Every Bush Aflame
Publisher: Veritas Publications
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This is a book to be read slowly and savoured. John Feehan's wisdom guides one into a deep appreciation of Laudato Sí.
— Sr Margaret Morris
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Ironically given the title, as I began this study of the role of biodiversity in creation spirituality the news media was filled with stories of unprecedented high temperatures and images of bushes aflame from Greece to Canada and lands in between as well as reports of the destabilization of the earth’s waters as the long-forewarned impact of climate change begins to take hold. We might think that the time for profound reflection is past, that the naysayers have been routed and what is now required is action but a firefighting response alone can never be sufficient. We must know how we got here and what being here means if we are to avoid or mitigate further catastrophe both for ourselves and the other diverse creatures with whom we share planet earth.
John Feehan’s Every Bush Aflame helps this process of necessary reflection as he explores over nine chapters and 220 pages or so the role of every living species in God’s unfolding plan of creation.
He speaks of the ‘dimming of the rainbow of life’s diversity’ which goes beyond our concern for its impact on our human welfare. Most importantly he addresses the kind of particular Christian and spiritual response that is now required and stressing the importance of the personal encounter with
the natural world through which we read the ‘other book’ of revelation in which God ‘grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness’ (Laudato Si’,12).
A challenging, worthwhile and necessary read.
Reviewer: Fr Paul Clayton-Lea, Armagh Diocese, Intercom, October 2021
One of the themes that echoes most frequently through Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ landmark publication on the environment, is the central role of biodiversity in creation spirituality, because the 'dimming of the rainbow of life’s diversity' has a signifi cance that goes way beyond our concern for its impact upon our human welfare. This is the result of a deepening awareness of the role of every living species in God’s unfolding plan.
Every Bush Aflame is an extended refl ection on this profoundly central theme. It explores the origins of biodiversity in Christian theology, its roots in our growing scientifi c understanding of the true nature and scale of life’s complexity and diversity, and the implications of all this for the kind of Christian response called for in Laudato Si’. Particular emphasis is laid on the importance of the personal encounter with the natural world through which we read the ‘other book’ of revelation in which God reveals himself to us: that ‘magnifi cent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infi nite beauty and goodness’ (Laudato Si’, 12). Every Bush Aflame argues that those whose lives are directed by
the spiritual perspective this profoundly deeper understanding offers should be the most deeply motivated to respond to the
challenge presented by the current environmental crisis.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
John Feehan, recently retired from his role as senior lecturer in the School of Agriculture and Food Science at University
College Dublin, is the author of books on every aspect of the natural and cultural heritage of the Irish landscape, including
the defi nitive history of farming in Ireland. His book on creation spirituality, The Singing Heart of the World: Creation, Evolution
and Faith, was published by the Columba Press in Ireland in 2010 and by Orbis in America in 2012.