Ecology is the health of the universe
Writings on nature and conversations with young people from Focolare founder Chiara Lubich
The health of the Mystical Body, of humanity, is peace. And the health of the cosmos is ecology. I have the impression that in the future there will be a great ecological development in our movement, because we have to save the natural environment.
In the same way that I have to be alive and not dead in order to work at becoming a saint, so too must the planet be alive in order to provide a home for humanity …
Our planet is essential for life to exist. Therefore, a healthy ecology is the foundation of peace. We can only build peace and brotherhood on a planet that exists.
The cosmos is destined to endure, perhaps undergoing a transformation, but it will remain for all eternity. So, we should look at the galaxies, sunsets, flowers, trees, fields and sky with this in mind: ‘These things are destined to remain’. And even those things which are the work of the human hand will remain, especially if they are done out of love, because then they are already purified. They are the work of Jesus, and whatever Jesus does, lasts …
God did not only create us, but also the world that we live in. We have to remember that we are kept alive by all that is outside of us, in the natural environment. We breathe the air around us; we eat the fruits of the earth; we touch the things we’re surrounded with; and all of these are created things.
This is why we have such a passionate love for nature, which is so beautiful. It helps us to understand our faith more in depth and to comprehend the meaning of those words from Scripture that speak of ‘the new heavens and the new earth’ (Rev 21:1). We are already seeking to purify this earth in view of the ‘new heavens’.

Peace with nature
It seems to me that we can look at the Focolare solely from the perspective of a work dedicated to peace. In fact, our goal is to build a united world, and what does this entail if not a peaceful world? This means not only peace with God and among all people, but also peace with nature.
That’s why the Gen [Focolare young people] are attracted to ecology. It is an instinct. We are children of God, created by God who is the creator of the universe, so we cannot harm a tree, or pollute the sea.
We feel, a bit like St. Francis, that these are all our brothers and sisters. For St. Francis, the Canticle of the Creatures was not just something sentimental or poetic, but the expression of a theological truth. He felt that he truly was a brother to all created beings. We will see a great development in this direction …
So then, let’s work to bring peace to the world. We will succeed through our spirituality!

Nature reveals God
I’d like us to pause for a moment and reflect in depth, asking ourselves with awe: who is this one who has chosen me?
And lifting our minds beyond all the affairs of this world (our jobs, our homes, our families), let us allow our thoughts to return to some moment in our lives when we were absorbed in the contemplation of an endless expanse of the ocean, a chain of towering mountains, an awe-inspiring glacier, or the vault of the heavens studded with stars. What magnificence! What immensity!
And beyond the dazzling marvels of nature, let us allow our gaze to be drawn upwards to the author of all this, to God, the king of the universe, lord of the galaxies, the eternal one…
And if, in comprehending his majesty, we have an overwhelming sense of our nothingness, the certainty that he has chosen us will open our hearts to him and enkindle in us a yearning to discover, to find beneath the wondrous beauties of creation, his face, his presence.
And we will find it there, because he is present everywhere. He is there in the sparkle of the brook, the blossoming of a flower, the first light of dawn, the red rays of sunset, the snow-covered mountain peak …
It’s true that we might be working in our concrete cities built by human hands, amidst the din of the world, where the natural environment has rarely been preserved.
And yet, if we are open to it, a patch of blue sky between the skyscrapers is enough to remind us of God. All we need is a ray of sunlight that is able to penetrate even between the bars of a prison, or a flower, a field, or a baby’s smile.

By Chiara Lubich

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