Reflection by Arlene Flaherty, OP (Blauvelt)
What is Earth asking of the Order?
Question: What is Earth asking of the Order?
Response: Communion consciousness.
Question: What is communion consciousness?
Response: Read the poem.
By Denise Levertov
It was a flower.
From a bare patch
of that poor soil, solitary,
sprang the flower, face upturned
looking completely, openly into my eyes.
Pale, shell-pink a chalice,
no wider across than a sixpence;
It looked at me, I looked back
delight filled me as if
I, not the flower,
were a flower and were brimful of rain.
And there was endlessness.
Perhaps through a lifetime what I’ve desired
has always been to return
to that endless giving and receiving
of that attention,
Within the taproot that gave rise to our Dominican Family in the 13th century is a wisdom understanding that every member of the Dominican Family is called to awaken within ourselves, and within every context to which we are sent in mission. The taproot wisdom at the heart of Dominican identity and mission can be described today as communion consciousness.
Communion consciousness is what enabled Dominic to envision his followers as a Family. Communion consciousness was the worldview and grace with which early Dominicans challenged the dualisms of the Albigensian heresy. Communion consciousness drove Catharine of Siena to appeal for peace among warring factions in Italy, and unity within a divided Church. Communion consciousness has inspired and directed the praxis of Dominicans at the frontiers in every field of mission—the arts, sciences, and humanities, as well as pastoral and social justice contexts.
In these places, Dominicans then and now have been called to challenge dualistic worldviews with communion consciousness in order that the thinking, acting, and believing that causes domination, exploitation, abuse, and death will be transformed.
More recently, developing technologies have enabled humankind to experience and understand the Creator’s design in the universe. Dominicans are studying, praying, and preaching this holy text which is revealing the truth of our kinship to Earth, and the communion dynamics that are not only at the heart of our expanding universe but within all of creation.
As we are coming to understand communion as a dynamic operating in the universe, we are also experiencing a deeper communion with planet Earth. It is in and through our communion consciousness with Earth that our planet is acting to save her life and all of life.