Tag Archives: ecology

Hearing God’s Word in Creation

27 Apr

After a long absence, I thought I would share with my readers this poem “The Word”,  by the 19th century American poet Richard Realf, which was a focal part of my meditation and prayer a couple of days ago. I continue to be moved by ruminate over its message even today.  Here the poet sweetly lauds the Cosmic Word that reverberates throughout all of Creation for all that have ears to hear.

“The Word”

O Earth! Thou hast not any wind that blows 

Which is not music; every weed of thine 

Pressed rightly flows in aromatic wine; 

And every humble hedgerow flower that grows, 

And every little brown bird that doth sing, 

Hath something greater than itself, and bears 

A living Word to every living thing, 

Albeit it hold the Message unawares. 

All shapes and sounds have something which is not 

Of them: a Spirit broods amid the grass; 

Vague outlines of the Everlasting Thought 

Lie in the melting shadows as they pass; 

The touch of an Eternal Presence thrills 

The fringes of the sunsets and the hills. 

 

Advertisements

Aldous Huxley on The Three Pillars of Western Society

29 Jan

“Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence – those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste, and moneylenders were abolished, you’d collapse. And while you people are overconsuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster.”
― Aldous Huxley, Island

20140129-104256.jpg

“Peace on Earth” – Classic MGM Christmas Cartoon

23 Dec

Peace On Earth. Classic Christmas cartoon. MGM 1939. Anti-war.

Here is my early Christmas gift to all of my friends and visitors to this blog. I hope you take the 8 1/2 minutes to watch this extraordinary classic cartoon. It is distinguished as being the only cartoon to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. I would describe this as a post-apocalyptic, dystopian-yet-utopian tale that presents the true meaning of the peace associated with the Christmas story in a manner that makes it still as relevant today as it was when it was first released, back in 1939. Think of it as an extended meditation on the twin themes of the “peaceable kingdom” and “turning swords into plowshares” that figure so prominently in the Book of Isaiah; two themes which serve as a backdrop to the story of the first Christmas found in the Gospels of Mathhew and Luke. What is ironic and sad is that this cartoon’s powerful anti-war message was largely forgotten or ignored just two years later when the USA entered the throes of WWII.

I post this now as we enter into this year’s Christmas season in hope that perhaps the message of this cartoon may engender in some people a reconsideration of the subversive but much needed message of Christmas: of the power of non-violent love that was incarnated in the coming of the Christ child some 2000 years ago. As we reflect on the sorrow, injustice and violence that plague our world right now, it should be clear that we need this cartoon’s simple message of peace and hope even more today.

I would love to have you post your reactions and thoughts here once you enjoy this heartwarming cartoon and ruminate over its message. And you are certainly encouraged to share or re-post this!

Merry Christmas and “Peace to All People of Good Will!!!”

Tom

“The New Day Greets Me” (original poem)

17 Oct

sunrise over misty rolling hills

The New Day Greets Me

The new day greets me like a middle-eastern girl —
A young Bedouin virgin, enshrouded in mystery.

A single amber eye peers out to charm
And beckons me from behind the cerulean veil
Which drapes and falls over her woolen green robe,
Revealing barely a hint of her rolling beauty and form.

Oh how I find myself ineluctably drawn to follow
With hopes of savoring her promised delight!

By Thomas C. Webber
2/27/02

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4th)

4 Oct

St. Francis of Assisi

I wanted to be sure and not miss adding a post to mark this important feast. I haven’t had the time today to compose a regular entry as I would have wished. So what I decided to do is simply place here for your reflection and prayer two readings I have chosen as the focus of my own prayer and reflection today. It is my intent to follow this up with my own written reflection to share with you tomorrow.

Perhaps the fact that I couldn’t get around to writing a full-blown post is a good thing! I am inviting and encouraging each of you reading my blog to meditate on these readings and subsequently share with us your own personal reflections in the form of a comment here.

St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), as you probably know, is not only honored as a saint by Christians everywhere, be they Roman Catholics [like myself] or Protestant, Anglican, or Orthodox, but he is likewise honored and embraced as a holy man by countless others beyond the boundaries of Christianity, including many Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and even atheists!

Thus, in his honor, I present to you these two readings for you to ponder, as  I believe that they each capture important elements of his spirit that I would like to emulate. Taken together, these readings provide us with windows into the soul of a mystic who, because of his spiritual poverty, lived in a continual state of spiritual wonder and joy, ever attuned to the closeness of God’s presence in creation around him:

READING #1: An excerpt from Thomas Celano’s “Life of Blessed Francis”

In every work of the artist

he praised the artist;

whatever he found in the things made

he referred to the Maker.

He rejoiced in all the works of the hands of the Lord

and saw behind things pleasant to behold their life-giving reason and cause.

In beautiful things, he saw Beauty itself;

all things were to him good.

“He who made us is the best,” they cried out to him.

Through his footprints impressed upon things

he followed the Beloved everywhere;

he made for himself from all things

a ladder by which to come even to his (i.e., God’s) throne

…for that original goodness

that will be one day all things in all,

already shown forth in this saint

– all things in all.

(Celano, CXXIV, 269-270)

READING #2: ST. FRANCIS’ PRAYER “CANTICLE OF THE CREATURES”:

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you;
through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace,
for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve him with great humility.

*Alternately, here is a marvelous video adaptation of St. Francis’ Canticle that you might find to be a good supplement to the above reading of the prayer . . .

Behind the BP Oil Spill: A Deeper Look (Part 1)

17 Sep

A few weeks back I was contemplating the idiotic nature of the BP oil spill in the Gulf. By then, I had moved past simple anger over the long-term, largely hidden ramifications of the spill. Clearly this held deleterious effects that we all need to come to terms with, not only on the part of those people dependent on the health of the fishing industry (e.g., the fishermen, the consumers, etc.), but also (let us not forget) the immediate and future environmental impact this will have on our coastal region and the countless creatures of the sea. My reflection that day concerned grappling with considering ULTIMATELY WHY this could happen at all!

It is apparent to myself and many others that there clearly exists a destructive underlying philosophy and worldview that most of humankind has bought into, an understanding of which the whole future of our planet depends. Hence I wrote the following in my journal:

The fact that the were galaxies and stars spinning, displaying a symphony of light, and later, on earth, life teeming with one-celled creatures and ants and birds and dragonflies and fish and whales and dinosaurs and ferns and flowers and trees — AEONS BEFORE  humans walked this earth — should dispel any theological assertions that the earth and it’s creatures somehow exist “for Man.”  — (c) Thomas C. Webber  7/26/2010

In my second, future posting on this subject, I will attempt to briefly deconstruct  and trace the origins of this anthropocentric (i.e., human-centered) understanding of the world. I will argue that understanding this worldview ultimately explains why “man-made” disasters such as the BP oil spill have happened, and will likely continue to happen, in the foreseeable future. As the journal entry above hints, religion itself has played a sad and insidious role in the formation of this philosophy.  The good news is that such a bleak view of the future is not inevitable — provided humankind as a whole is willing to undergo a fundamental moral / spiritual revolution. It is my hope to do my small part in helping to raise consciousness so that future generations face a brighter future.

Hope you find my thoughts helpful. Please take time to share your own in return by leaving a comment!

%d bloggers like this: