Dear Pope Francis,
I’m still pondering what you said today. Not sure I can write about it yet. I’m more inclined to reflect for a bit. I don’t want to rush to conclusions, as the media is happy to do.
Instead, I’d like to bring the focus back to where it belongs. On Earth, and the changes we are all feeling and seeing, but may want to ignore. This deserves our undivided attention. Because, once we understand our place in the Universe, and the precarious and precious place we occupy, it’s impossible to not see all other humans from the perspective of justice.
So, I give you this poem.
A Prayer to Thomas Berry
By Kevin Aschenbrenner
What would you think of us,
that we’ve done the unthinkable,
let carbon fill our atmosphere,
to the brim, full to overflowing,
We’ve reached the point where there be dragons,
and all fallen over the edge.
I think you knew this point would come.
You named it.
The Ecozoic Era,
you called it.
A whole new geological age
where we get to see
exactly what we’ve done
in front of all the Earth community.
There is no going back from here.
You knew this.
Will our children even have meadow moments?
Times when nature caught their imaginations?
Clean air to breathe?
Fresh water to drink?
Ah Thomas, sometimes I think about what may come and despair.
There seems little for one as small as me to do.
While you wrote about the changes to come,
you gave hope,
that we humans were not beyond redemption.
If we woke up and dug in we could do something.
The Great Work, you called it.
Our answer to Earth’s call at this precarious point in Her history.
That work would give us somewhere to stand,
a place to begin,
a task to undertake,
in the face of unrelenting bad news.
And, so, Thomas,
as I begin my own Great Work,
my own small effort
I ask that we be cosmic companions and that,
from the wind and water and rock where you now reside,
part of the great Earth communion,
lend me some wisdom,
so I might walk the path I’m meant to walk, an ecozoic pilgrim
who refuses to give up hope.