Words of faith: Drought deepens well of spirituality

May 8, 2015
Franciscan Sister Monessa Overby, Special to The Desert Sun

Desert Blooms (from www.morguelife.com)The California drought is on the news every day and each of us is confronted with doing what we can about it. Perhaps thinking of it as a closer meeting with our environment, the created world on which and in which we live, is a positive way of thinking about the drought.

All of creation reveals something of God; all of creation reveals God. You may remember from elementary school memorizing “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. The last lines read, “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.” Thomas Berry, who called himself a geotheologian, said, “We need to move from a spirituality of alienation from the natural world to a spirituality of intimacy with the natural world.”

This drought can be a reminder to listen to our “Mother the Earth” to hear the sacred presence. Mother Earth is both groaning and glorifying. The Jesuit paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin, said, “At the heart of matter is the heart of God.”

The Earth’s well-being is part of our own well-being. The word “drought” is used to describe our parched Earth and scarcity to describe reasons for conserving. Surrounded by the beauty of creation here in the desert it can be a challenge to grasp the dearth of life-giving water. On a physical level, if you have ever experienced dehydration you may have a profound awareness of the need for water. Or you may have known psychological or spiritual aridity, dryness, a parched spirit. A caring community is a source of not only one’s own well-being; it is a way we can, together, tend the Earth’s well-being.

We Californians need to conserve water. Will we see that as a deprivation or an invitation? A spirituality of using less water helps us hear the groaning of those around the globe who have no potable water. We might “listen” to the appreciation our plants have when they receive their ration. And when we sip our much needed water for health, we might take a quiet moment to give thanks for all the ways Mother Earth and her gifts glorify the creator.

Franciscan Sister Monessa Overby
Christ of the Desert Church
Mid-Valley Interfaith Council