Nurturing and Sustaining
'...that it may truly be said, there is in us but one heart and one soul in God.' Familiar Instructions, p. 107e.
Catherine McAuley’s words awaken our minds and hearts today to the reality of the silent yet boundless energy which desires to enfold every moment of our existence into a oneness with the purpose of nurturing and sustaining life itself in all its beauty and diversity. In the springtime unfolding and budding forth this natural primordial zest to survive and thrive manifests itself abundantly.
In the beautiful and serene grounds of the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice, with its focus toward examining, challenging and healing injustice and oppression, life’s determination to flourish is witnessed in the delicate strength and vitality of the tiny crocuses and in the tips of the tulips poking their way up through the snow into the sunlight.
In this array of beauty, creativity and mystery one is held captive, and there wells up within a sense of love and gratitude and a deep and profound reverence for life. Sean McDonagh reminds us in his book To Care for the Earth that this is our vocation when he says 'Because we are the conscious dimension of the universe, our primary vocation is to recognize and celebrate the beauty and wonder of this magnificent celebration' (p. 95). Paying close attention and allowing ourselves to experience a feeling of belonging to this one web of life strengthens a desire in the depths of our being to live a spirituality flowing out of the sacredness of all creation.
Even as we are being held in this intimate oneness of divine revelation there is also the painful awareness of the present day disastrous disconnect with the natural world diminishing the creative powers of the divine presence in the world and of our human capacity to erode Earth’s life support systems. Disheartened by the materialistic values of today’s society which cloud the ability of humankind to recognize the intrinsic value of Earth’s gifts essential to the carrying out of its purpose for life the Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice feels compelled to act on behalf of Earth’s self healing. Through our programs we examine and question how human “progress” could be in conflict with such revelatory powers of divinity. Our projects and activities are directed toward a rediscovery of this lost sense of interconnectedness and belonging and to recognition of our place with all creation in its ongoing story of creation.
Awakening participants to embrace the sacred quality and grandeur of Earth’s process of becoming and the numinous mystery that pervades all creation calls forth this new identity of inclusivity.
Mindful of the dependence of human and non-human life on the health of planet Earth we network with other like-minded groups and organizations to challenge mindsets deadened by consumerism and having with a narrow focus on an industrialized society to one that promises greater sustainability so that all will have a right to live from the limited resources of planet Earth thus ensuring a just quality of life for future generations.
Promoting this new paradigm shift means changing attitudes from individual greed, selfishness and arrogance to a larger perspective beyond the sense of self to encompass everyone and everything in a more inclusive way.
Such an internal shift of mind and heart, which as we know, can never be achieved through the imposition of external rules, laws or regulations alone, requires a sufficient rediscovery of the meaning and purpose of life. Therefore, as our small contribution to this critically needed change of heart we include in our programs presentations on the new universe story and provide experiences to cultivate appreciation of and gratitude for nature through our gardening projects, our Earth meditation walks and our summer environmental day camps for young children to name a few. Such activities, we hope, encourage the human capacity to be in touch with one’s deepest feelings and to consciously connect again with our indwelling creative powers. We uncover new possibilities in the dreams and visions that lie within us enabling us to move forward in the privileged journey of being co-creators in the ongoing transformation of self, society and the planet.
In all our endeavours we are encouraged and sustained by the words of mathematical cosmologist Brian Swimme who tells us in The Universe is a Green Dragon, 'Because you are aware of the limits of life you are compelled to bring forth what is within you; this is the only time you have to show yourself. You can’t hold back or hide in a cave, . . . the drama of the cosmic story won’t allow it. The supreme adventure of life is that you enter the adventure of creating yourself'( p.117).
Messages to: Mary Tee rsm