The Great Work (Thomas Berry 1914 - 2009)

Summary Thomas Berry: Our way into the future

"The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects."

Sadly Thomas Berry has just died, June 1st aged 94.

However his writing and life have inspired many.

He considered himself a cosmologist and 'geologian,' an Earth scholar.

May the Great Work continue!!

Photo of Thomas Berry

"Thomas Berry has through his writing, teaching and life, given us a sense of the Great Work that is before us. Out of a vast storehouse of knowledge of human cultures, history, science, and religion, and his own accumulated inner wisdom, Thomas has comprehended the meaning of our times at a critical juncture in human history and of the Earth as a whole. He has taught us where we are, who we are, how we got here, and where we are to go through viability, intimacy/community, and celebration. He has given us the promise of a new chapter in Earth's history, that of an Ecozoic Era.
This is Thomas Berry's Great Work!" (Herman Greene 2000)

From Obituary in Catholic Reporter June 1st 2009

Passionist priest and acclaimed cultural historian Thomas Berry died in Well-Spring Retirement Community, Greensboro N.C, at 6:25 a.m., today, June 1. He was 94. Berry was one the 20th-century's most probing thinkers on the human relationship with the natural world and its implications for religion.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, June 3, in Greensboro, N.C. for his family and the local community, then on Saturday, June 6, at the Passionist Monastery in Jamaica, N.Y at 11 a.m. A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated Monday, June 8, at 11 a.m. at the Green Mountain Monastery, in Greensboro , Vt. A more general and public service will be held at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City at a later date, sponsored by the Thomas Berry Foundation.

Fr. Thomas Berry, described in Newsweek magazine in 1989 as "the most provocative figure among the new breed of eco-theologians," was among the first to say the earth crisis is fundamentally a spiritual crisis. His diagnosis of the negative effects of our religious views on our treatment of the planet rang true for many who were willing and able to work for a cure. Many created their own earth ministries, inspired by the work and life of Fr. Thomas Berry.

Rather than a theologian, Berry considered himself a cosmologist and "geologian," an Earth scholar.

He believed the only way to effectively function as individuals and as a species is to understand the history and functioning of our planet and of the wide universe itself, like sailors learning about their ship and the vast ocean on which it sails. "It takes a universe to make a child," he said, adding that he was "trying to establish a functional cosmology, not a theology." The amazing, mind-boggling cosmological perspective, he felt, can resuscitate human meaning and direction. The most important spiritual qualities, for Berry, were amazement and enchantment. Awe is healing. A sense of wonder is the therapy for our disconnection from the natural world.