Houston Dominicans Retreat focuses on interconnectedness of creation


By Ceil Roeger, OP

June 4, the final morning of convocation, the Dominican Sisters of Houston viewed and reflected on “Creation Calls,” a video of magnificent scenes of God’s creation. The stirring music and words of Brian Doerksen accompanied the video. That evening John Surette, SJ and Linda Gibler, OP opened windows and invited the sisters making the community retreat to “walk with God in an Evolutionary Universe.”

Throughout the week we contemplated values and dynamics of God’s universe as a source of wisdom for creatively living and acting as persons of faith in our 21st century world with all of its challenges.

Fr. John preached the values of Differentiation, Interiority, and Communion. As he spoke to us on differentiation, he made a connection with our Dominican charism as he quoted from the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas: divine goodness “could not be adequately represented by one creature alone, God produced many and diverse creatures, that what was wanting one in the representation of the divine goodness might be supplied by another.” He invited us to spend time with differences we observe in the cosmos: in the heavens, seas, on land, among plants and animals, and among humans, and to note how these differences enrich one’s life, making it more interesting and colorful.

In exploring interiority, we were reminded of the interiority of all creation, and, as Brian Swimme says, “Our own interiors will resound with the beauty and the pathos of Earth… and if we recognize the interiority of all we might be able to listen to our ‘enemies’ and discover options for dealing with violence and war.”

Though we are different and have our own interiority we live in communion with all of creation not just as we experience it now… from the beginning of time. The water we drink today is the same water our ancestors drank.

These values were complemented with Sr. Linda’s preaching on the dynamics of Emergence, Radiance, and Allurement.

Following her preaching on emergence, the power of creativity, Sr. Linda invited us to take an Earth walk. We were not to just “stop and smell the roses.” She invited us to listen to what Earth had to say to us.

As she preached radiance, she reminded us that Earth is God-drenched and that everyone and everything in God’s universe houses Magnificence/Divinity. In God’s universe, everything and everyone exists in a field of attraction. This is dynamic of allurement, of falling in love. Sr. Linda spoke of humans’ attraction to fire and how fire is used as a sacramental in many of our rituals and sacraments. She made the connection to Pentecost and the fire of divine love that was showered upon Jesus’ followers.

During that final session, the sisters renewed their vows, aware of a sense of connectedness with all of God’s universe.

Sister Ceil Roeger, OP, is promoter of Justice, Peace and Care of Creation for the Dominican Sisters of Houston.