I have a memory, too, as a twelve-year-old of crying silently but bitterly face-down into a pillow on the living room floor. That day, my bird, my only life companion, had disappeared up an open flue in our apartment wall. There were visiting relatives in the house, in my bedroom, whom I knew were not to be disturbed. The needs of the guest came first, I had been taught. But when the house was safely dark, I let the pain pour out, not simply the loss of my dearest possession but also in sorrow for my own carelessness in his regard. Then, suddenly, I felt the covers around me tighten. My mother had gotten in on one side of the mattress, my father on the other, and together they held me all the long and empty night. I learned then that being human meant to enter into someone else’s pain.
Water, water, water … There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.
— Edward Abbey from Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness
Everywhere is Desert
The Desert Fathers believed that the wilderness had been created as supremely valuable in the eyes of God precisely because it had no value to men. The wasteland was the land that could never be wasted by men because it offered them nothing. There was nothing to attract them. There was nothing to exploit. The desert was the region in which the Chosen People had wandered for forty years, cared for by God alone. They could have reached the Promised Land in a few months if they had travelled directly to it. God’s plan was that they should learn to love Him in the wilderness and that they should always look back upon the time in the desert as the idyllic time of their life with Him alone. Continue reading “Desert Day 25: Desert Wisdom, What God Has Blessed …”
The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely.
Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf,
in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop,
in a poor person’s face. Continue reading “A Prayer For Our Earth …”
I liked the solitude and the silence of the woods and the hills. I felt there the sense of a presence, something undefined and mysterious, which was reflected in the faces of the flowers and the movements of birds and animals, in the sunlight falling through the leaves and in the sound of running water, in the wind blowing on the hills and the wide expanse of earth and sky.
— Bede Griffiths (Source: Bede Griffiths: An Introduction to His Interspiritual Thought) Continue reading “We Need Nature To Show Us The Way Home …”
God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good.
— Genesis 1:31
We do not exist outside of nature
or above nature
or independent of nature —
we are simply its most vulnerable part.
— Joan Chittister
Presence of God
We pause and remember that the God Who created us and Who sustains us is never far from us. In God we live and move and have our being.
O God, Holy Spirit, Whose breath gives life to the world
and Whose voice is heard in the soft breeze,
we need Your strength and wisdom.
Come to us and among us;
Come as the wind and cleanse us.
We join with Your Creation and with each other.
It is good to give thanks,
for the boundless mercy
which renews us and makes us whole.
Happy are those who know this
and open themselves to the Light.
You make the sunrise and the sunset shout for joy.
You are the earthʼs fertility.
Your law governs her cycles of snow, run-off, flood, and rain.
You crown the year with abundance
The wild lands are watered with dew.
The hills deck themselves with green.
The meadows adorn themselves with flocks,
The valleys gown themselves with grain.
They dance together.
They join in song.
Glory to You, Creator and Sustainer.
Glory to You for the awesome gift of life.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.
— Ute Prayer
God, bless me with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that You will live deep in my heart. God, bless me with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people and the earth so that I will work for justice, equity, and peace. God, bless me with tears to shed for those who suffer so that I will reach out my hand to comfort them and change their pain with joy. God, bless me with the foolishness to think that I can make a difference in the world, so that I will do the things which others say cannot be done. Amen.
— Richard Rohr, OFM
O God, we thank you for this universe, our home; and for its vastness and richness, the exuberance of life which fills it and of which we are part. We praise you for the vault of heaven and for the winds, pregnant with blessings, for the clouds which navigate and for the constellations, there so high. We praise you for the oceans and for the fresh streams, for the endless mountains, the trees, the grass under our feet. We praise you for our senses, to be able to see the moving splendour, to hear the songs of lovers, to smell the beautiful fragrance of the spring flowers. Give us, we pray you, a heart that is open to all this joy and all this beauty, and free our souls of the blindness that comes from preoccupation with the things of life, and of the shadows of passions, to the point that we no longer see nor hear, not even when the bush at the roadside is afire with the glory of God. Give us a broader sense of communion with all living things, our sisters, to whom you gave this world as a home along with us.
We remember with shame that in the past we took advantage of our greater power and used it with unlimited cruelty, so much so that the voice of the earth, which should have arisen to you as a song was turned into a moan of suffering.
May we learn that living things do not live just for us, that they live for themselves and for you, and that they love the sweetness of life as much as we do, and serve you, in their place, better than we do in ours. When our end arrives and we can no longer make use of this world, and when we have to give way to others, may we leave nothing destroyed by our ambition or deformed by our ignorance, but may we pass along our common heritage more beautiful and more sweet, without having removed from it any of its fertility and joy, and so may our bodies return in peace to the womb of the great mother who nourished us and our spirits enjoy perfect life in you.
— by Walter Rauschenbusch (1861–1918)