When light and dark are in balance....

As we near the time of Spring equinox, we notice the balance in equal hours of light and dark in the South and in the North of our planet. In our part of Earth, the balance is about to tip into the expanding hours of light, bringing anticipation, strength; birthing into being. 
Our ancient human ancestors celebrated this time through sacred pagan ritual. As Social Ecologist Glenys Livingstone writes, “Now is the time for us to step into the power of growth, to welcome back that which was lost, and to welcome new wisdom”.
So it is here at the Rahamim Ecology Centre where we have been exploring the depths of dark, light, balance and the power of growth in our times by reflecting on the words of Pope Francis in his recent encyclical Laudato Si’. Over four weeks, two groups have been gathering here to deeply reflect on his words together, one or two chapters at a time, facilitated by Patricia Powell rsm. 
The process of raising our awareness has exposed us to a sense of darkness - the concerns and lament we share for the suffering of the Earth community, ‘Our Common Home’, confronted by ecological crisis. Yet, each week, we have heard a new story of hope, like a strengthening light, from various voices in the Bathurst community who, for many years, have been responding to what they know about the human causes of the ecological crisis by getting on with the business of living a more responsible lifestyle.
The groups who gathered around the encyclical reflected in particular on how to live with an awareness of reciprocity with all of life, or integral ecology. We heard from a local climate scientist/passive solar home builder, a local Wiradjuri Elder, faith leaders, and the secretary of the local Wholefood Co-op. Each offered compelling insights and examples of practical living of a life inspired by the essence of the encyclical, and reminded us that the core message of integral ecology has ancient, traditional resonance.
In remarking on the encyclical, one of our faith leaders, Bishop Michael McKenna, encouraged everyone to read it carefully as a whole, saying: “Out of this study, everyone needs to consider what he or she could do to influence the change that Pope Francis is urging.”
Alongside the lengthening hours of light for us at this time, we embrace the new momentum and challenge of change Pope Francis calls us to take up.