Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Eco-therapy

~again from The New York Times....how do we relieve our eco-guilt? Find an eco-psychologist.
Like traditional therapy, ecopsychology examines personal interactions and family systems, while also encouraging patients to develop a relationship to nature.

“Global warming has added an extra layer of anxiety to what people are already feeling,” said Sandy Shulmire of Portland, Ore., a psychologist and practitioner of ecopsychology.

Therapists like Dr. Shulmire use several techniques, like encouraging patients besieged by multitasking to spend more time outdoors and exploring how their upbringing and family background influence their approach to the natural world.
Now, I have no problem with going on "fasts" such as from shopping and dependence on electronic gadgets and replacing them with simpler pursuits, such as gardening and meditating. This is good. We are too addicted to things--bigger, better, and more. Lent is a wonderful and joyful time to experience the beauty that austerity can bring....eating less, consuming less, praying more, and giving more.

It's the eco-anxiety that is wacky. Face it, folks, the world is going to end. It's only a matter of time, God's time. What was it that Jesus said, "Do not worry about your life. By worrying, have you added a cubit to your stature? Consider the lilies of the field how they neither toil nor spin, yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." This just reminds me of how urgent the need is to proclaim the Gospel. There are hungry and hurting people who need the eternal message of God's saving grace. And perhaps, we do need some humility to see how our lives proclaim that Gospel of Hope.

2 comments:

Uri son of Eli the Priest said...

You wrote:

"the world is going to end. It's only a matter of time, God's time."

Okay, so who cares if meanwhile people treat the world like an endless garbage dump, eh? Being concerned or enxious about it is "wacky" - How about St. Francis and his message?

You also wrote :

"There are hungry and hurting people who need the eternal message of God's saving grace."

What hungry people need is food; what hurting people need is proper care. Ah well, True Faith will absolve you of any need to help the suffering, or the need be active in saving this magnificent, sacred web of life. you may not even need to think any more - just repeatedly chant your dogmas...

Argent said...

Well, Uri, are you interested in true dialogue or are you here merely to cast aspersion?

Because had you read with any discernment, you would have seen that I advocated no such thing as you accuse me of saying and assign to me motivations which are nowhere near what a practicing Catholic would entertain.

I said that we are altogether addicted to things and that Lent is a time to pray more and to give more. Perhaps that was too subtle a reference for you.

Lent, in case you don't know, is the great season which the Church gives us to undergo the discipline of self-denial and to unite ourselves to the suffering of Christ. In this way, we come to understand more deeply what Scripture says: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that being rich he became poor, for your sakes; that through his poverty you might be rich.. So we are given the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving which break us from our unhealthy and spiritually deadening preoccupation with self.

Almsgiving, if you are not familiar with that term, is undertaking works of charity and mercy which promote justice. The Catholic Church, if you were not aware, has always promoted this and all through the ages you can see her steadfast call to all Catholics to practice almsgiving.

There is more to life than just the physical. There is your soul, which is eternal. And Christians who are serious about their baptismal vows work to spread the Good News that this physical life is not all there is. That union with God is true happiness. We would be remiss if we were not to declare that. Please read Pope Benedict's second encylical, Spe salvi.

We have to give an account for the "hope that is within us." If all we were doing was to try to eradicate poverty and hunger without also telling about the great Hope that the Resurrection opened for us, then this life would be intolerable.

Further, if you are truly interested in knowing the Church's teachings on our orientation toward God and creation, I suggest that you read Pope Benedict's first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est. If English is not your first language, there are other translations available. Here you will see how we Catholics order our lives.

St. Francis, whom you mentioned, was not a proto-environmentalist as the world seems to like to portray him as. He was united to the Passion of Christ, loving God to the exclusion of material comfort, because his hope of glory was spiritual and physical union with God, his Creator and Master. His stigmata were a gift of grace to show just how deeply he identified with Christ. This is a point that seems to be ignored in the popular romantic views of St. Francis.

In case you are interested in educating yourself in the social doctrines of the Church, you may read them here.

My motivation in highlighting this article on eco-guilt is to show the trends in our culture. In a society that makes a religion out of having no religion, it is important to note that the outmoded "guilt complex" is very much present. When God is pushed aside, the natural impulses remain, to worship and to assuage feelings of transgression. Currently, it is the environment that has taken over as the new god. Eco-guilt has replaced the Sacrament of Penance.