Thomas Berry’s Sacred Universe

I am happy to have been tagged by Sana of  My Journey with Hijab  for a  3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge’.  This is Day #3.  Many thanks to Sana for inviting me to participate. If you haven’t already visited her blog you might want to take a look–you’ll find humour, thoughtful reflections, spiritual quotes, words of compassion, and more.

The rules for the 3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge:

1. Thank the blogger, who nominated you.

2.  Choose three consecutive days to share a new quote on your blog. They can be from anywhere, anyone, or anything that inspires you… Which means, it can be from yourself, too!

3. On each of the three days, nominate 3 more bloggers to carry on this mission impossible endeavor (if they dare!).

Today’s challenge nominees are:  Elusive Trope, Magnanimous Word, Dr.Gulara Vincent.

♦ ♦ ♦

Yesterday I posted a simple, but meaningful, statement by Thomas Berry:

“The destiny of humans cannot be separated from the destiny of the earth.”

My quote for today is:

What we are experiencing in the degradation of the Earth, is a soul loss, a loss of meaning in life itself that calls for a recovery of a sense of the sacred. The Earth must be seen, not as a collection of objects for our use, but as a communion of subjects of which we are all a part.We are all part of a single community that will live or die together. 

∼ Thomas Berry

I discovered this quote at the end of a reproduction of Thomas Berry’s  twelve principles for understanding the universe and the role of the human in the universe process.  The 12 principles are each quite dense with meaning, while the above statement is easier to digest.

Actions to reduce society’s carbon emissions are receiving wider public support–the recent signing of an International Accord was a major landmark–yet a long road still lies ahead.  There are major hurdles to be overcome.   Many people don’t care or don’t understand…and then there are those of us who see the logic behind the need for change, but are still very embedded in the world the way it is currently working (or not working).

Part of the answer may be in a consciousness shift, such as the one proposed by Thomas Berry. In this shift, a worldview that puts humans at the center of the universe, second only to God, will evolve to a view of the universe as a sacred, interdependent community in which humans are only a part.  I am not a theologian, but I believe the idea is that the divine (however envisioned) is within  rocks, trees, a tiny flower, a river, the stars.  All life and matter, at a level of essence, is One and Sacred.  There are probably different ways of putting this in the languages of different religions, and perhaps with subtle differences–but the end result would be the same: a deeper regard for all living things, sentient and non-sentient; and a deeper awareness of how all forms of life are interconnected.

Thomas Berry was a Catholic priest, eco-theologian, author, and cultural historian from North Carolina, U.S.A. (1914-2009). He is widely recognized as a leader in ecology and religion.

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