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Ecology Reflections from Fr. John Surette, SJ

John Surette, SJ

Approximately a million years ago – long before what we call Ancient History – our ancestors learned how to control fire. With this breakthrough a whole new set of possibilities were activated for us humans and for Earth. Language and culture developed. Things would never be the same again.

Some two thousand years ago Jesus of Nazareth took the teachings he had received from his tradition and moved them to a new level of understanding. This more comprehensive way of loving now became available to the whole Earth as women and men sensed life in greater abundance to be found in its practice.

In the sixties we left our Planet, got outside, looked back, and saw Earth as it really is. We were the first humans ever to view this icon. A new level of consciousness is now present within our Planet. Things will never be the same again for us and for our Earth.

It is shattering! Earth is piercingly beautiful, a blue and white pearl in the darkness of space. So delicate, so fragile in its appearance. Unlike anything else we are aware of in the Universe. Not an object but a loving subject. A physical object to be sure but also a spiritual reality. A sacred place carrying not only the stuff of our bodies but also a dimension of our minds and spirits. Carrying everything that means anything to us. Earth is part of us and we are part of Earth.

This is the new idea that has been set loose. Mystics and native peoples have always known it. This is a revelation for us moderns.  Our scientific endeavor has been its messenger. It has come at an opportune time, a time when we are trashing our Earth on a scale almost beyond imagining and certainly beyond our capacity to fully measure. Our minds and imaginations are focused on the individual. Our mechanistic view of reality causes us to think in terms of parts. We have difficulty in thinking holistically about our Planet. Yet the whole is calling-out to us. Our problems are planetary problems in the present moment and for generations to come.

The poet, Christopher Fry, is correct when he says that “affairs are now soul size.” Some say that time is running out and that it is hopeless. They say that that we humans will never find the motivation and political will to do what needs to be done, for example, about global warming. In the face of this understandable reaction we sense that our human future lies in us saying. We must act!

The creative energy of God’s Universe is within us and is awakening us. Earth has given so much power and responsibility into our hands. Our future is unfolding into our present. What will we humans do?

Things are definitely soul size!

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