GOYA Advent Retreat 2005
Diakonia Center

"We are the World: Loving and Caring for God’s Creation”

The heavens are telling the glory of God
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork (Psalm 19:1)

Dear Rev. Fathers, Youth Workers and GOYANs,

You surely must be bothered by the polluted air that you breathe, the taste of the water that you drink, the noise coming from highways, the changes in climate, and by many other things that we include today in the expression, “ecological crisis.” And if you are not much bothered by these—which means that you lived in a city all your life long—you need to reconnect with nature. We have the right thing for you: Our Second GOYA Advent Retreat at the Diakonia Center. This year you can choose one of two weekends: Weekend I: October 28-30 or Weekend II: November 4-6.

How seriously did you think that the original cause of the ecological crisis (with all the things we mentioned above) is Adam? Yes, he’s the one who started it. Adam introduced in the world greed, abuse of creation for his own pleasure, and disrespect for the purpose for which God created the world. And now we suffer the consequences: if at the end of the sixth day of Creation “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31), after Adam sinned, God told him (and us), “cursed is the ground because of you; … thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you” (Genesis 3:17-18). He deserved it; we deserve it, too, since we do the same things that Adam did.

Did you know that the spiritual solution to the ecological crisis is the new Adam, Jesus Christ? He taught us sacrifice and obedience to God. When the storm obeyed him or when he walked on the water, he taught us that nature was made to serve us in praising God, not to rebel against us. Now, Christ needs our help.

How can we be more like Christ (for safety reasons, please, no walking on the water during the Retreat!), and less like Adam? By the end of this Retreat we should be able to point to the ecological crisis as OUR problem, not only in terms of the environment, but also of our spirituality. The spiritual solution: be like Christ. Our relationship with Christ is the foundation on which we build our relationship with the environment, including our choice of the car we buy, the things we throw away, or the number of trees we cut. The solution to the ecological crisis is both spiritual and practical. We will identify OUR part in it. Being so close to nature, at the Diakonia Center, should be most inspiring.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the Retreat,

Rev. Fr. Radu Bordeianu Rev. Fr. Aris Metrakos

Weekend I-October 28-30, 2005 Weekend II-November 4-6, 2005

PS. We will send you more specific directions as we get closer to the Retreat. In the meantime, please share the content of this letter with the youth in your parish and mark you calendars for one of the two sessions of the Retreat. Also, start thinking about the ecological crisis as YOUR spiritual and practical problem. You might also want to visit our Archdiocese’s website, at http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/environment/.

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