From Br. Joseph —
The modern mind always tends to reduce the greater to the lesser rather than seeing the lesser as reflecting the greater. (Peter Kreeft)
There is a grove of aspen trees that cover nearly 200 acres in south-central Utah. This grove, named “Pando”, was once considered the largest living organism in the world. Above ground, each tree looks like an isolated, individual entity, but underground, there is a vast network of roots that interconnects all of the 47,000+ individual trees. It just so happens that aspens, although they generate seeds, prefer to reproduce almost entirely vegetatively, with suckers sprouting from the existing root systems. What looks to us as a bunch of separate, individual, free-standing trees is in fact one gigantic organism. What we see appears to be only part of the story, only one small view point of reality.
The same thing goes for us humans too. We are not only connected in our common humanity, but we are connected on a much deeper, spiritual, essential level. Our very being, our existence, is connected. I cannot affect you without you affecting me as you cannot affect me without affecting yourself.
Ultimately, this connection is in and through and of God. Scripture uses several metaphors for this fact, most notably when Christ calls Himself the Vine and we his branches, or as St. Paul calls us, members (parts) of the Body of Christ. If we take it a step further beyond the horizon of life, those that have died are *still* alive and active branches on the Vine too. In fact, they are more alive than we are here on earth because they are closer to the very Source of Life.
This point of view of our existence being connected runs contrary to much of our experience in a postmodern, industrialized society. But this line from the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us:
The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. (CCC #34)
We all are a part of something, and in something, which is much larger than ourselves.
To many moderns, love is something that is only a part of us rather than something of which we are a part. (Peter Kreeft)
We are not part of something, but some One.
Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us…