A Return to Paradise
By Karen Cassidy CoL
ave you ever enjoyed a second reading of a book and been excited by new insights, some that your worldview didn’t even suggest earlier? Recently I did a second read of Sister Kathleen Deignan’s book, When the Trees Say Nothing, a collection of Thomas Merton’s writings on Nature. In this book, Kathleen, a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame, connects the dots between contemplation and liturgical arts. In your mind’s eye, just listen ...
Listen my soul this is your task; to bless the Earth and all her creatures. And come home again to Paradise. And to walk the way of mindfulness. Kathleen’s study of Merton has led her to label Merton “the prophet of paradise.” He experienced ecological dark nights with a paradise mind and came to Gethsemane with Thoreau in one hand and John of the Cross in the other. We need a paradise mind and a new consciousness to keep awakening. There is a misperception that we need to steal what is freely given. The crisis of the planet is the crisis of the person. Having lost our orientation, I think we forget that our original vocation is to be a gardener. Paradise is the self in this uninhibited freedom. Everything is ours under one condition, it is a gift. Listen! Listen to the silence of vegetables and plants. The power to generate imaginative life is a kind of rediscovery of our paradise recovery.
For, like a grain of fire smoldering in the heart of every living essence God plants His undivided power – Buries His thought too vast for worlds In seeds and roots and blade and flower. Thomas Merton “The Sowing of Meanings”
Whether or not we choose to enter into the “dance of evolution,” the dance will go on. Humankind is being taken to the point where it will have to choose between suicide or adoration (Chardin). Mother Earth in some mysterious way is purifying herself and making ready for a new beginning. Her “anger” is not a form of punishment, but a mere calling for us to change our ways. There are endless choices and opportunities offered to us to return to our Eden home.