by Dr. Robbie Lloyd
Australia’s answer to Thomas Merton, the famous US Trappist monk hermit from Kentucky, has been working away in the Blue Mountains for years, bringing us wonderful writings on the spirit in our land, and how Aboriginal people can guide us into closer connection with our Mother Earth and God’s mysteries held within it.
Fr Eugene Stockton lives at Lawson on the Blue Mountains, but these days he stays right away from the public eye, after a very long career as serving as both a parish priest and an educator of priests. He also studied archaeology and was involved in “digs” in both the Middle East and Central Australian desert and all across the Blue Mountains.
Just as Thomas Merton did amazing relationship-building between Eastern Beliefs and Christianity, so Fr Eugene has given us rich mines of information to explore on Aboriginal culture, country and connection to place. The places where we all live now, but mostly know nothing about how to listen to them.
The Aboriginal Gift (order from the Blue Mountains Education & Research Trust, BMERT, 2015 www.bmert.org) is a great beginner’s guide to start listening to the spirit of the places where we live. Fr Eugene guides us into the way of opening to the “wonderful” gifts available to us, if we take the time to stop, wait and listen to the natural world.
No wonder he then went on the write Wonder: Away to God (order from BMERT 2018), which goes even deeper into the mystical wonders of life, similar to works by Teilhard de Chardin (who gets his own special Appendix in this book as well).
Both of these texts are great ammunition for those who may see the need to “go deeper” in your reflections on being members of this country, as we all enter the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney’s Reconciliation Action Plan journey over the coming years. To understand more about the wonderful culture and spirit that has thrived here for thousands of years, and continues to grow and develop, despite the setbacks since European arrival.
As we move to reconcile the mistakes made over the past 270+ years towards our First Peoples, Fr Eugene’s works are a great starting point to do our own inner research, and outer exploration of the wonders surrounding us.