In the last post (Catechesis on Creation) an outline was provided for a series of articles on the need for addressing what should be our faith response to the various environmental crises. Any such discussion must begin with looking at our human role as stewards and what keeps us from meeting that responsibility. Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods coined the term “nature deficit disorder” to express the state of disconnection between all of us but especially youth from nature and creation. It is an alienation and detachment from nature that leads to a reduced appreciation of the environment with additional human costs such as diminished use of senses, attention difficulties and higher rates of physical and emotional problems. It can also lead to the lack of a stewardship ethic and lifestyle for many.
The country of Peru is beautiful both in the people and landscapes that adorn the horizon. The Peruvian people have a faith to move mountains; despite their clear lacking of most material goods, they had an inspiring hope and trust in Divine Providence. On two occasions, I was literally swept toward the alter in a crowd of Peruvians reaching toward God in prayer. I hope that I will have such devotion in prayer and such an unfailing trust in God’s presence in my life. The landscapes of Peru were also nothing short of heavenly. At Machu Picchu, we literally sat for hours and stared at the mountains in silence, captivated by their beauty. Up in the harshest conditions of the Andes, the mountains pierced the sky with a combined gentleness and power but still provided a home for the people and alpacas alike. God did some good work there.