Writing from the West Australian outback, Good Samaritan Sister Monica Sparks invites us to reflect on the enormity and sacredness of our universe, our earth and our continent, and our place within them.
BY Monica Sparks SGS
In these early years of our new millennium and as we try to engage with the questions around climate change, it is good to seek and sink deeply into our soul-sense and to listen with the ear of our hearts for the present call of God to us.
I believe this is:
- a call that encompasses the plea from our planet;
- a call for mutual reverence and reconciliation;
- a call to remember we do not own this land (our Indigenous brothers and sisters remind us of this) but indeed we have been formed ever so slowly through the action of God into a universe of some 14.7 billion years. Our earth planet has evolved in this sacred plan and has given birth to humans as late as 47,000 years ago. This may help us in a new image;
- a call and a time when we perceive a great search and yearning for a true and meaningful spirituality.
We need to nurture values and truths, for example, justice for all peoples and justice for our earth. We need to foster sensitivity and deepen our consciousness that all life is interconnected.
As we plumb new insights into the God-Jesus mystery, we need to enter with love, with awe and wonder into seeking soul-depth, and hold in prayer-contemplation the revelation of an incarnated God, and of Jesus, the cosmic one. Indeed, US theologian and writer, Sally McFague, suggests that the earth can be called God’s body.
All who seek to be immersed in this ancient-new story, to be part of a meaningful conversation, would do well to look at our land’s formation.
We are ‘down-unders’, and as such, we instinctively express who we are in a ‘down-under’ sort of way, so our spirituality has to immerge from this. Moreover, our land has been engaged with this creation spirituality for over 30,000 years or so.
Later it was called the “Land of the Holy Spirit”. At the centre of our land is the rock and the desert, and we have been cradled all around our shores by living water.
Our spiritual heritage blossoms newly with these central images in the story of God’s covenant with humankind told to us in the Old Testament, and later, finding such fruition in the sacred story of Jesus.
Our present Lenten themes are full of this imagery. In our liturgies we contemplate the realities of our thirst for life-giving waters and the deeper cry of our spirits.
Our continent is always to me a symbol of the life-giving womb and of a God who is continually gestating and giving birth to us.
Another telling truth about our continent is that some parts of it are said to be the oldest rocks of our planet. Is it any wonder that it magnetises so many of us?
How do we imprint and sustain a spirituality that is a call from God to us? I suggest some small steps.
- We may set aside some time each day from now into Eastertide, where we can stand in the actual earth, mind-fully standing, taking small steps of appreciation, feeling it.
- Ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, wonder or awe. Ponder that the universe is the first revelation of God to us and be silent and receptive.
- You might like to engage your body-spirit in grateful praise – even sing or dance perhaps!
- Turn to the psalms and find passages of praise, for example Psalm 8.
- Or maybe with your breath, engage in a mantra such as the ancient one of theologian and mystic, Meister Eckhart (1260-1329), “God is in everything and everything is in God”.
I wish you happy practice.