Flaring Forth

Tracey Horan, Burren Study Week Participant
August 29, 2011

Burren Blog Faith and Ecology Ireland Columban FathersToday, our first “work day” back in Dalgan, we spent the morning beginning to piece together and digest – both individually and as a group – our experience in the Burren. Among the participants, there was a voiced consensus that the study had given us new eyes, ears, and noses to experience our fellow creatures in a more intimate way. The room was filled with expressions of awe, gratitude, and excitement to provide others with the same unique combination of prayer, lectures, field work, microscope study, and creative group dynamic. One participant quoted Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, reminding the people, “What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualise; all that God has prepared for those who love him.” And as John Feehan often reminded us during the week, the intellectual lens of science and the eye of the microscope only serve to provide us with a “less inadequate view” of God’s spectacular works – we can only hope to know them fully in the paradise that awaits.
During the afternoon session, we received a “crash course” on the “New Cosmology,” amazingly enough, skimming the stuff of 13.6 billion years in just two hours! With some previous exposure to the ideas of Thomas Berry and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, I was able to absorb a bit more than I might have in the past, but I have to admit my brain is still recovering. No matter the language used, it always impresses me how little of Earth’s history involves human life. The analogy used today was that if the Earth’s story were told in thirty volumes, and each had about 450 pages, the story of humans would come in on the last line of the last page of the last chapter of the last volume. Now, one could look at this with a defeated mindset, as if the existence of man is just a speck in the ink bottle of Earth history (sorry – another metaphor), or one could sit in wonder at the magnitude and honor of being even a line in such an ancient and meaningful story. Even though the Earth was born out of a “flaring forth” that occurred billions of years ago, we are the current manifestation of that flaring forth. Since the first blink of potential for life, our Creator has intended for each atom, each molecule of algae, each stoic tree, each chirping bird, each crawling worker, each wondering human to flare forth. Observing the way new senses have been awakened within the past week, I can only believe that this movement is a part of the same “flaring forth.” God alone knows the energies that have awakened – and will continue to awaken – within us and will inspire us to act creatively within the cosmos.