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Thursday, August 8, 2013
To praise, to bless, to preach—and to live sustainably
It’s typical of St. Dominic that he would insist on not taking a place of honor.
I had plans for an early post in recognition of his feast today, but family needs and another writing project took all my time. (What I did write was a look at heretical teachings that one sometimes hears at Catholic funerals. Putting aside my eco-post seemed fitting when I realized that on Dominic's feast day I was attempting to engage in a task for which he is well known: correcting error.)
What I wished to examine at some length is how Dominic and his order have much to teach anyone seeking a sustainable lifestyle—to live in a way that does little harm to creation.
There is much to say on all this. I will only note that, providentially, yesterday I provided answers for an interview about the Catholic perspective of ecology. The author asked some great questions. One of them is how ecological mindfulness relates to Catholic orthodoxy. To answer, I need only have held up the example of Dominic.
In particular, I replied that a life lived in accordance with Catholic ecological teachings subsists within the overall—and quite challenging—call to holiness. When one first seeks one’s own sanctification—when one struggles to live a virtuous life—one is less inclined to gluttonous behaviors that diminish human dignity and damage ecosystems.
There are of course practical steps that Catholics can take . I realize that I need to say more on that eventually.
But for now, let us pause and reflect on the life of St. Dominic. Let us ask him to pray for us so that we may be like him—seeking and preaching truth, living sacrificially, and practicing an asceticism that not only points others to God, but also reduces our consumption and pollution of the world’s natural resources.