My image of God is too small.
Or, I could say, my image of God is never big enough. This can have frustrating consequences.
Between teaching environmental science classes at Loyola Chicago, working with our Jesuit Green Team, collaborating on various Church environmental efforts, and trying to keep up with the latest writing and research regarding the state of our planet, I spend a lot of my time thinking about what we call our current ecological crisis. On a daily basis I can get pulled back to a familiar feeling of frustration and existential dread that first began to form almost 18 years ago as I started my higher education in environmental science.
Sometimes I catch myself in prayer thinking “How can you ask for trust and peace—do you know the state of the planet? Have you seen the latest science in the IPCC report? Do you know the state of biodiversity loss in the world?” Like those in today’s Gospel, I can find myself addressing Jesus simply as some man in first century Palestine. Unlike the prostrating Abraham in the first reading or a person in the first two steps of AA, I can lack the humility it takes to see God as God is.
On occasion and with grace, I remember to let my certainties and questions go. I find myself fixed by the loving gaze of Christ. My endless questions and uncertainties drop away, and I find Jesus, the one who was before anything was. Whoa.
In humility I realize it was God who inspired my desire for environmental justice in the first place. In humility I remember God is the source of Creation and Being itself.
Can I trust God’s promises and covenant? Can I have hope in He who was, is, and will be?
Br. Mark Mackey, S.J., is a Jesuit brother in the Jesuits’ Midwest province. Mark is a lecturer in Loyola University Chicago’s School of Environmental Sustainability where he teaches environmental science, eco-spirituality, and herpetology.