Building deep listening into our ecological practices

By Sue Martin, 27 September 2021
Image: Pexels/Pixabay.


Season of Creation 2021

“Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” – Laudato Si’, 49.

Our challenge for the Season of Creation 2021 is to truly listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. A call from Pope Francis but also in Australia, the call of the Australian Bishops, as we unpack the 2021/2022 Social Justice Statement.

We in the global north do not do enough listening, especially to the global south and to sister: mother earth, we are just too busy. Can we build deep listening into our ecological practice over the Season of Creation starting 1 September and finishing 4 October, the feast of St Francis of Assisi?

Our challenge as we build our faith in action is to accompany those who are crying out. Where are the cries of the earth and the poor for you as during the Season of Creation? And what does authentic listening look like?

The spiritual exercises give us the tools needed to deeply listen, as we listen to the sounds of creation we can gradually tune in to God’s voice. To truly see the wonder and awe in all creation. Can you spend some time each day listening to sister, mother earth? As we build our spiritual strengths in listening, we are called to not just listen but to hear the cries.

For many listening to the cries of those impacted by COVID in our own communities and across the globe, we are listening and want #endcovid4all

For me, I have set myself the challenge to listen to our Ecojesuit climate youth leaders. One youth leader inspired me to find a way to share her story, a very simple Zoom interview can be found here.

Novita Tongo lives in Bandasari, Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, Indonesia. For Novita, the global north, through industries such as extraction and palm oil plantations, has seen her natural environment altered, so much so that the rivers dried up in the dry season and locally the rainforest has been replaced by palm oil monocultures. Novita is grieving, but we are listening. Sr Ana Pina who is part of the Ecojesuit network has started Girls Moving Indo, encouraging leadership by Novita and the bamboo project they have started. Novita shares, “Nature has put in all its strength to heal me. Today, nature is suffering. It’s a sign for me to do something. It’s a call for me to go ‘Home’, to heal one of its wounded parts. Now. Here. In my hometown. Borneo.”

For me, Novita is truly inspirational.

Your challenge may be just to listen to creation in your backyard, your local park. You may be close to a landscape scarred after the bushfires or floods. What are the cries you can hear? How could you respond?

For many, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has us grieving. In our Ignatian Year, the Ignatian Solidarity Network is offering Renewing the Earth: Living Laudato Si in the Year of Ignatius, a campaign that invites the Ignatian family to consider St Ignatius’ conversion, or “cannonball moment,” as a model for our own ecological conversion in this historic environmental moment that requires a renewal of our spirits and of the earth.

The Season of Creation, from 1 September through to 4 October, is a period where thousands of Christians get together for a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth, and to discover radically new ways of living with creation. More than ever before, we are urged to unite in prayer and take action for our common home. This Season of Creation, can you deeply listen to the cry of the earth, and the cry of the poor and #act4ourcommonhome?

Why not take some time each day to read, reflect and listen?

Further suggested reading:

Further suggested practices during Season of Creation and beyond:

The Peace, Justice and Ecology Office has created a website full of online activities and resources to commemorate the Season of Creation, which runs until 4 October, the Feast of St Francis of Assisi. Visit today.

Sue Martin is a parishioner of St Madeleine Sophie Barat Parish, Kenthurst, and is a member of the Northern Deanery Pastoral Council. She is also a part-time Coordinator for the JISA Being with God in Nature ministry for the Australian Jesuit Province and a part-time Catholic Earthcare Coordinator for Caritas Australia.


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