by Elaine Prevallet, SL
Reviewed by: Con Kelly
Though an avid sports fan, I refuse to tape “big games” for viewing at a later date. It’s old news. Rarely do I watch a movie for a second time and never by choice. A book once read is read—except for this one that I am currently re-reading a third time. “Making the Shift: Seeing Faith Through A New Lens” is, I believe, a book written for Concerned Catholics of Montana.
Well…not exactly. First of all, it is more a booklet than a book—just some eighty pages. And it was written some ten years before Concerned Catholics of Montana came into existence, written by a religious woman who is one year behind me in age but light years ahead of me in making the shift. It is a small book that was of immense help to me in making the shift.
The shift, of course, refers to the global shift in consciousness, the transition so many people are making as our cultural consciousness expands to embrace Big Bang, millions of galaxies about which we know nothing, the story of the evolution of our planet, the work of physics which sees the whole of reality in constant flux and of efforts to bring our theology/spirituality into sync with this new and enlarged framework.
Let’s face it, for many of us, given our age, our history, and our education, attempts to make this shift have been difficult, if not scary. Traditional theology and piety are part of our DNA. We have lived for so long and with such dedication within the closed system that is the church of our birth, the fresh air that open-system thinking affords leaves each of us a bit breathless at times.
It is for this reason that I strongly recommend to your reading “Making the Shift”. It is Sr. Elaine’s thoughtful and confident description of her own personal shift and all that it entailed: steps in her psychological development from magic and mystical thinking to what she calls a vision/logic level: her fears–the immensity of the task and her alliegence to her church that seems resistent to change of any sort; an inventory of her life (religious) experiences that hinted at something that caused her to reach for words like God and a notion of creation; and finally, living through sea changes of the 1960′s culture–the hopes and excitement of Vatican II, her introduction to Teilhard de Chardin, depth psychology, evolution pointing to the interconnectedness of all things and our planet beginning to show recognizeable signs of deteriorization.
It is against this background that she details how her awareness of an evolutionary universe impacts ever-developing awareness of God and what we can learn about God from the way creation works. She tells us how the role of the life and message of Jesus have changed in the course of her life. She speaks of prayer as “aligning our energies with the death/life/death cycle of creation with God as its Source”.
“Making The Shift” is theology/spirituality 101 for members of Concerned Catholics of Montana. It is a wonderful read in and of itself. It is also a invaluable preperation for forthcoming events like the recently announced retreat with Michael Morewood.
Copies are available for a reasonable rate from:
Knobs Haven Retreat Center
515 Nerinx Road
Nerinx, KY 40049
(multiple copies for a reduced rate are also available)