Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God. The history of our friendship with God is always linked to particular places which take on an intensely personal meaning; we all remember places, and revisiting those memories does us much good. Anyone who has grown up in the hills or used to sit by the spring to drink, or played outdoors in the neighbourhood square; going back to these places is a chance to recover something of their true selves.
Laudato Si' 84
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
When I am Among the Trees, Mary Oliver
This Season of Creation we are invited to contemplate the theme, "A Home for All? Renewing the oikos of God." Oikos is an ancient Greek word for home or household that provides the English prefix, eco-, as in ecology or economics. This Season of Creation we are invited to reflect on our stewardship of our common home and ensure that all members of our global household are able to flourish.
In this spirit, we will explore the elements of land, water, air and fire in the places where we live to reacquaint ourselves with our “happy places,” the places where we feel the “caress of God” and most at home in the communion of all things. For me, one of these places is a weeping willow near Lake Erie, called "Mother Willow" by some in my neighborhood. When I stand under her shelter, I feel a deep sense of gratitude and safety.
By immersing ourselves in our local bioregions, the places that help us "recover something of our true selves," we find the nourishment and courage to lovingly care for our global home.
For the next five weeks, we will structure our weekly reflections around the elements of earth, water, air and fire, and each day of the week will have a different focus: Mondays will center on gratitude, Wednesdays will provide space for grief and Fridays our reflections will center on going-forth and creating the world that we imagine.
Take a few moments to prayerfully consider places from your own life that make you feel like your true self or where you feel the caress of God. Spend some time imagining this place and savoring the feelings you experience as you think of it. If you are able, physically visit this place sometime this week and rest in the experience.
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