Greening The Soul,

   Greening The World  

Lynne Elwinger, O.C.D.

The season of spring is a greening time. It does its coloring in every shade of green imaginable. Somewhere recently I read that the color green is a unifier of opposites, made up as it is of blue, a calming color, and yellow, an enlivening color. In whatever hemisphere it occurs, spring brings with it new life, and the tropical regions, whose seasons are wet and dry, seem to be blessed with green the whole year long. Green hues can be both calmly reassuring and energy stimulating. As the quintessential color of life and growth, shades of green are cordially welcomed after the more somber tones of winter in this part of the world!

There is much talk these days about green technologies and green-friendly products, with the message that greening is what our earth most needs now. From outer space, astronauts have reported seeing our planet as a “blue-green orb” standing out in the dark background surrounding it. Our humanly established boundaries and borders seem to disappear, they have told us. With all the current conflicts and disputes over territories, it would appear that we are in need of this larger view to “green” our relationships with each other as well.

New Possibilities

How appropriate it is that the feasts of Easter and Pentecost both occur in the springtime! The resurrection of Jesus is a celebration of new life, new possibilities and transforming changes. Pentecost reminds us that the Holy Spirit has come to dwell here with us. In each of these sacred events are found both enlivening and calming aspects, another form of green perhaps. Jesus gives us cause for lively rejoicing and at the same time tells us that we are being gifted with a calming peace the world cannot give. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection and the coming of the Spirit have greened our souls forever.

Now we are invited to do our own part to keep the greening going, both in our personal lives and in the larger communities of which we are a part. “How can we do that?” we might well ask. Not surprisingly, there are as many answers to this question as there are people asking, and each of us has to discern his or her individual path. Called to spread the good news, every Christian can share with the world the cause of our rejoicing. The manner in which we live our everyday lives is the primary gospel message to those around us. If we are rejoicing, others are positively affected by that. If we are peaceful people in a chaotic world, others will notice and wonder why that is.

The Garden Of Life

I believe that in the garden of life we are called to cultivate all that is life-enhancing for ourselves, other people, and all life on earth. Finding, following and sharing joy is not a self-centered activity. It is, on the contrary, a very healing and energizing practice. Unlike the more transitory feelings of pleasure, joy can become a permanent state of being. It isn’t hard to imagine the joy of those first disciples and Our Blessed Mother when they truly began to grasp the reality of Jesus’ resurrection and were filled with the Holy Spirit. They maintained this joyful state to the end, despite hardships and persecutions.

One of our priests recently remarked that while Jesus came to us from heaven, lived among us and then returned to heaven, the Holy Spirit came to dwell with us and has never been “recalled”. Openness to the action of the Spirit within us, leads us not only deeper into the Heart of God, but also out of ourselves into a deeper connection with our neighbors and all of the earth community. We become both receivers and transmitters of joy and peace. Learning to trust joy as a divine gift, we find it leading us to that peace that passes all understanding.

Signposts of Joy

Signposts of joy, wherever they arise in our lives, are worth following. Life is too short to live without joy and beauty breaks each day. Alert to the hints that inner joys bring us, we still meet the risen Christ on the way. When we honor and give thanks for the joys of each day, we might be surprised to find that this activity, in some mysterious way, lightens our burdens and brightens the path before us. The presence of the risen Christ, through the powerful work of the Holy Spirit, continues to green each of our lives, and through us, our world. Alleluia!

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