Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ignatian Eco Retreat -Fr.Rappai

Ignatian Eco Retreat

The Ignatian Eco Retreat was held at Navsarni, Sawantwadi (a Sindurg Diocesan Pastoral Centre), in November. 24 Jesuits from 8 provinces, 13 of them from Gujarat, participated. Fr Robert Athicakal SJ, of Taru Mitra, Patna, the pioneer of Eco involvement in India, guided this first-ever Jesuit Eco Retreat in the Western Region. Sr Mudita and Dr Orla Hazra added deep feminine and cosmic dimension to the experience of God in His/Her Universe. The  ‘Principle and Foundation’ and the ‘Contemplation to attain love’ – the beginning and the culmination of the Spiritual Exercises – is an invitation to find the Lord of Creation all around us, and commune with him in the whole Universe.

The group spent quality time with the Earth, and the guiding team urged us to spend most of the days outdoors. The Eucharistic celebrations were organized in “God’s Cathedral” under the stars above, tall trees around and in candle/earthen lights.  A pilgrimage to the biodiversity-rich Narendrapur mountains close by was a memorable celebration of God’s creation.

Our history begins 13.7 billion years ago with the Big Bang when the universe exploded into existence. With this realization, it dawned on us that we are intimately related to all beings, animate and inanimate, in the Universe.  We felt the urgent need to live and act on this exhilarating realization. Only a deep, personal and spiritual experience of our existence in the Lord’s Universe could lead us to transformative action, within and without. All of us felt the need to relate to Nature differently, and act in favour of Ecological sanity. Gujarat Jesuits’ remarkable plunge into Eco Spirituality was very inspiring. I think more such retreats are called for. (Rappai)

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