“All the Trees of the Field Shall Know…”

Reflection for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time is by FAN Executive Director, Patrick Carolan

Originally posted in our June 8th Newsletter


“And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom.” Ez 17


This statement is from Sunday’s first reading from the book of Ezekiel. Over the years I have read Ezekiel many times. I can’t remember ever noticing this one verse. Think for a minute about what a profound statement it is, “All the trees of the field shall know.” Knowing suggests a level of consciousness. To know one has to be aware. What are the implications in this suggestion that all creation possesses a level of consciousness? This is a very old belief. Indigenous people have long believed that we are all connected. Ezekiel was written almost 3000 years ago. It is also a belief that is founded in Christian thought. Hildegard of Begin, a 12th century mystic and prophet said that all creation has spirituality. St. Bonaventure described the created universe as the fountain fullness of God’s expressed being. As God is expressed in creation, creation in turn expresses the creator.


Thomas Berry often wrote about our relationship with all creation. He said: “Our difficulty is that we have become autistic. We no longer listen to what the Earth, its landscape, its atmospheric phenomena and all its living forms, its mountains and valleys, the rain, the wind, and all the flora and fauna of the planet are telling us.” He also said: “The ancient human-Earth relationship must be recovered in a new context, in its mystical as well as in its physical functioning. There is need for awareness that the mountains and rivers and all living things, the sky and its sun and moon and clouds all constitute a healing, sustaining sacred presence for humans which they need as much for their psychic integrity as for their physical nourishment.”


Pope Francis will be releasing his encyclical next week. It is very telling that the title is “Laudato Si,” or “Praised Be,” with a subtitle “Sulla cura della casa comune” (“On the care of the common home“). Praised be comes from the Canticle of Creatures, a prayer written by St. Francis just before he died. St. Francis understood that all Gods’ creatures were his brothers and sisters. Let us celebrate Pope Francis’s encyclical by doing what Saint Francis did and share the Gospel with all of God’s wondrous creation.

Patrick Carolan

FAN Executive Director

Published in: on June 9, 2015 at 9:23 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thank you, Patrick. Your reflection is a good reminder to listen well to all of the created world. We all look forward to Pope Francis’ encyclical.

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