Moment #5: Earthy Incarnation
O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a radiant dew, and the earth will give birth to those long dead.
Today's moment of epiphany is our awakening to ourselves as soulful soil, inspirited bodies and to the inspirited bodies inhabiting this beautiful blue Marble we call home.
During Lent we are made very aware of this as we burn the Palms from Palm Sunday and place the ashen remain on our foreheads to remind us: We are dust and unto dust we shall return (Gen 3:19). Yes, it reminds us to aim for eternal life for our bodies will not last forever. However, this is a bold statement of about the Incarnation. Jesus chose to be dust -- a carbon based life form that is comprised of materials gifted by the planet and cosmos. We have forgotten that we are made of the dust of the stars and depend on all the dusty soil and souls around us.
This moment, like the feast of the Epip
hany, is a favorite of mine since reminding ourselves that we are dust helps us understand the Incarnation better -- and our place within (and responsibility to) this dusty planet and her many inhabitants.
But some holy noticing will remind us of who and whose we are: whether it is when we play in nature, or when we see the same iron in both our blood and in rocks, or when we examine the interesting ways ants, bees, trees and mushrooms “talk” with one another.
For a moment of reflection, enjoy this clip about our Fantastic Fungi LINK
Have you ever thought about fungi like this? What else don't we know -- but won't because we are destabilizing all of Earth life systems.
Then take a moment to go back to my blog July 4th -- to listen to the many cries of our terrestrial friends. CLICK HERE
Perhaps there will be something to add to your journal from Moment #3?
So when you hear a sermon on Adam’s formation from adamah (dust) (I do so hope you have) this reinforces that we are terra animate—animated Earth or soulful soil. This discovery should inform how we are to tend, serve, and protect the inspirited bodies of our neighbors, who also witness to a God who desires abundant life for all.
But what about Black Bodies? Or women's bodies? or incarcerated bodies? or indigenous bodies? or hungry bodies? or displaced and homeless bodies? or LGBTQ+ bodies? Do we appreciate that they are soulful soil? Do we do all we can (i.e., personal practices, policies, social systems) to ensure that their bodies are protected and experience abundant life. Thus, the cries of other-than-human bodies echo along side human bodies.
Pope Francis affirms this and calls attention to how creation care is intimately connected to the Gospel call to love and liberate from oppression:
We have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. (LS 49)
Our century long disconnection from Earth's many bodies and our move to exploit them has coincided with humanity's disconnection from human bodies that look, feel, or seem different from their own. This alienation offers these non-white, non-Western, non-affluent, non-male, not fully abled, not adult, not born ... bodies less worth and less protection.
** For more insights here I encourage you to visit my first blog June 7th: Awakening of Green to Black**
And this process of alienation and exploitation is encapsulated in our common language and ways we speak: when we say dehumanize (to become not human) means to lack worth and to be exploitable.
People of faith are called by the Spirit who liberates to ask why.
Reflect a moment on the reason why Christians must reconnect to Jesus, incarnation in order to live out the Gospel call to love and care for creation (Laudato Si', p.217)
[T]he ecological crisis is also a summons to profound interior conversion…Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience. Pope Francis
Other-than-human life is sacred and demands protection because their presence is a gift from the Creator. If we are not sure about how much God loved creation, we only need to turn to the doctrine of the Incarnation. God so loved the world that God gave his only Son in order to deepen the loving relationship with the cosmos. When we say "Christ came to die for us" -- do you remember that Jesus came to die due to sin and oppression.
BUT did you take just as many moments in your prayer life to meditate on how Christ became human and chose to die -- and be hungry, sick, sweaty, dirty and feel pain just like all other inspirited bodies inhabiting a finite world. There was a great cost to being incarnate and God did it anyways. Take time with this revelation - often it is overlooked. Perhaps remembering Matthew 25:40 is helpful -- it affirms that when we feed and befriend those who are hungry, we are feeding and befriending Christ who knew personally, viscerally how this felt but chose to take it on anyway.
In your journal, write the theological ideas you have learned as a Catholic (Trinity, Jesus Incarnation, Holy Spirit, God Creator, Scripture stories, Beatitudes, 10 Commandments, Catholic Social Teaching, materials from Encyclicals like Laudato Si', etc...) that helps you to see creation care as central to faith and not a secondary aspect.
How could prayerful meditation on these central facets of your faith tradition lead you to an Epiphany -- and new behaviors with respect to the soil, inspirited bodies and the planet? Did you have any epiphanies... where you as a dweller in the dust, awoke and sung for joy?
From my other blogs, you must know by now that I love the personal and embodied sense of God in the Celtic imagination -- one that engages the senses as well as the intellect. I am grateful to so many authors but from my previous blogs you know I have a soft spot for John O'Donohue ... and today is the anniversary of his death (Jan 1, 1956 - Jan 4, 2008) and on his Facebook page his brother offered insight "On the Death of the Beloved ... and except from "To Bless the Space Between Us". It is worth a read ... CLICK HERE
And I feel that music can lift our minds, bodies and spirit to another plane of awakening that no writing blog can do. And I added a picture of me during a trip with students to Ireland celebrating Celtic Spirituality -- this music takes me back there and I thought if fair to show you where I go in my imagination when I deeply listen to this music.
Without further ado, here is Celtic Women's performance of The Sky and the Dawn and the Sun. The lyrics of this song speaks of the intimacy of the eternally transcendent God with creation and how Earth and all her inspirited bodies help to proclaim the truth of her Creator.
High is the moon tonight
Hiding its guiding light
Heaven and earth do sleep
Still in the dark so deep
I will the darkness sweep
I will the moon to flight
I will the heavens bright
I will the earth delight
Open your eyes with me
See paradise with me
Awake and arise with me
I am the dawn, I'm the new day begun
I bring you the morning, I bring you the sun
I hold back the night and I open the skies
I give light to the world, I give sight to your eyes
From the first of all time, until time is undone
Forever and ever and ever and ever
And I am the dawn and the sky and the sun
I am one with the One, and I am the dawn
I am the sky and the dawn and the sun
I am the sky and the new day begun
I am the sky and the dawn and the sun
Here is the link to register for our January 9th retreat together
LINK TO REGISTER -- CLICK HERE