Nature: Week 1 Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation

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Nature: Week 1 Summary

Nature: Week 1

Summary: Sunday, November 6-Friday, November 11, 2016

When you don’t recognize that the Christ Mystery is universal, that God is present in—and is saving—all of creation, you can choose what you respect and what you disrespect, what you love and what you hate. (Sunday)

God is saving creation and bringing all creatures back where they began—into union with their Creator. God loves everything that God has made! (Monday)

Hildegard of Bingen recognized viriditas, an inner greening, an inner energy that is the soul of everything, a voice calling you to “Become who you are; become all that you are.” (Tuesday)

The earth and its life systems, on which we all entirely depend, might soon become the very thing that will convert us to a simple lifestyle, to a necessary community, and to an inherent and natural sense of the Holy. (Wednesday)

I firmly believe that grace is inherent to creation and not an occasional additive, and that God and goodness have both the first and final word, which we call divine creation and final resurrection. (Thursday)

Note that I’m not saying God is all things (pantheism), but that each living thing reveals some aspect of God’s presence; God is both greater than the whole of our universe, and as Creator interpenetrates all created things (panentheism). (Friday)


Practice: Conversations with Nature

Although creation may be “wordless,” we can still dialogue with it as St. Francis did. Bill Plotkin suggests a practice of “talking across the species boundaries” in his book Soulcraft that expands upon last week’s contemplative practice of presence to Presence within an ordinary object:

Go wandering [in nature]. Bring your journal. . . . Wander aimlessly until you feel called by something that draws your attention, by way of an attraction, a curiosity, an allurement, a repulsion, a fear. . . . Whatever it is, sit and observe it closely for a good length of time. Interact with your senses, offer your full visual and aural attention to the Other. Record in your journal what you observe.

Then introduce yourself, out loud—yes, out loud. . . . Tell this being about yourself. . . . Tell the truth, your deepest, most intimate truth. In addition to ordinary human language, you might choose to speak with song, poetry . . . movement, gesture, dance. Then, using the same speech options, tell that being everything about it you have noticed. . . . Keep communicating no matter what . . . until it interrupts you.

Then stop and listen. Listen with your ears, eyes, nose, skin, intuition, feeling, and imagination. . . . In your journal, record and/or draw what happens. Offer the Other your gratitude and a gift . . . a song, a dance, a lock of hair, praise . . . some water. . . .

Enter your conversations with the Others with the intention of learning about them and developing a relationship, but don’t be surprised if you thereby discover more about yourself. [1]

And, I would add, more about God who created them.

Gateway to Silence:
Brother Sun, Sister Moon, help me see God in all things.

[1] Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche (New World Library: 2003), 168-169. 

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, A New Cosmology: Nature as the First Bible (CD, MP3 download)
Richard Rohr and Bill Plotkin, Soul Centering through Nature: Becoming a True Human Adult (CD, MP3 download)

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