Panelists discussed ways that contemplation and the healing of our planet come together.
Can contemplation heal the planet? The “Contemplation and Creation” webinar tackled this issue in the first of three online dialogues that will take place throughout the year as part of Laudato Si’ Movement’s Contemplation Program, with the aim of helping individuals and communities to become more familiar with contemplation and deepen their practice.
The webinar touched on ways that contemplation and the healing of our planet come together, what prophetic action grounded in contemplation looks like, the role of discernment, and much more.
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Speakers’ main reflections:
Sr. Kate Midgley, Columban Sister and Laudato Si’ Animator, spoke of how those involved in environmental activism increasingly feel the need for a spiritual dimension.
“Facing the enormity and the urgency of the ecological and climate emergency can seem very overwhelming at times, especially as governments aren’t doing what is needed to address this problem. As a Church, we are slowly creating more awareness.”
“We need both–the contemplation and the action, because there is an urgency there. Contemplation gives us the time to have the space before God, and from that space creativity and imagination can emerge.”
Cristiana Ferraz, World Community for Christian Meditation Member, talked about her ecological conversion experience, from Brazil’s “concrete jungle” to the Amazon.
“I found this absolutely simple practice of praying silently, repeating a single word or phrase and giving it your complete attention.”
“You don’t have a revelation, but things start changing on a daily basis. The smallest things start changing in your routine. Eventually, that adds up to change our view of the world and your relationship with reality.”
“The important thing is just starting and being faithful to that one thing, no matter how small. God’s grace will do the rest.”
Fr. Lluc Torcal, Procurator General of the Cistercian Order, spoke of how contemplation is the core and the center of a monastic life, trying to see life as God sees it. He also shared examples of how his monastery has undergone the process of ecological conversion.
“As a monk, our life is always based on prayer. We are called to have a praying life, and our days are filled with prayer and work.”
“Our culture is a culture of dualisms…The experience and testimony of monastic life is that there cannot be a separate way between contemplative life and activism.”
“Christian contemplation is a gift from the Holy Spirit for each of us.”
Christina Leaño, Laudato Si’ Movement’s Associate Director,spoke of the organization’s new name symbolizing “contempl-action” (also known as the Slow-Fast Paradox). The words “Laudato Si’ Movement,” standing side by side, are an invitation to engage in both prayerful “contemplation” of God’s Creation and bold “action” for God’s Creation.
Moderating the event, she invited panelists to share their experiences and offer practical advice on ways to cultivate the practice of contemplation and deepen our contemplative journey.
To summarize the events’ theme, Christina quoted Pope Francis: “The best antidote against the misuse of our common home is contemplation.”
Look out for more opportunities to contemplate together during Laudato Si’ Week 2022, May 22-29!