Monday, July 14, 2008

The Spirit in Creation

As always, Benedict has a way of tying everything into a coherent whole. John Allen posts here the full interview with Benedict en route to Australia. Questions range from faith in Australia to priest sexual abuse to climate change to youth. Benedict ties them together primarily with the theme of World Youth Day, which is the Holy Spirit, and in consequence, Creation:
The essential message is indicated by the words which constitute the motto of this World Youth Day: we speak of the Holy Spirit which makes us witnesses of Christ. Therefore, I would like to concentrate my message precisely on this reality of the Holy Spirit, who appears in different dimensions: it’s the Spirit who operates in Creation. The dimension of Creation is very present, because the Spirit is the creator. This seems to me a very important theme in the present moment. But the Spirit is also the one who inspires Scripture: in our journey, in the light of Scripture, we can move forward together with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, thus it guides us in communion with Christ, and finally it makes itself manifest, according to St. Paul, in the charisms, that is, in a great number of unexpected gifts that change in different times and give new energy to the church. Therefore, these dimensions invite us to see the traces of the Spirit and to make the Spirit visible to others.
Because the Spirit works in Creation, misuse of Creation is an attack on the creative work of God through his Spirit:
But on the other hand, there’s always a presence of the faith in new forms, and in new ways; in the minority, perhaps, but always present for all the society to see. And now in this historical moment, we begin to see that we do need God. We can do so many things, but we cannot create our climate. We thought we could do it, but we cannot do it. We need the gift of the Earth, the gift of water, we need the Creator; the Creator re-appears in His creation. And so we also come to understand that we cannot be really happy, cannot be really promoting justice for all the world, without a criterion at work in our own ideas, without a God who is just, and gives us the light, and gives us life.
This is a beautiful collage of all his main points: Faith and the need for God, Climate, Justice. Benedict plays with the analogy of the earth in order to make a point about God, and vice-versa. Humanity needs God. Without God, who dwells at the center of the human heart, the heart will die. We cannot create our climate; our climate is God, and we breathe him whether we know it or not. The same is true of the Earth: we do not create the earth. It is gift, and while "we though we could do it... we cannot do it." We cannot control the world according to the Cartesian mathematical view of reality. It gifts itself to us as the Spirit does, and it must be received and treated as gift. Creation has a criterion, not imposed by ourselves. 
As I already underlined in response to the first question, certainly this problem will be very present at this World Youth Day, because we’re talking about the Holy Spirit, and in consequence, about Creation and our responsibilities with regard to Creation. It’s not my intention to enter into the technical questions which politicians and specialists have to resolve, but to offer essential impulses for seeing the responsibility, for being capable of responding to this great challenge: rediscovering in Creation the face of the Creator, rediscovering our responsibility before the Creator for the Creation which he has entrusted to us, forming the ethical capacity for a style of life that’s necessary to assume if we want to address the problem posed by this situation and if we really want to arrive at positive solutions. Therefore, [I’ll seek] to awaken consciences to see the great context of this problem, within which the detailed responses are not our responsibility, but rather that of politicians and specialists.
I can't wait to hear what he says about a new style of life. Let us be prepared to listen and to change our way of living so as to better listen to the Spirit in Creation. 

Markel, SJ

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