When I wrote Revelation at the Labyrinth, one of my goals was to lift up the writing of the late Thomas Berry, a Catholic priest, historian, an environmentalist and a visionary writer. Have you ever heard of this man?
Born in 1914, the third of thirteen children in North Carolina, he joined the Passionist order and became a priest in 1942. He served as an Army chaplain after WWII and later obtained his PhD in intellectual history at Catholic University in Washington, DC. He studied Chinese and Eastern religion, and for much of his professional life, he focused on the history of religion, founding a Center for Religious Research at Fordham University.
In his later years, Berry began to speak and write about the ecological crisis and related spiritual issues. At age 74, he published Dream of the Earth in 1988 and went on to pen five more books concerning the Earth and spirituality before he passed away in 2009 at the age of 94.
Let me ask you – What would you say your connection to the Earth might be?
From a young age, Berry felt a deep connection to the Earth. He spent his childhood playing in the fields and woods of North Carolina and developed a relationship with nature that guided him in his life. He talks about this in his book, The Great Work (pages 12-13). As he awakened to the ecological crisis of our times, he prophetically recommended that we must shift the way we relate to the Earth, to preserve our species for the future. He said this involves changing our educational approaches and our personal views of the earth. Applying his life learnings related to intellectual history and a history of religion, he crafted a vision of a way to change the way we relate to the earth.
Berry called himself a “geologian”. He suggested that our current era is the Ecozoic Age, in which we must transform our relationship and theology about the Earth. He once said, “We will go into the future as a single sacred community, or we will all perish in the desert.”
I find Berry’s work prophetic, hopeful and inspirational. And so, as I deliberated about writing a novel for the Earth, I named my main character after him. I decided on the name Thomasina, but respelled it “Thomaseena”, using Thomas Berry’s first name, and adding the “seena” to commemorate his visionary life and writings. He could see it. His vision looked beyond our destruction of the Earth to a path to a global community working together.
And so, if you read my story, you’ll catch glimpses of his hopes. You’ll hear Thomaseena connecting with the Earth as Thomas Berry once did.
Thomas once wrote, “The earth will solve its problems, and possibly our own, if we will let the earth function in its own ways. We need only listen to what the earth is telling us.” So in Revelation at the Labyrinth, you’ll hear Molly listening to a green pepper, and you’ll hear Thomaseena listening in the fields of the organic farm, and you’ll hear them both listening at the labyrinth, where Thomaseena receives her own prophecy from the Earth, in a similar, though unique way. In the second part of the book, you’ll read these quotes by Berry and more. And you’ll find the MAMs Book Club building a sacred community, dreaming ways to live together into the future.
So, Thomas Berry died in 2009 at the age of 94. But we’re still here. His prophetic voice inspires me. There are many voices rising to speak up these days. Are you? I know I’m trying. I wrote Revelation at the Labyrinth as part of my speaking up.
The natural world is mesmerizing. That we evolved from an explosion is amazing… We have been blessed with so much. This created world is stupendous. Thomas Berry once said, “Earth seems to be a reality that is developing with the simple aim of celebrating the joy of existence.”-
I believe our responsibility to act now is big. I believe that we are called to act for the Earth and so I ask you, What are you going to do? Please spend some time pondering this question.
I would welcome opportunities to speak and get people reading and talking about my book. I would encourage you to join the Citizen’s Climate Lobby. I would encourage us to elect leaders who will speak for the Earth, seeking sustainable practices to move us in to the future. I believe there are ways, but it takes great work to get there.
For a copy of my book, Revelation at the Labyrinth, follow these links. If you live in the Springfield, Ohio area, email me for a copy – firstname.lastname@example.org or purchase at Champion City Guide and Supply.
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