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Lenten reflections on ecological conversion

29 February 2020

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Paul Pace SJ

A series of blog materials on ecological conversion entitled Ecological conversion: Why should I change? is being offered by the Jesuits in Malta as Lenten reflections. Written by Paul Pace SJ, the reflections include an invitation for solid action and a supporting video, and published twice weekly during Lent with daily posts between Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday. The posts will appear in the Facebook page of the Jesuits in Malta-Euromediterranean Province. Ecojesuit shares the first post below published on 26 February 2020:

Lent is once again with us, this special time before Easter. We are not always sure what it means, or what we are supposed to do during these weeks, but we somehow feel that something moreis called for.

For some it is something rather concrete and physical, like abstaining from sweets or chocolate. For others it may be a decision to dedicate more time every day to prayer and reflection, going to a day or weekend retreat, reading the Bible more regularly, perhaps one of the gospels from start to finish or just spending more time with the splendid Bible daily readings.

This year we would like to propose something that might sound different, but which is actually in the true Lenten spirit.

Ecological conversion might or might not be a phrase we are familiar with, but probably now we understand what it means much better than we ever did. Whether it is Australia’s terrible bush fires, the activism of Greta Thunberg, or the brazenness of the behaviour of some of our leaders, our own experience convinces us more than ever we need to change our relationship with the created world. Yet we are often at a loss, the problem is so huge and our efforts so insignificant, that this desire to change remains just that, a mere desire without action.

Yet today’s readings invite us to commit ourselves to some real change, a conversion of the heart: the prophet Joel invites us to rend our hearts and not just our clothes, while Saint Paul calls us to accept God’s unique invitation to trust above all in his will to make us his friends. Jesus reminds us that what is important is what lies in our hearts, much more than our external actions.

This is our invitation too during this Lent, to reflect and act on what may be the ultimate challenge of humankind. It will be a response to Pope Francis’ call in his encyclical Laudato Si’, on the care for our common home where the Pope affirms: The ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion. Christians all need an “ecological conversion”, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.” (LS 217)

This will be our theme: how to make our relationship with Jesus Christ influence our relationship with the world around us.

We will also propose concrete actions that seem within our reach, concrete steps on this Lenten journey.

ACT….Today we invite you to read a part of Pope Francis’ encyclicalLaudato Si’,choose the part that strikes you most, and make one small decision to act upon what you have read.

VIEW….Today’s video will also help you to get an overview of the message of Laudato Si’.

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