I remember learning the water cycle in school.
Water in the air condenses, forming clouds. As it builds up, it falls to the earth as rain or snow, precipitation that waters the earth, making it fertile and fruitful—finding its end in ground tables or collected in lakes, streams, and oceans. Heated by the sun, this water—having achieved the ends for which it was sent—returns, rising as vapor, continuing this essential cycle.
The first reading from Isaiah—an allusion to this cycle—has long been my favorite discernment scripture. It is deeply consoling, imagining each of us—our lives, choices, and actions—as part of a larger, ongoing rhythm of creation.
It is not difficult to bring to mind a creation waiting with eager expectation—thirsty for the fulfillment of promises, hungering for bread and justice, and more than ready for seeds sown of hope.
We aren’t bystanders, observing this cycle from afar.
We are called to participate fully in God’s unfolding story—with roles enough for all of us, changing with the seasons and contexts of our lives.
Called to slake thirst and to drink deeply,
to sow seeds and to cultivate the land,
called to till and to harvest,
to prepare meals and to sit at tables and be fed.
We are co-laborers, co-creators—fulfilling the purpose for which we have been sent.
Being part of this greater story means tending not only to our own hearts and discernment, but to a common good—to our communities and institutions, our schools, systems, churches, and country.
How are we breaking up clods of fear and hate?
Rooting out choking thorns of racism and supremacy?
Softening the hard, rocky ground of ignorance, scarcity, and individualism?
Enriching and preparing the soil with acts of compassion, equity, and courage?
I believe that this creation of ours can be set free.
I believe in the gloriousness of liberation.
I believe we are promised Living waters; and I believe we are part of that promise.
- What are you doing to participate in God’s unfolding story, to tend to your own heart and to the common good?
Marilyn Nash teaches Ignatian Spirituality at Seattle University and is a spiritual director & consultant for Jesuit works, faith communities, and individuals particularly regarding spiritual discernment amidst a culture of racism.