The Heart at the Heart of the World: Re-visioning the Sacred Heart for the Ecozoic Era
By: Mary Frohlich
Ecology & Justice Series
“Drawing on a wide range of contemporary ecological thinkers, Mary Frohlich interprets the devotional tradition of the Sacred Heart in a way that invites us to reimagine the human relationship with the more-than-human world. In a lively and accessible work, she invites us to open our hearts to the heart of the Earth.”—Timothy Robinson, associate professor of spirituality, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University
“Undergirding the pages of this work is an impassioned cry, shared by so many today, on behalf of the critically imperiled earth. Strikingly, it is the Catholic devotional tradition of the Sacred Heart that for Frohlich provides a possible contemporary voicing of that cry. Dipping down into the emotive power of devotional imagery she finds a practice suited to the present age: to have our hearts pierced in anguish to become a place of true refuge for our human and more-than-human kin.”—Wendy M. Wright, author, Sacred Heart: Gateway to God
“A joyfully creative stimulus to further thought and necessary world-saving action.”—Elisabeth Koenig, PhD, professor of ascetical theology emerita, General Theological Seminary, NYC
“A brilliant heart-centered, intellectually-stimulating integration of unlikely themes.”—Margaret Benefiel, author, Crisis Leadership and The Soul of Higher Education
“Mary Frohlich has written a book full of marvels, a book truly from her heart.”—Rachel Joy Wheeler, PhD, secretary, Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality
“An amazing, powerful book that invites us to reclaim our own deep capacity for knowing, loving, and caring for the world, while creatively reimagining the classic Christian idea of the Sacred Heart as a vital source of spiritual renewal in this time of environmental crisis. It also challenges us to go deeper in our response to that crisis. This is a profoundly encouraging work.”—Douglas E. Christie, PhD, Loyola Marymount University
Traditional forms of devotion to the Sacred Heart, also known as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have waned among Catholics in recent decades. Here, Mary Frohlich, a sister of the Sacred Heart, seeks to reinterpret this traditional devotion as central to Christian spirituality in the 21st century. Facing our impending ecological disaster she sets out to discover the Heart of God as truly the heart of all creation.
Drawing upon recent theologies that have embraced the “new animism” that regards every being including humans as a node in webs of living relationality, this book chooses twelve themes relevant to the concerns and needs of today’s world and explores what story of the Heart of God may be told in relation to each one.
Mary Frohlich, RSCJ, a noted scholar of Carmelite spirituality, taught at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago from 1993 to 2020. A former president of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, she is editor of Saint Therese of Lisieux: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters Series) and author of Breathed into Wholeness: Catholicity and Life in the Spirit (both from Orbis).
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