Age of Anxiety


Terror and fear
flow across the Earth.
In Mississippi
an eleven-year-old girl
cries out through tears,
“My dad is not a criminal.”

Meanwhile at the border
of Mexico and America,
people are dying
on their journey for freedom,
from lack of food,
water and shelter.

These brown-skin people
are kept in the dark
like mushrooms, covered in lies.
For their broken hearts, we pray,
“Heal what is broken,
make us one again.”



Thomas Among the Trees


We gathered among the trees,
embraced by the land
where Thomas Berry dwelled.
Here with the meadow, butterflies and daisies
is where he found his voice.

For more than forty years
he studied, read and taught
about the beauty of the Earth and the danger ahead,
a foreboding he felt
about what will befall our sacred home.

A wise and friendly man, ablaze with words and surprise,
thank you! You said that when you died
you were not going anywhere.
But you were not correct.
You are among us now, here among the trees.



Rage, Sorrow and Prayer


It happened again.
And again!
Lives lost,
empty rage,
broken hearts.

A wounded world,
a land of sorrow
left behind.

Pray with your feet,
I hear the people say.
Lift up your hearts.
Put down your guns.

Let peace reign today,
yes, may peace reign today!





Extinguish and loss
hover in my heart,
flash upon the silver screen
on this horrific day.

A girl of thirteen, a boy of six,
lives extinguished and lost
on this festive Gilroy, California,
summer day.

Imagine, my friends,
the fragility of life,
embraced, held captive
and extinguished today.



The Streets of Berkeley


I walk along the streets of Berkeley,
a city with a proud and progressive past,
a place where movements were born
that flowed across the land.

Here on Telegraph Avenue,.
where the free speech anthem was sung,
on a street corner today, I see
a mother and child begging for food

A Vietnam vet is shouting for peace,
with no one listening,
here in this place of unaffordable rents,
expensive food and lonely people.



For the People


Whatever happened to “by the people, for the people”?

Due to eco-apartheid, the wealthy can afford clean water, healthy food and moderate temperatures.

The poor and neglected sink into oppressive heat; they face failed harvests, arid fields and shattered hopes.

Through the vast heart of difference, we must awaken to beauty manifest in and through race, gender, culture and creed. Yes, we are all precious in God’s sight.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., proclaimed, people must be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

Let us join hands and hearts and pray that each new day will make possible a more equitable world, flourishing with generous harvests, reversing climate change, reinvigorating our common home.




Before It Is too Late


When I was 18, my mother was dying of colon cancer. As her illness progressed, she worried about my future. I was the youngest of her children, the only one who had not yet found a career path. Since my older sister and brother were both enrolled at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, it was assumed I would follow them.

However, as I pondered the meaning of my mother’s illness and her immanent death, my attention turned to the state of the world. It was the 1960s: the time of the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, and publication of Silent Spring. I knew I had to take a different path, one that committed me to the work of social justice, peace, and caring for the planet.

I see parallels now between my early life and the state of the world today. Mother Earth is experiencing a frightening loss of vitality, through arid fields, floods, rampant hunger and death. I pray that I and others will be aroused by these dire circumstances to make a full-throated commitment to save the planet and her people before it is too late.



Doorway to Freedom


Today we witness another innocent child breathing her last, sinking into unavoidable death, the victim of squalor hunger, and disease.

Pope Francis cries out for mercy and relief for the many children who flee north from violence and poverty only to find themselves caught in the cross hairs of hunger, filth, and loneliness. Separated from their families, they languish in despair. All they sought was a doorway to freedom, but that door was slammed shut through brutal acts of incarceration.

Not only is this dreadful moment happening on our southern border, but similar circumstances are present around the world, in places such as North Korea, Syria, and Sudan. Across our endangered planet, we see ecological devastation; the absence of good work; lack of food, pure water, and abundant harvest.

We ask how we may navigate this perilous time and move forward into a more viable future.

Perhaps we can reflect on the gifts of science and religion. We can find wisdom and encouragement by recalling how humanity moved from believing in a static universe to understanding that the Earth rotates around the sun. We can remember the significant shift that occurred when humanity awakened to a consciousness of evolution. And we can remember the birth of psychology, which allowed us to distinguish between the conscious and unconscious mind. Perhaps today we are being summoned to the precipice of another new shift in human awareness.



A Silent Call

Where can I go
but to the way of nothingness,
that empty place from which
unplanned intuition is born.

Yes, from apparent nothingness
the unimaginable bursts forth.
What was not before comes to be.
From mystery,
an unbidden voice calls out.

Out of wonder,
the beauty of new life appears.
Peace and wonder fill the world.
Amen. Alleluia. Amen.



Great Tree of Life

The tree of life
is shelter in the storm,
standing elegant
in sunshine and in rain.

Rooted in the great story,
you rise up and
extend your branches,
heal our planet’s wounds,
bathe us in beauty all around.

You are the tree of life.
Dance in the fields.
Celebrate the presence
of every flower and bird
in the meadow of new life.

Like each plant,
spider and bird,
join the chorus.
Proclaim with joy
the mystery we call our life.



Listen to the River

Listen to the river
echo in my heart.

On this St. Clair day,
I voyage upstream,
where elements of life abound.
Buoyant, refreshing moments
activate dangerous memories,
manifest in rainbows to the world.

From the channel bank,
my heart leaps
in sacred salutations
of wordless wisdom,
announcing news
of our planetary soul.



Tall Trees

Trees so tall,
forest so deep,
the broken Earth
is why I weep.

