FCJ Province of Europe learns more about the Theology of the Cosmos ...
We commit ourselves to the pilgrimage of discovery into God revealed in the Cosmos ...
Following the Provincial Assembly in Paris the Province of Europe undertook to learn more about the theology of the cosmos.
On March 1st in Kersal Hill there was an excellent workshop on the theme, God Revealed in the Cosmos. It was very well attended and several of our resident senior sisters were pleased to be present. Special thanks are due to Teresa White who addressed us regarding her inspirational publication, Remove Our Shoes, which we had read or re-read in preparation. Lynne Barron also made a fine visual presentation.
The opening prayer and music set the stage for the day and the built in time for prayer and reflection was most helpful. Comments after the meeting were enthusiastic and expressed desire for more understanding.
in Turin Margarita fcJ led a reflection on the Eucharist in the light of creation spirituality for the FCJs, Companions in Mission and friends.
A cosmology weekend led by John Feehan, a wellknown and respected lecturer on this topic, took place in Portarlington, Co, Laois on February 13th/14th. The tone for both days was set by the very appropriate morning prayers. Geraldine Lennon fcJ writes:
The first session which was necessary background could have had some of us wondering, ‘Will I be able to take this in?’, as its nature was scientific. However our fears were unfounded and as we drank in the information and looked at the various slides we began to feel more at home in the world of nature! I think for most of us the highlight was the group nature walk in the wonderful grounds of Mount St. Anne’s. John asked us to equip ourselves with plastic bags so that we could bring back specimens for our next session. He walked us and talked us through the grounds and recommended the specimens which we should pick. On our return to the meeting rooms, we were given hand lenses and encouraged to look at the specimens under the magnified lens. The ‘oohing and aahing’ which resounded through the room was evidence of the wonders of nature which each one was experiencing. The line of Gerald Manley Hopkins poem, ’Glory be to God for dappled things’, truly came to life in front of our own eyes. We felt uplifted and were smitten by the beauty and challenged by our responsibility to take care of it.
On Sunday morning we broke into our Community groups to see what we could do and need to do, to answer the challenges and to take seriously the responsibility we have to care for our earth and all living creatures. We left Mount St. Anne’s with heightened awareness of all that is going on around us and grateful for the wonder and beauty of our world.
Mary Campion McCarren fcJ and Beatrice Molyneux fcJ were lucky enough to be able to attend two days of talks by Ilia Delio OSF in the Greater Manchester area on June 11th and 12th. Sister Ilia had two sessions a day: 11 a.m. – 3.30 p.m. and 7.30 – 9 p.m. The theme of the first session was Franciscan spirituality treated under three headings: compassion; ecology and technology and why we can’t imitate Francis! The third session was entitled 'The Emergent Christ: Rethinking our spirituality within the New Universe Story’. The two evening sessions were entitled: 'Going Deeper’ – the first subtitled 'Compassion and the cosmic web of life', the second: ‘Christian Life in evolution’.
Between her books and the videos on YouTube we may already have heard it all. The great advantage of these two days was being with Ilia herself. Her enthusiasm for her subject, her gentleness and her obvious love of her Congregation were a delight.
Not the least interesting part of our experience was the ambience and the ever changing group who attended. A big plus was the bookstall staffed by GreenSpirit which had all Sister Ilia’s books and many by others well-known in the field. Our Community shelves have been enriched but one book in particular I recommend as an alternative way of coming at things! Meditations with Thomas Berry, Selected by June Raymond. Published by GreenSpirit. UK £6.95. Quite simply, it consists of quotations, well laid out, usually one to the page, arranged thematically from 'Creation’s Beauty and Violence’, through such topics as ‘Diversity’, ‘Interiority’, ‘Community’, to ‘A New Vision’.
Other resources are suggested by Rachel Duffy fcJ. She writes:
I feel so grateful for the call of our General Chapter to immerse ourselves in a new consciousness of ‘God revealed in the cosmos’. I find myself consumed with fascination.
T.S. Eliot comes to mind: “We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.” Yes, Christ’s being co-extensive with the cosmos, its source and summit, isn’t a new discovery, but rooted in scripture, as was so clear in the Richard Rohr videos ; yet our ever-growing awe as we contemplate the cosmos promises a renewal of theology, a renewed vision of our Christian faith that can speak to our contemporaries, embracing and illuminating intuitions and longings which are in every one of us as a result of being created in God’s image.
Jack Mahoney SJ’s 'Christianity in Evolution' looks at how the new cosmic consciousness may impact our theology. If we search title and author online and add ‘Gresham College’ there is a video where he summarises his book. (40 minutes lecture and 10 minutes questions). The transcript of the lecture is there too. One main point is that Christ saves us from sin yes, but primarily salvation is from death and meaninglessness. He says that what our contemporaries need most is not to rediscover a sense of sin but a sense that life has purpose and meaning.
A friend recommended Denis Edwards 'How God Acts (2010)'. It is worth searching it on Amazon to look at the contents pages and see what a good starting point it could make.
Personally I feel bowled over from having just engaged with chapter 3 of Ilia Delio’s 'Christ in Evolution' which is entitled ‘Franciscan Cosmic Christology’, which apparently owes a lot to St. Bonaventure who described the created universe as “the fountain fullness of God’s expressed being.” A Body for the Spirit? The universe is on an evolutionary journey from matter to spirit and it is happening in us, and “what happened between God and the world in Christ points to the future of the cosmos.” It is not all heavy theology: she ends the chapter with our need of conversion to Christ and asks how it may come about. She plans to look at a new way of doing Christology, a way through prayer and contemplation, in company with four contemporary spiritual writers: Teilhard de Chardin, Raimon Panikkar, Thomas Merton and Bede Griffiths.
Spoilt for choice at the many authors generously sharing their pilgrimages of discovery into God revealed in the cosmos, I remind myself that even if we could read all the books in the world we would still be searching, and wisdom greets us too in every page of creation, even in a blade of grass: Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies, I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little flower—but if I could understand What you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is. (Tennyson, 1863)