We ran around the house frantically closing all the windows, trying in vain to keep out the ashes and the smell of burning trees. Like an old movie of some silent catastrophe, we watched an enormous cloud of smoke overtaking the coastline to the north. It seemed like all of California was burning. Months later, Australia would also be on fire, and on the other side of the world piles of ash would turn all the landscape gray as a volcano erupted in the Philippines.
Perhaps we have been misreading the ashes.
Perhaps as we receive a safely small smudge on our foreheads, we’ve forgotten that ashes are the result of violence and destruction. This Lent I want my ashes to remind me that the entire earth is groaning in pain and walking to Calvary with Christ. I want my ashes to help me feel the death of species and of landscapes. I want to know their sorrow and weep with them. I want my ashes to tell me about the radical sameness and kinship of all that is, because it needs me and I need it.
This Lent, I want to hold hands with the whole earth, to remember God’s delight in its Creation and Christ’s embrace in his Incarnation. This Lent is about all of us: tiny creatures, vast forests, old folks and young. The one living organism that is planet earth, finally realizing our radical unity. And on Easter, rising together from our shared ashes to sow new seeds and help rebirth the abundant life that Jesus came to bring.
Dr. Cecilia González-Andrieu holds both a bachelor’s degree in film/televison and Spanish and a master’s degree in theology from Loyola Marymount University. She earned her doctorate degree in Art & Religion and Systematic Theology at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley. Her work bridges theology and the arts, the relationship between justice and beauty, Latino/a theology, immigration, and educational justice. She is currently a professor of theological studies in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at her alma mater, Loyola Marymount University, and is a contributing writer for America Magazine. An internationally recognized theologian, she describes her theological work as intentionally provocative, political, and public. Among her many publications are Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty, and the co-edited volume Teaching Global Theologies: Power and Praxis. She has contributed chapters toGo Into the Streets: The Welcoming Church of Pope Francis and the forthcoming: Miradas a todo color: Teologías feministas contextuales iberoa-americanas. She is a collaborator and supporter of the work of the Ignatian Solidarity Network and serves on its Board of Directors.
La doctora Cecilia González-Andrieu es profesora de teología en Loyola Marymount University, donde también se dedica a servir a la comunidad Latina de muchas formas, especialmente los asuntos de estudiantes indocumentados e inmigrantes y la defensa de los derechos de los trabajadores. Es también reconocida ensayista para la revista America (un ministerio de los Jesuitas) y miembro de la mesa directiva del Ignatian Solidarity Network (la red de solidaridad iganiaciana), dedicada a trabajar con la comunidad y entrenar a los jóvenes para vivir “una fe que hace justicia.” Es la autora del libro Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty, co editora de Teaching Global Theologies: Power and Praxis, y a contribuido a muchas otras publicaciones, entre ellas el libro Go Into the Streets: The Welcoming Church of Pope Francis y el libro que pronto saldrá, Miradas a todo color: Teologías feministas contextuales iberoa-americanas.