Nothing Can Exist Without Sharing Its Life

Jesus reminds us humans that participating in living also means participating in dying, and that this process can be – is intended to be – life-giving, for others as well as for ourselves. How do we begin to see with new eyes? My every breath is a creative exchange with trees and green growing things, and my life depends upon that exchange. I am one very small participant in an enormous planetary process of mutual life-giving. But do I notice it?

Il Battesimo di Cristo, di Daniel BonnellDaniel Bonnell, Christ's BaptismDo I thank the trees for processing my CO2 and giving me the oxygen my life needs? What if I stopped to recognize that every member of the “food chain” that I eat is the gift of a living species?

Our Creator seems to be enlivening a process that depends absolutely on sharing ... Nothing can exist without sharing its life. I think about our consumer society, and how thoughtlessly we (I) use things, accumulate “stuff” we don’t need, how thoughtless and disrespectful we are of the generosity of the whole community of life that sustains us.


And we are so blinded by our consumptive patterns that, as Barbara Kingsolver remarked, in this culture, we do not recognize them as a spiritual error, let alone bad manners! We simply do not see. Or maybe more correctly, we see through deceptive filters of domination (humans are highest and can do whatever they want with the rest of creation), and filters of competition (more is better, and we gain status when we have more than someone else.)

il globoil globoI thought too about how we fear dying – both the kind of dying-to-self that ordinary, daily love requires, and the dying that marks a break with our lives here on Earth.

We seem to think that it is inappropriate for us humans to die – ignoring the fact that everything on the planet is at every moment giving its life (consciously or not) for everything else.

In Annie Dillard’s wonderful image, everything is always either nibbling or being nibbled. Everything. Including us humans. If the rest of creation is continually participating in my own life process, keeping me alive and healthy, what do I give back?

How do I participate in sustaining and enhancing the process? How do I learn to see with new eyes?


Sr. Elaine Prevallet, SL

Question for Reflection:

Do I try to use my gifts in ways that are generous and helpful to others?


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