Times We Are Drawn to the Edge - Earth Day

Photo: Leslie Porreca, RSM

The following blog post by Leslie Porreca, RSM 

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Thinking about these days and how at times we are drawn to the edge, the edge in nature that is, in the liminal spaces or to use a Celtic term the thin places. To me, these special places are invitations for contemplation of how God reveals God’s self in creation.

For instance, if I go to the pond on the grounds of Cranaleith Spiritual Center and observe the life that is evident; I see the fish, the 4 large Koi who have lived there a long time then their offspring just floating together in a pod. To watch them float just right below the surface of the water is its own meditation. Next, I see Mrs and Mister Canada who are expecting in May, nesting in a new spot this year but nevertheless returning for their 7th + year to hatch their goslings. A delight to all who witness in these sanctuary’s grounds. They have become a spring ritual something which has not been rescheduled but will happen if the fox is kept at bay. If I am lucky I might catch a glimpse of the prehistoric bird the grey heron standing ever so erect, on one leg near the rim of the pond waiting to have a nibble or two of the baby Koi. There, of course, are the squirrels…endless, rummaging through the leaves looking for a nut not chased away by the winter winds.

In nature, I find wholeness, healing, and ritual which in the midst of now, the pandemic, is especially sacred. Where else can we be so close to a living creature unless you have a beloved cat, dog, goat or chicken! Take a contemplative walk in nature and see how you feel after taking time to notice the beauty in created life which continues to give daily in nature. At this moment in time it is important to learn more about what we can do to respect our natural world; if we lose access to the beauty found in nature and we have not done our part in caring for Earth…that would be devastation. It is a paradox that life, as we knew it to be, has been put on hold while Earth is regenerating in this time of our pause.

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  • Photo: Leslie Porreca, RSM

How can you use this time to contemplate creation and the gift of nature that has helped be a steady companion? Is there an invitation to live differently when life does reopen?

What will you do differently, when we return to participating in life? We need to understand this present experience and unfold the meaning of how this time will change our behaviors…my own and towards others?

It is spring, the season of Easter, new life, time for sowing seeds, and there is much talk of hope, hope for the future, hope to have in our hearts for getting through this time. For me, hope is not some magical outcome but rather a mystical presence that lives inside of me…it is at times indescribable, but yet, a felt awareness of others. I touch into it in nature as I become aware of my interconnectedness of all living systems, the web of life. God is so clearly present to me in creation, it is a grace received this interdependency of each system found in nature and knowing that I am a part of that life. Understanding of this reciprocal relationship is knowing I can not live without the other, it is mutual. Mutuality is a hope to have in our relationships with others, within nature. This is the graced hope that I hold in my heart.

When I was a younger sister about to make my first vows I was invited to name a motto as it is part of our vow ceremony. I was told that this motto should describe my philosophy in some way, my relationship to God; who I was about to say my yes for the rest of my life. I pondered this for a while and the word that kept surfacing for me was grace and so I choose…Grounded in Grace. I remember discussing this with a sister who I was living with at the time saying I don’t know really what this means but I feel strongly about it. And she told me this motto is something that You will live into, a phrase that will call you to awareness throughout your life as a sister of mercy, and its understanding will deepen. Some 30 years later I am still growing in its call.

So my dear friends as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day …let us be called by whatever motto describes your advocation and to ponder the care of this Earth and one another differently because we are in this together as companions, connected by a mutual desire for good.



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