A faith that engages with care for the earth

A group of inspiring and committed young adults came together last weekend to engage with themes in the Pope's letter calling on all of humanity to 'Care for our Common Home'. The retreat was facilitated by the new(ish) Laudato Si Community in Clapham, London, and held in the Jesuit Novitiate in Birmingham.

The sunshine blazed brightly and spring was most definitely in the air, and plenty of the weekend was spent engaging directly with the beauty of creation - wandering around in the garden, lapping up the sun, and praying over each of our unique invitations to engage with caring for this Earth we are part of.

The group explored a whole series of themes from the Pope's letter, from the encouragement to a culture of encounter with reality rather than escaping into abstract ideas, to Teilhard de Chardin's take on the 'work of love' as a fundamental force at the heart of the cosmos, to an example of hearing the 'cry of the poor and the cry of the earth' in the film ‘The Salt of the Earth’, a documentary following the life and work of Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado.

“We also threw in some Ignatian discernment, time for prayer and reflection, Mass, opportunities for Reconciliation and good food and good wine a plenty,” explains Iona Reid-Dalglish, spiritual director at St Beuno’s who helped run the weekend. “A sense of the desire to live more simply and responsibly, a need for leaders who are humble and genuine, and a call to just take the next step without needing to figure the whole thing out were emerging thoughts from the weekend.”

The group ended the retreat with the following meditative piece by Bishops Ken Untener:

'It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church's mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.'


For more events and programmes for young adults, visit MAGIS UK website

For students concerned about the current environmental challenges faced by our planet and the contribution that religious faith can make within interdisciplinary approach to these challenges, there is a new MA in Theology, Ecology and Ethics. Find out more