CRY OF THE EARTH, CRY OF THE POOR- from Chaos to Hope.
28th July – 1st August, 2016
Exuberance, joy, zest……these words express something of the atmosphere created during the few days we spent in Emmaus Retreat Centre, celebrating 800 years of Dominican life. Various branches of the Dominican Family, Religious from other congregations and lay people participated with enthusiasm during this Emmaus event. Our guest speakers were Sr. Sharon Zayac O.P. and Dr. John Feehan. They gave us in-depth information on topics such as the Universe Story, Evolutionary Consciousness, Chaos and Hope, Science and Faith. Sharon led us to a deeper awareness of our vital connectedness with the whole of creation. We became more aware of who we are within creation- human beings gifted with the amazing ability to reflect and to ponder.
John Feehan brought home to us the strong call of ‘Laudato Si’, the call to conversion. He used a phrase that I had hardly heard since I was a child: ‘You must pay attention.’ He almost pleaded with us to pay attention to creation, to see its beauty and wonder, to be aware that our understanding of creation is the context for our understanding of the creator. He was convinced of the need to link our faith with the scientific knowledge available to us today.
During these days of the conference we became more conscious of the splendour and beauty of creation, at the same time we were made more aware of the chaos in our world. In modern times, we are experiencing the greatest ever breaking down of cultures, we see political and economic upheavals, climate change, social disruption. We are the reflective part of the universe and because of this we have the power to shape the future of the universe. We can make an impact on land and on sea, on mountains and rivers, on plants and animals. We can hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the suffering poor. Sharon, referring to the chaos and suffering, said,” We must embrace this cross,” because of our intimate union with the whole of creation and with God who is the light at the heart of the universe. Therefore, we have hope, the hope of re-birth, of resurrection.
Sharon related ecological concerns to the very foundation of Dominican life. Dominic founded the order to preach. He was alert to the problems of his day. One of the areas that concerned him was a tenet in the teaching of the Albigensians: Matter is evil. Dominic directed his attention to this issue. Today, we Dominicans are called to affirm the goodness and beauty of creation, the Body of Christ. We are called to protect and advance it and to be caught up in the great surge of praise that is constantly arising from it.
Another very important feature of our Emmaus event was the liturgy. We felt that it evolved from the topics we were engaged in and enhanced them. The Eucharist we celebrated was meaningful, participative and joyful.
I am aware that the success of our Emmaus event could not have taken place without much reflection, inspiration, planning and hard work. I join with many others in expressing our appreciation and gratitude to all who were involved in bringing it to fruition.
Kathleen Egan O.P.