The Climate Crisis

By Sister Mary Ann Connolly

I have to admit, I overslept!  Not by just a few minutes, but I daresay by a few decades!  But I don’t want to waste my energy bemoaning what I have not been attentive to regarding the climate crisis.  Instead, I am choosing to put my energy into the awakening that I have been experiencing over the past few years. This is why my heart leapt when our Chapter Statement included a contemplative circle focusing our attention on “learning, conversion, and discernment of actions to address the climate crisis!”

Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to engage in a number of programs on what it means to live contemplatively.  I have been exposed to the lives of mystics and prophets that have gone before us, and who live among us, helping us to see through a different lens.  I have been humbled by a reconnection with nature… the pathway, I believe, to raising consciousness to this web of life of which I am a small part.  I have come to fully realize that all of our contemplative circles have at their core the same root problem.  We are experiencing the climate crisis, a crisis of the poor and a racial crisis because we are in a spiritual crisis!  We can do little for any of these ills without tending to our spiritual lives and reclaiming and spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ!

In spite of the bleak forecast of our beloved planet, this is a great time to be awakened!  65 million years of the Cenozoic era is giving birth to, what Thomas Berry termed, the Ecozoic era, an era of living in mutually enhancing relationships with all of life.  I believe this world pandemic is expanding, even more, a portal into this new era.  It is, as they say, the best of times and the worst of times!

We have been blessed to have so many forerunners in our Congregation who have been keeping the unfolding drama of the climate before us.  I am especially grateful to Sisters Gertie Jocksh and Margaret Coppenrath for facilitating the contemplative circle on the climate.  I look forward to gleaning insights from them and from others as, together, we seek to continue raising our consciousness!

As a Sister of Charity, and so deeply grateful for this call, the words to the refrain from our Assembly song, I am Willing by Holly Near, continue to echo in my mind.  They somehow sum up how I enter into this contemplative circle…

“I am open and I am willing

For to be hopeless would seem so strange

It dishonors those who go before us

So, lift me up to the light of change”

My experience of our recent Assembly was positive, engaging and challenging!  The authentic and transparent input from the Congregational Leadership Team (CLT), the recorded sessions that offered enlightenment on all of our contemplative circles, and the challenges posed in the finance report set the tone for a deep and meaningful conversation on living more simply!  I pray to keep being lifted up to the light of change, and to be part of the change that can bring healing and well-being to our beloved planet!

I admit, I will probably take a few naps now and again, but I pray to God I will never fall back to sleep and lose sight of my responsibility as part of this web of life!