By Daniel P. Horan
National Catholic Reporter
April 20, 2023
In his 2009 book The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the 21st Century, the late Passionist Fr. Thomas Berry reflected on Christians living in an age of climate catastrophe. Drawing from the rich wells of Scripture and tradition, Berry wrote that, today, “what is needed is a new spiritual, even mystical, communion with Earth, a true aesthetic of Earth, sensitivity to Earth’s needs, a valid economy of Earth. We need a way of designating the Earth-human world in its continuity and identity rather than exclusively by its discontinuity and difference. We especially need to recognize the numinous qualities of Earth.”
I was thinking of Berry because this Saturday, April 22, commemorates the 53rd Earth Day. Few contemporary figures in the Catholic tradition have so eloquently and directly called for a renewal of not just our thinking and practices around relating to the more-than-human world, but also a renewal in our spiritualities, or ways of relating to the transcendent, to God.