A summer rain on an early Saturday morning invited me into the poetry of Thomas Merton. This Midwestern mystic and Trappist monk offers an invitation to enter into solitude and tend to the cry of our Mother Earth simply by listening to the rain. I watch the dance of the raindrops and hear the energy of life. It is a Merton moment calling me to a deeper integrity.
Capital E: Earth
It's not "the earth," it's our home. In Capital E: Earth, GSR delves into climate change, ecology, sustainable living and eco-spirituality.
Recently, I took six graduate students from the Philippine Women University for a site visit to Payatas, Quezon City, an urban resettlement area, one of the most densely populated areas in Manila where the incidence of poverty is quite high.
It is that time of year again. I gratefully and quietly pick the sour pie-cherries from our trees. There is much time for reflection as I join with the rhythmic plucking of these small rosy treasures watered by snow melt and water from the Rio Grande and nurtured by the New Mexico sun.
Reflecting upon the history of Mother's Day, that it was intended originally to celebrate life and state that mothers did not want their children killed by war, I believe the added history is significant in our time.
On Earth Day the sun seems to shine brighter. The songs of the finch, meadowlark and red winged black bird ring more boldly upon the air. All creation seems to celebrate Earth Day. But, Earth Day this year seems different. The joyful rays and songs are still there, however, they feel tempered. A bittersweetness rests upon my heart.
It is 6:30 a.m., January 21, and I am standing in the dark beside a Swiss Guard, a heavy grey cape covering his colorful uniform. "There," I say, pointing to my name on his list. I show him my passport. Following his directions, we walk over black shiny cobblestones around a towering side wall of St. Peter's looking for the entrance to the chapel where Pope Francis offers his daily, private Mass.
Thousands stood on their feet with thunderous applause. The United Nations Climate Change Agreement negotiated by 195 nations had passed! I was amazed as both developed and developing nations agreed upon a foundational document to address the gravest challenge humanity faces. What a privilege it was to be an official observer with Franciscans International at the U.N. Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris in December and sponsored by my Franciscan community of Rochester, Minnesota.
COP21 Paris - As the penultimate day of the Paris climate summit drew to a close Friday, Dec. 11, chants could be heard from one of the forum areas in the center of the public Climate Generations space adjacent to the official COP21 site: "Black Lives Matter!" "One-point-five to stay alive!" "Keep the oil in the soil!"
COP21 Paris - For most people climate change is a scientific abstraction posing a distant threat. "It's in the Arctic or distant in time," said Dan Price, an English climate scientist in his 20s, speaking in the "green" Climate Generations area adjacent to the official "blue" area where the COP21 climate negotiations are taking place.
COP21 Paris - As the second day of the International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature opened in the packed auditorium of Maison des Métallos, a cultural center in the heart of Paris, a disturbing word was shared about the COP21 negotiations taking place just north of the city.