Why the ‘Earth Limb’ Insights?
The earth limb is a very special view of earth and the cosmos. It is a view from space looking sideways across earth so that you can see the cloudy surface, the beautiful bands of blue that make up the zone of life, the moon and the dark wonder of the open cosmos. So in one place you can contemplate the planet, the zone of life and the universe. This is a sacred place for Christians because, as Ignatius would have us imagine, from such a place the Trinity, Creator, Jesus and Spirit, looked over the earth with love and concern, and decided to send the Son Jesus to become human and bring new life to all. This intimate and deeply committed presence continues today.
Jesus spoke of this new life as the Kingdom of God, modern theologians speak of the Reign of God, which Christians understand as the in-breaking desire and action of the Trinity to bring change to the hungery, poor, imprisoned, deadened, disillusioned and lost – to proclaim eternal life for all. It also invited a new understanding and reverence for all creation on earth and throughout the universe. The FSE is a ministry that anyone can use to bring about these very changes for people, to be a co-worker with Jesus, to bring inner peace, help others, commune with creation and enjoy a full life.
The problem today with the image ‘Kingdom of God’ is that it evokes images of Kings and Kingdoms in unhelpful ways. So we need a new way to image the arena and activity of the Trinity. We suggest the ‘Earth Limb’ as a place that brings all people, life and the cosmos into one view, and thus a great place to give the work of the FSE it’s best perspective. From here, no matter how lowly or humble or small local FSE retreats or exercises are, they reveal their part in the great vision of the Trinity’s desire and love. As a Giver, Receiver or Mentor, you are a part of this foundational vision. How do you feel about that?
In his contemplation on the love of God, Ignatius invites us to consider all the gifts we have received as coming down upon us from God ‘like the sun’s rays’. Early believers spoke of God as the ‘Father of Lights’. The beauty of what we see at the earth’s limb is only revealed because all is bathed in a light that gives life.
There is another beautiful resonance in the earth’s “limb” and body. Medieval mappa mundi maps showed the earth as the body of Christ, showing his head, hands and feet emerging from his body the earth and all its peoples. The FSE has retreats and exercises that suggest we belong to the one body of Christ, that we are parts of that body and that creation itself is sacred.