PILGRIMAGE AND NATURE SPIRITUALITY

brother_Mani_Mekkunnel_SG_NMontfort was a pilgrim and he always undertook pilgrimages and visited places of divine manifestations. The Calvary he made was noted for the hill and not so much for the images he placed. The objection of the government also was for the hill. The mountains of Lourdes will speak volumes for those who listen. Apparition is not an ‘event of history’ but a ‘phenomenon of life.’
As you explore the new lands and landscapes the spiritual depth and enlightenment are important for a pilgrim.
The following 6 point reflection is part of Montfortian Education content and value. Fr. Tom sj who was the Chairman of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) articulates them well in his recent book: “ A New Way of Being School”.
1. Nature presents a highly organic unity of structure and functions, a miracle of networking. It demonstrates the miracle of Integration. While remaining fully involved, the many processes and products result without fanfare, often in silence, and are effected through close collaboration and exchange and sharing of resources. Thus Nature mirrors so well the face of God.
2. In spite of such diversity and complexity of its processes, Nature remains simple. In all this flurry of activities, processes and products, there is naturalness, an effortless ease that is truly mysterious. Even in the face of serious adversities, it shows remarkable powers of resilience, apparently without tension.
3. Nature possesses great power and immensity. Think of the sea, the wind, the great mountains, the solar system etc. Yet Nature also remains humble.
4. Nature is a very good and continuous learner. Sensitive to the constant challenge for survival in the face of such rapid changes, it readily adapts, adopts, renews and re-creates. Even a casual contemplation of Nature makes us realize that it has a mission.IMG-20160421-WA0011
5. Nature is prodigal in its gifts, in terms of both giving and receiving. It does not hide any of its many secrets but like an open book, it makes itself available to learn from and to be made use of. Nature is so transparent, so honest, so generous. Nature does not charge us for its innumerable gifts and services, giving us these free. It repeatedly demonstrates its ability to give without counting the cost and shows the amazing quality of abundance.
6. What is the secret, that magical formula that Nature uses to achieve the highest levels of performance, of efficiency combined with effectiveness? Nature is a marvellous example of synergy and interdependence.
We humans are the stewards of Nature, not its boss. We recognize that we are but part of Nature, albeit only a small part. But we humans are nevertheless a significant part of that universe because we have the four unique endowments of Self-Awareness, Conscience, Creative Imagination and Power of Choice.
By reflecting deeply on the principles enumerated above, we will discover how to respond effectively. Since, like Nature, we mirror God so profoundly, the invitation is to pattern our being and acting on that model. God is the ultimate model of synergy and relationship.
There is so much to learn from Nature as to how to cope with the many real demands from life:
 To learn to do the very best we can and then to Let Go of those several aspects that we cannot hold in our control.
 To maintain our naturalness and integrity, without masks, without pretence, without showmanship.
 In spite of the power and position we enjoy, to remain humble and unassuming, as Nature does, though it has such awesome power; the wise perception of our ancient seers: “Look how the trees grow. They make no noise.”
 To be courageous in decisions and still remain linked to others;
 From Nature we too can learn to give and to receive. Both are difficult but both contribute equally to our peace and well-being. Only when we abuse Nature do we incur the consequences, breaking ourselves against it, as we deal with a force greater than us. The invitation and challenge is for us to discover ways to remain in tune and in harmony with one another and with these natural principles rather than become a competitor or worse still, try and become a conqueror.
 Learning from Nature, from contemplation its miracle of synergy and networking, in seemingly effortless and quite pursuit, we are challenged to new ways of being and becoming fully human, truly alive and thus so like God. Which quality in Nature makes it both efficient and effective? Which quality do we, as humans, stand most in need of learning from Nature?

Bro. Mani Mekkunnel
Secretary, Montfortian Education Foundation
22 April 2016