On this wild day,
I listen to spirit speak,
in these silent woods.

Once more, I ask spirit
to whisper to us,
as sacred seekers,
to tell us what’s next
in this dark time,
to show us the way.



Pledge Allegiance

I pledge allegiance
to preserve and protect
our common home,
to unite mind and heart,
to celebrate integral wisdom,
to bring hope and anticipation
to tomorrow
as if it were today.

I pledge allegiance
to this enduring quest
for a healed and wholesome world.
May we be one
with all that is unsolved
in our lives,
as ambivalence fades
into wonder
on each mysterious day.



Our Tangled World

We live today
in a culture of unrest.
In politics and the evening news,
conflict, insult and turbulence unfold.

Almost every day,
week by week,
month by month,
year by year.

We feel the conflict in our hearts,
pain in the people,
as we sink more deeply
into each diminishing moment.

Now is the time
to live again,
to challenge the pulse
of each new day.

Rise above the problems
and heal the dismay.
Each day is an opportunity
to become entirely new.

Untangle the knots
of this tortured world.
Live with hope.
Enact a sacred time.



Rise Again


I pray today
that war and conflict may cease
and anger turn to compassion.

May violence turn to peace
and joy and sorrow
bring creation back to life.

There is no certainty ahead.
May those who are poor and lost
pray and hope to rise again.

For them,
tomorrow’s door is open.
Their future lies ahead.

May each and every soul
rejoice and rise again.



Grow Your Soul

Flags at half mast,
children dying,
the pop-pop of bullets
shatter the silence.
Guns terrorize our land.

When will the madness cease,
assassins put away their guns
and pick up a paint brush instead?

Set your spirit free.
Let it splash across your empty page,
colors of freedom and peace.

I hear the young say,
“Never again.”
Listen to their voices.
Let violence cease.
Grow a soul of peace.



Candles in the Night

Today the world appears
silent and uninviting
to so many dislocated souls.

They feel lost in a world
that promises nothing
but the illusion of power,
money and public acclaim.

Today I ask,
is it not true
that God is present
in secular experience?

Today I ask,
is it not true
that the prophets of yesterday
live on among us?

I think of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Robert Kennedy,
Thomas Merton,
Oscar Romero
and so many more.

Their vision and courage
captivate our lives,
energize our souls.

Their spirits and wisdom
are candles in the night
to dispel the darkness
for each lost soul.




I ask the swallow
singing in the meadow,
“What shall I say?”
Swallow answers,
“Tell them the story.”

I ask the deer
frolicking in the field,
“What shall I say?”
Deer calls back,
“Tell them the story.”

I ask the ancestors
gathered around,
“What shall I say?”
They answer back,
“Remember to tell our story.
Tell the story of every being,
from the birth of the universe
until now, and everything in between.”

Stories of courage.
Stories of beauty
and overflowing love.
Stories of wonder and surprise.
Stories of wisdom.
Stories from the heart
that were told before
yet are forever new.



Mary Oliver


Dear Mary Oliver,
voice of our earth
breath of beauty
on the day of your passing,
“I wake early.”

I remember your friends:
Molly, Percy, Wild Geese, Black Swan,
Summer Days, The Journey.
I ask again what I can do with my
“one wild and precious life.”

I treasure my memory
of the night at Dominican University
when you and Percy came to us
and taught us how to
pay attention' to the beauty of the world.

Thank you for your words,
thank you for your good advice.
May I honor you
with new beginnings,
bring beauty to the world.





Long ago, in the final weeks of World War II, America dropped the atomic bomb on Japan. Loss of life was catastrophic. Planetary people awakened to a stark reality: if life was to continue on our Earth home, it would be necessary for nations to arrive at an agreement to disengage from nuclear warfare.

This defining moment led to the emergence of the Cold War. In subsequent years, there have been precarious moments when the unleashing of a nuclear bomb seemed imminent. However, in recent times, the threat of a hot nuclear war has been replaced by the lethal threat of ecological devastation.

Well-known system theorist Johanna Macy addressed this shifting threat in her writings. Her early work had titles such as Despair and Empowerment in the Nuclear Age, and her more recent works focus on the imminent threat of ecological devastation; for example, Coming Back to Life.

Cultural historian Thomas Berry suggested the same trajectory through his writings, such as The Dream of the Earth and The Great Work. His work challenges us to face the depth of our environmental crisis with statements like “the bomb has already gone off.” The attention to destruction of the planet entered a new phase with the publishing of Pope Francis’s letter to the world Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home.

The response to our endangered planet has resulted in “extinction spasms” of monumental proportions. The historic work Silent Spring has become a benchmark for the era that is now upon us. The awareness of this dangerous time has brought responses from many theologians and spiritual leaders. The diminishment of natural beauty has prompted some to say that species loss is like tearing a page from sacred scripture. For those of us who embrace a theological view —that creation is a book of primary revelation, that God is in all things, and all things are in God—the reality of species extinction leads us to a painful conclusion: it is possible to have death without a resurrection.

Each year in California, monarch butterflies gather in clusters only to be replaced next year by a new generation of butterflies. Now, these butterflies, along with many other species, are on the brink of extinction because of polluted water, toxic air, and poisoned earth. Some have suggested that our lives on planet Earth are beginning to resemble a lunar landscape, where the divine presence is diminished, and our souls are deprived of the beauty of God’s creation.

Today, before it is too late, we must enter a new time, a time when once again the spring of Rachel Carson can flow purely and abundantly.