(Last part of a 3 part unpublished article)
All of this brings us to a new way of being, a new way of seeing, a new way of praying. In the Christian tradition this revelation has been called ‘the sacramental vision’, the ‘catholic imagination’. It springs from the orthodox theology of nature and grace, from the mystical spirituality of humanity, from the astonishing implications of Incarnation. It reveals to us the nature of the ultimate intimacy of God with all created beings, the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in all that lives. In this truth and context we begin to realise, at the core of our being, the praise in bird-song, the adoration in each new dawn, the cry of the ocean, the lament of the earth. It is then that our prayer is in deep communion with the wounded earth; our anxious voices are in time and tune with the longing of life, with the desire of the Holy Spirit. The Irish poet Joseph Mary Plunkett wrote;
I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes;
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.
Children, of course, unknowingly have that grace of seeing, being and belonging. They somehow sense their place in the world. And just as they heal us all, they heal the world too. Their very lives of wonder bless the earth. In ways we cannot understand, they are the fleshed prayers of Incarnation, priestesses and prophetesses of life, small sacraments of divine presence to protect their suffering sisters and brothers, and Mother-Earth herself. The land silently reverberates with the perfect passion of their innocent prayer and presence. They know that an un-prayed for world will die. Physicist Brian Swimme wrote, ‘Say this to every child – you come from the energy that gave birth to the universe. Its story is your story; its beginning is your beginning.’
When we ‘pray the troubled world’, the troubled world is praying for itself. Why? Because we are its beating heart. We are its mind, soul and voice. And when the troubled world is praying for itself, it is God incarnate, also at the heart of her own lovely, ravaged body, that is praying and listening to its ‘groaning’. Christians are challenged to hold together the mystery of creation, of evolution, of suffering, of incarnation, of Christianity, of Eucharist. This love-story captivates us with a different lilt, logic and language to the destructive, dualistic ‘fall/redemption’ doctrines that are still suffocating the Holy Spirit of freedom and intimacy.
At the dynamic, evolving centre of it all, is the love called God. This Love, pulsing in the dance of the Blessed Trinity, continues to beat out its pain, prayer and praise in the heart of the cosmos and in the cosmos of the heart. It is the wild energy of the Holy Spirit of the Risen Christ. It is the beginning, and the middle, and the end of God’s love-affair with humanity, with every creature. It is that first sacred thrust of Being into the Alpha of space and time, finding its invincible, healing, loving way towards the Omega of God’s all-embracing, all-welcoming, all-completing heart.