Dear Friends,

 We pray you are safe and well.

Today's Meditation talks about the Earth as our Spiritual Director. What is the Earth teaching you? How is the Earth guiding you? Christine Valters Paintner melds together the thinking of Thomas Berry and Thomas Merton into this engaging meditation.

 We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in healthcare, in the workplace, in the Church--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that in God’s economy of abundance, when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

We hope and pray that you and your loved ones experience genuine peace of mind and heart, and remain in good health during this challenging time.

In this time of Lenten Pilgrimage may you find peace, healing, hope, and the infusion of joy in your life!

With our love and care,

Ron & Jean

MEDITATION 286: The Earth as our Spiritual Director. Christine Valters Paintner melds the thinking of Thomas Merton and Thomas Berry

Thomas Merton wrote: "The monk here and now is supposed to be living the life of the new creation in which the right relation to all the rest of God's creatures is fully restored... We are not anticipating its arrival but living its becoming.. How necessary it is for monks to work in the fields, in the rain, in the sun, in the mud, in the clay, in the wind. These are our spiritual directors and our novice-masters...The bass and trout hiding in the deep pools of the river are canonized by their beauty and their strength. The lakes hidden among the hills are saints, and the sea too is a saint who praises God without interruption in her majestic dance."

Christine Valters Painter reflects, "The elements of water, wind, earth and fire offer us wisdom and guidance. They are our original soul friends. Air is the gift of breath we receive in each moment, the rhythm of life sustaining us. Breath reminds us of Spirit moving through us and guiding our direction. Fire is the gift of life force and energy and we might call to mind mystics across religious traditions who imagine God as the living flame of love that burns in each of our hearts. Fire reminds us of our passions. Water is the gift of renewal and replenishment, sacred in rituals of cleansing and baptism. The sea calls us to remember our own tidal rhythms. The elements at the communion table and ritual feasting emerge from the earth; the act of eating is sacred and holy, also sustaining our life and work, Earth reminds us of our earthiness and mortality, calling us to claim what is most precious to us in each moment. Sometimes we imagine the ideal spiritual life as one of stillness in a retreat center or monastery. But as Merton reminds us, it our embodied engagement with the world that reinvigorates our connection to the earth and how we might learn from the elements."

Thomas Berry points out, "Our deepest desire is to share our riches, and this desire is rooted in the dynamics of the cosmos. What began as an outward expansion of the universe in the fireball ripens into your desire to flood all things with goodness. Whenever you are filled with a desire to fling your gifts into the world, you have become this cosmic dynamic of celebration, feeling its urgency to pour forth just as the stars felt the same urgency to pour themselves out."

(From Thomas Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation, p.30 and his When the Trees Say Nothing, p 43 and from Thomas Berry's Dream of the Earth.. Christine Valters Paintner: "Earth as Soul Care Matrix: The Wild Heart of Spiritual Direction" in Presence (v.23, #2, June 2017)