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Issue 28

Ecology and contemplative prayer

Ecology and Contemplative prayer             
By Delia Law (Member of the FCP Council)

Notes from an inspiring talk given by Brother Sam of the Franciscans from Hilfield Friary, Dorset, given at the Annual Meeting of the Quiet Garden Trust, on 31st May 2015, at Clifton College, Bristol

Brother Sam gave us much to think about when he spoke about his view of our world from the contemplative perspective, with his main point being that every creature, plant and all created things are a reflection of the glory of God.  This viewpoint contrasts sharply with that common attitude of seeing the world only as having useful resources to be t raded and fought over.  Even nature tourism sees the world as having market value.

Brother Sam went on to say that, in the face of climate change issues,  our main task which is the necessity for us, is to grow in love, and that there is a need for what he calls \"contemplative gazing\". Seeing clearly and deeply through the work of our contemplative prayer is indeed an act of love. God\'s loving gaze embraces and sees the worth of all that He has created and we must see that all things are interconnected.

Contemplative pray er brings forth in us more love for the world and this will, inevitably, bring with it pain. Brother Sam pointed out that there is an increasing need to acknowledge the great pain of loss and destruction in the world. Such examples being ecocide and genocide; the loss of species; disrespect for the countryside; fly-tipping etc.   \"As we gaze in love and acknowledge the pain, our tears are accounted as a blessing\", says Brother Sam. A human being who recognises their own frailty and limitedness is truly blessed.

So, we slowly begin to understand how conte mplative prayer changes and shapes us and our views and attitudes in ways we do not always see immediately and comprehend. This is the mystery ongoing. The urgent task that faces humankind now, is that of  finding solutions ; e.g. to prevent sea temperatures rising by more than 2 degrees Centigrade , and to be attentive to, and act on all the problems affecting humankind (e.g. flooding, erosion, sea level rises,  saltwater lodged land  not fit for agriculture, etc )  

Brother Sam reminded us of how our prayer empowers us. May we live to pray and love our planet with all our heart.

Delia Law
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