Integral Ecology Presentation Re-scheduled

Monday, 21 January 2019

What made our past blessed and our present vibrant is what will make our future empowered.

What made our past blessed and our present vibrant is what will make our future empowered. Quite simply, it is love. Love is not tracked in the same way as returns on investment or field yields or even the number of trees planted. Love is not a number. It is not a quantity, but a quality. Quality can be difficult to measure.

How did love bring us to this moment in time? We could count the number of people whose lives were touched by the Poor Handmaids. We could count the number of ministries they started, or the years since they’ve been in America. And those numbers are all impressive on their own and yet, we all know that is not even half of the story. Love is not bound by numbers, it is not bound by time. One act of love is enough to change the entire reality of existence, as Christ taught us.

The labor of love that is the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and all of their ministries has been a humble yet revolutionary force. Caring for the poor and underserved will always be radical as long as people continue to face hunger and poverty, as long as people continue to meet refugees with guns and walls.

Love frees us from the illusion that our lives are separate from others. Love reveals the underlying reality that we are all one in a shared life, in community life. In the words of nondual Christian scholar and teacher Beatrice Bruteau:

“[Community] is the way things actually are, this is reality. In this sense, healing is getting back to the norm. Life-sharing, love-sharing, being-sharing is what everything, at root, does. And doing is a better word than just ‘being’, if being is felt as static, as a ‘substance’ which can then either act or not act. We are, at bottom, in our pure authenticity, pure existence, pure activity. We are distinct by our existential acts of love toward one another, pouring ourselves out to unite all our friends, our kindred.”

This is an appropriate way to sum up integral ecology when we understand this life-sharing and doing-sharing as applying not just to our relationships with one another, but also to our relationships with all of Creation, with all living beings. There is no single perspective that is most accurate, no discipline with all the right answers, no practice that leads to absolute perfection. Only in being and doing, performing acts of love and giving ourselves to one another and to our natural home are we able to heal ourselves and our world for a truly empowered future.

Integral ecology is nothing if not the incorporation of authentic love into how we treat one another and our planet. It is easy to get distracted by scientific studies, cost-benefit analyses, and even ethical dilemmas. The simplest way to understand integral ecology, especially in terms of its place in our vision for the future, is understanding that it is all about love, in order that we may heal ourselves, our planet, and one another.

To learn more about Integral Ecology, a presentation at The Center at Donaldson will be held:

9:00 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 5 - Evergreen Room at Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center

1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 5 - Evergreen Room at Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center

3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 5 - Catherine Kasper Room at Catherine Kasper Home

All are welcome to attend this informal session with Sheryl Meyers as she presents Chapter 4 of Pope Francis' Laudato Sí, the chapter on Integral Ecology.