As I continue to meet more and more justice advocates, I find myself picking their brains and asking this crucial question: “how do you take a step back, re-center, and recharge in light of everything going on in our world today?” I hear, over and over again, that many find refuge and refreshment in nature and meet God in the beauty of creation.
I too find spiritual fulfillment and a direct avenue to God through my experiences of nature. Recently, I have been struck by the intricacy and beauty of Pando. Pando looks like 40,000 individual aspen trees growing in Utah, but it’s actually believed to be the largest organism on Earth. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Pando started from a single seed and spreads by sending up new shoots from one single root system. This incredible organism spans over 106 acres and is nearly 13 million pounds.
Pando is Latin for “I spread,” and that’s exactly what this organism has continued to do for the last 80,000-1 million years making it among the oldest known living organisms.
Nature can bring us closer to God, and Pando can serve as an example of how we are all linked. We are connected with the migrant, with those in poverty, with the victim of human trafficking, with those marginalized and harmed by racism, and with the Earth. At the same time, we can also see that we are connected to those with whom we disagree, with the estranged relative, with the politician who abuses power, with those who resort to violence. We are all connected through God. We are a “we.” Just as Pando continues to grow and spread, we too can continue to progress, to grow, to spread, and to share our gifts with all to whom we are connected. We can spread love, patience, kindness, peace, healing, understanding, compassion, energy, hope, forgiveness… We can continue to water our roots of peace, inspiring others to build a foundation rooted in peace and justice.
What will you spread today?
The Global Catholic Climate Movement is working with partners to sponsor the Season of Creation from September 1 – October 4. Click here for a toolkit and a prayer for our Earth during this Season of Creation.