Where I live at 10,200 feet, the
trees have not yet budded. May is still early, early spring in Leadville,
Colorado, but all around me is a sudden burst of gardening. For months, people
have been filling their homes with starter plants; now they're calling around
to see who has space for more in the few small greenhouses.
Eating at my city grandmother's table was a chore. I remember being dressed up, speaking in soft tones
if at all, and being terrified of spilling on that lace
tablecloth. But my country grandma served her meals in the kitchen.
There's a young man in my congregation--let's call him
"Michael"--who's trying to turn his life around. He's been in and out of
detention centers and prisons since he was 13. Over and over again, he was
caught stealing cars, smoking pot, breaking and entering; you name it, he's
done it. But now he's trying to change, to turn around.
Christopher Pramuk sees a connection between Thomas Merton and Pope Francis. What binds them together is St. Francis’s awareness that the fate of the earth and the fate of God’s creatures are integrally related. As Pope Francis wrote in Laudato si’: “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. . . . There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself. There can be no ecology without an adequate anthropology.” Pramuk says that Merton’s writings embody what Pope Francis calls an “integral ecology,” challenging modern certainties and envisioning a different way of being human in the world (Los Angeles Review of Books, April 23).