An Integral Ecology – a Reading of Laudato Si’

After my annual existential crisis post-academic theology conference, on the theme of the purpose of my teaching/vocation/career, I have (again) decided I will try to keep more up-to-date with reading theology. So I got on with reading the lovely Anthony J Kelly’s Laudato Si’: An Integral Ecology and the Catholic Vision, which has been on my desk for over a year.

Tony Kelly has been extremely supportive to me since meeting him at the Australian Catholic Theological Association conference, first in 2016, and he has a clever and concise way with words, such that he elucidates his thought with great clarity. There was much to take away from the book, but I thought I would collect a few little gems of his thought here, more for my own purposes, but that might be of interest to other theological types.

Perhaps I should begin with his thoughts on the Genesis Creation story, as a sensible place to begin discussing a commentary on ecology, which he calls a marvellous morning dream of the universe as God’s original gift. This is a phrase I will be taking into my teaching of the text to help students understand the depths of meaning. Moreover, he writes, the reality of God is tasted in the tang of life and wonder of each living thing. Of spirituality, the good professor writes, it is a disposition to live in the presence of God. That is, God the Trinity, the source of all being, present in the depths of reality.

Relating the liturgical life of the Catholic Church to integral ecology through the Eucharist, he notes that the Eucharist is a means of renewal for the Church, which takes it back to its catholicity in its original sense of being open to the whole. Moreover, it brings unity in a communal and inclusive way, through following Jesus’ instruction to ‘re-member’ through this sacrament.

The highlight for me was when Tony writes that thinking is clearing space in the midst of mystery – something I realise I should make more time for. He goes on to say this thinking involves speaking words out of and into original silence. Perhaps, or maybe it could also speak music into and out of this silence.

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