In this powerful and poignant reflection, Corrie van den Bosch MSS contemplates all that we hold, between the light and dark of our world, and our experiences as created beings. A visit to Port Arthur, on the Tasman Peninsula, on Tasmania’s east coast, reminds her of both the rugged and fierce beauty of that part of the world, and the tragic history which goes back to the earliest times of the colony. ‘I never get used to it: the cruelty with which we humans can treat one another! And in a natural environment of such powerful beauty.’
‘I know the suffering embedded in the Tasman Peninsula is not only a past event. It continues in the depts of suffering of Earth as our lifestyle puts enormous pressure on its life and life systems, and on all the beings, human and other-than-human, that depend on those life systems’.
In a deeply moving way, Corrie laments the ways in which her heart’s attention is drawn to the ‘cry of people, animals, reptiles and insects in war-torn countries: their homes and habitats are bombed and burning…’ We experience cyclones, floods, tornadoes, drought. ‘Trust in leaders, public institutions and even in Churches, has worn thing.’ God is questioned: Where, Lord, are we heading in this mess? Do you weep, Lord…?
Though there is much to lament, and perhaps worry about, toward the end of the reflection, Corries gives us a sense of hope. That, just as there is darkness, there is light. ‘Your words reach across the darkness: Come to me, all you who labour and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest’. She writes, ‘An image arises in me. I know that image. It comes to me whenever I open my heart to experience the depths of suffering in our world: it is you, the Crucified One, your body rent in two, and in the fissure all the suffering beings of the world.’
‘You embrace their suffering as your own, and invite me to bear it with you, in you; to bear it with your love, your compassion and your powerlessness; and yes, to bear it with serenity and joy, your serenity and joy’.
Corries poses the question: Might it not be that the destructive forces that cause the world so much suffering, are actually the labour pains birthing a new epoch, a new global consciously which calls forth a new phase of being of our world, our Universe?
The photograph above was taken by Corrie van den Bosch from the back porch of Lorraine Groves MSS’s home, in Hobart, Tasmania.