Reflections on Earth and Integral Ecology
Elizabeth Davis rsm (Newfoundland)
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Welcome to the second month of our sixteen-month journey exploring together Mercy Global Presence! How blessed our first month has been as we imagined the cosmos mercified into being! We did so through the wonderfully diverse voices of Nellie McLaughlin rsm in her “Theological Imaginings: Out of Wonder,” accompanied by the powerful artwork of Oonagh Campbell rsm; through the mystical photo essay Maree Hutchinson rsm, entitled “Cosmos/Cosmology – Global heart/Global heartbeat”; through Anne Walsh’s profound questions in “Glimpses of God,” arising out of her ministry as a catechist; through the global perspective from Angela Reed rsm pondering these questions and “Responding to a Cosmological Narrative and Praxis”; and through Astrophysicist Janna Levin’s reading of Maya Angelou's poem, “A Brave and Startling Truth.” These voices were creative, compassion-filled and challenging with additional riches in the reflective prayer, the musings, the facilitators’ guide and the good reading list. All those who added comments on the website further enriched our exploration. And, to think, we could pick and choose from among all these treasures as, either personally or in energizing groups, we pondered the beauty and the mystery of the cosmos.
In Genesis 9 (v. 13), we read what God says about the first covenant, “I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and Earth.” The liberation theologian, Leonardo Boff, reflects that you and I are daughters and sons of this rainbow, translating “this divine covenant with all the beings existing and living, with new relationships of kindness, compassion, cosmic solidarity, and deep reverence for the mystery that each one bears and reveals.”
To help us, as daughters and sons of the rainbow, become more engaged in what that covenant between God and Earth means for each one of us and for all of us, let us spend some time reflecting on our own personal, intimate relationship with Earth. Where did my feet walk when I was young? Where do my feet touch Earth in these days? Where did my feet walk when I studied or when I made retreat or pilgrimage? Where have my feet walked in my ministry? Where have my feet touched Earth in my own country and outside my own country? Which bodies of water mean something special to me? What smells of earth or water still touch my spirit?
John Philip Newell reminds us that our intimate connection with Earth is not simply a consoling practice. Rather it is an essential way through which God speaks to us. Newell says:
The great Irish teacher, John Scotus Eriugena, taught that God speaks to us through two books. One is the little book, the book of scripture. The other is the big book, the book of creation. Just as God speaks to us through the words of scripture, so God speaks to us through the elements of creation. The cosmos is like a living sacred text that we can learn to read and interpret. Just as we prayerfully ponder the words of the Bible in Christian practice, and as other traditions study their sacred texts, so we are invited to listen to the life of creation as an ongoing, living utterance of God...
Spanish translation using DeepL Translator. Traducción al español con DeepL Translator
Elizabeth Davis rsm is the Congregation Leader of the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland.
She is the Mercy Leaders' representive on the Mercy Global Presence Guiding Group.