enriches the inner world. In a historical time marked by both the climate crisis and the health one, there is a need to bring out the rainbow that is within us, which nothing and no one can turn off. It contains the colors of the experience of creation, the very creation of which we are part, where we meet our Creator, who designed the world from love and wisdom.

All the members of creation follow a rhythm, experience relationships, shape their own group identity, understand interconnection and interdependence, live and fight for the principles of justice of the Earth, in the full awareness that there is only one God, the Creator.

Hence it arises that narrative of creation in which spirituality finds its foundation and, through the sense of history, is integrated into the global vision of the world: brotherhood of the members of creation, intrinsic value of all creatures, bonds to one another, with nature and with God, a process of harmonious interaction in the different aspects of society.

In a current world that is witnessing an unprecedent ecological crisis, there is a need to nurture hope, to move away from hectic consumerism, to open up to forgotten relationships and grace, to rediscover the joy, which needs time and dedication, since integral ecology brings our responsibilities into play as stewards of a creation that has been given us.

It is necessary to connect our spirituality to commitment, taking a cue from the “saints of ecology” such as Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Friar Roger founder of the Taizé community, who lived and transmitted their sense of communion with nature, each in their own places and spaces. Gratitude, humility, justice, moderation, joy, serenity, care, generosity and a pure sense of life must always accompany our eco-spiritual journey.

A moment was also dedicated to the Laudato Si’ art, in which objects made with waste material by the animator LS Daniela Manna were also presented, some of which will become Christmas decorations for the community tree of her town. An example of a spirituality that inspires, small concrete actions starting that process of transformation and change we need to heal our relationships with our planet and our Creator.

We come back to our  places richer, motivated in our commitment and aware that “Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life, and encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption”. (LS 222)