Advent Series Week 1
Episode 1 above features a 15 minute short film narrated by Fr Brendan McManus SJ, shot two weeks ago in Co Fermanagh.
During our day of filming, Fr Brendan took us to four locations: his family farm in Lisnaskea, Derryadd Quay, Holy Cross Church Lisnaskea and Marble Arch Caves / Cuilcagh Geopark. At each of these locations Fr. Brendan reflects on his life’s journey to ecological consciousness, demonstrating the ways in which his life experiences, his spirituality and stewardship are essential elements.
We invite you to watch the video, share the link with others, and take an ecological journey of discovery with Fr Brendan as we reawaken our sense of connectedness to the earth.
About Fr Brendan McManus SJ
Fr. Brendan McManus comes from a farm near Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh. After studying psychology and Information Technology (IT) at university, he worked in the UK’s computer industry as an interface designer with Hewlett Packard. Becoming disillusioned with the ‘yuppie’ way of life, he eventually resigned and then joined the Jesuits in Dublin in 1992.
He was school chaplain in Coláiste Iognáid, the Jesuit school in Galway, for some years before walking the Camino de Santiago in 2011 in memory of his brother. His book, Redemption Road, an Irish best-seller, describes the challenges and joys involved in pilgrimage as a grief process. As well as a keen walker and pilgrim guide, he is a regular blogger and social media user, promoting nature and the environment. He currently works as a Spiritual Director and retreat giver in Belfast.
Reflection - Advent Series Week 1
The science is clear, and scientists have been warning us for more than two centuries (e.g., German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt 1769-1859), that the capitalist model of economic development, which necessitates overconsumption, has meant that “our house”, as the young climate activist Greta Thunberg has oft been quoted, “is on fire”. The much-anticipated COP26, where global leaders met in Glasgow to agree to protect the planet and its people from overheating has proven ineffective. It is clear that responding to these crises, demands concerted, revolutionary shifts in our thinking and action at all levels of society. As Pope Francis makes clear:
“all of this shows the urgent need for us to move forward
in a bold cultural revolution” (LS114).
Most of us will be familiar with Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical Laudato Si (2015). In this “document, addressed to all people of good will” (LS62), he recognises the complex and multiple environmental, climactic and social crises that plague ‘our common home’ today. Critical to the messaging within Laudato Si, is the recognition that all living forms are related to the other – we are all ‘interconnected’. We as human beings, are just one part in this intricate, spectacular web of life. Pope Francis clearly demonstrates how the destruction of one part, has devastating consequences for the other. Pioneering in its communication, Pope Francis corroborates that we cannot respond to ‘the cry of the earth’ (as demonstrated today through climate change, biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, desertification, soil erosion, etc.,) without seeking justice for the ‘cry of the poor’ (expressed through the intensification of global conflicts, hunger, poverty, migration, violation of human rights, compounded by the enduring threats to global democracy and peace).
In Laudato Si, Pope Francis is quite clear that we have failed in our responsibilities to protect ‘our common home’ and those who live within it. Yet, he remains hopeful that all is not lost, “for we know that things can change” [LS13]. We do, however, have an
“urgent challenge to protect our common home … to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change” [LS13].
In the encyclical, he proposes a transformative approach in how we – that is all humanity – must respond to these challenges. He charts us a new journey of ‘integral ecology’ to ensure the sustainability of our common home and a safe and just future for the youth of tomorrow.
“…nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the twenty-first century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities” (LS165).