Hushed Awareness – January Reflection

handsJanuary is the quietest month in the garden

But just because it looks quiet doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.

Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle…

A seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl.

 And the anticipation nurtures our dreams.

Barbara Winkler (www. A-Mused Winter Collage, 22)


The beginning of each year always merits some reflection as we enter unknown terrain. We stand at the threshold, looking back and looking forward, alive and open in hope to revisit mystery, beauty, hospitality, challenge, questions, the silent whispers of wonder and endless opportunities, as we grasp the chance to ponder anew the unique role these play in the dance of life.

In our Northern Hemisphere, days are shorter, darkness lingers, the great surrender is in place as the land is stripped of its produce, creatures sheltered remain silent.   During   this time of gestation earth waits patiently in inner stillness, in hushed awareness, faithful, contemplative, sleeping, letting go in creative silence, enabling the long darkness of winter to become a nurturing womb, welcoming all that longs for renewal in anticipation that our present global reality may be different.

We are acutely aware of the challenges visible in our world today as many struggle to live on this wounded planet which is disintegrating before our very eyes, causing destruction and havoc in many countries particularly among the poorest. At the present time we share life with a world of suffering humanity, with its global wealth and inequality, wars, violence, abuse of power, troubles and unresolved problems.

It is reassuring to know that Cop 15, the recent UN Conference in Montreal, secured a historic global deal to protect 30 per cent of the world’s lands, seas, coasts, and inland waters by 2030, as well as reduce our ecological footprint, halve the risk of pesticides an eliminate or repurpose harmful subsidies.   This first step aims to halt biodiversity loss and the decline of nature, a welcome global strategy for safeguarding nature and securing our common future.  To quote from the Irish Times, Ingar Andersen, director of UN Environmental program; “For far too long humanity … has destroyed the natural world on which we depend.  Now is our chance to shore up and strengthen the web of life so it can carry the full weight of generations to come”.  She also refers to the fact that measures taken for nature were measures to reduce poverty, to achieve the UN development goals and to improve human health.

As we reflect on and embrace the “hushed awareness” of nature during January 2023, let us grasp  the challenges for us as we “collaborate with other prophetic voices in responding to current global crisis” (Chapter Orientation 2020- Oneness for Mission p 2) and find collective actions to Care for our Common Home.

Athbhliain faoi shéan is faoi mhaise daoibh

Elizabeth Hartigan, RNDM