Sunday, October 10, 2021
Praise the Lord from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling God’s word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For God’s name alone is exalted;
God’s glory is above earth and heaven.
—Psalm 148: 7–10, 13
This week’s Daily Meditations focus on creation as a source of inspiration for contemplation and action. Fr. Richard shares about how “seeing” or perceiving God in nature forms the basis of an incarnational spirituality:
Creation spirituality has its origins in Hebrew Scriptures such as Psalms 104 and 148. It is a spirituality that is rooted, first of all, in nature, in experience, and in the world as it is. This rich Hebrew spirituality formed the mind and heart of Jesus of Nazareth.
Maybe we don’t feel the impact of that until we realize how many people think religion has to do with ideas and concepts and formulas from books. That’s how we were trained for years. We went away, not into a world of nature and silence and primal relationships, but into a world of books. Well, that’s not biblical spirituality, and that’s not where religion begins. It begins in observing “what is.” Paul says, “Ever since the creation of the world, the invisible essence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind’s understanding of created things” (Romans 1:20). We know God through the things that God has made. The first foundation of any true religious seeing is, quite simply, learning how to see and love what is. Contemplation is meeting reality in its most simple and direct form unjudged, unexplained, and uncontrolled!
If we don’t know how to love what’s right in front of us, then we don’t know how to see what is. So we must start with a stone! We move from the stone to the plant world and learn how to appreciate growing things and see God in them. In all of the natural world, we see the vestigia Dei, which means the fingerprints or footprints of God.
Perhaps once we can see God in plants and animals, we might learn to see God in our neighbors. And then we might learn to love the world. And then when all of that loving has taken place, when all of that seeing has happened, when such people come to me and tell me they love Jesus, I’ll believe it! They’re capable of loving Jesus. The soul is prepared. The soul is freed, and it’s learned how to see and how to receive and how to move in and how to move out from itself. Such individuals might well understand how to love God.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Christianity and the Creation: A Franciscan Speaks to Franciscans,” in Embracing Earth: Catholic Approaches to Ecology, ed. Albert J. LaChance and John E. Carroll (Orbis Books: 1994), 130–131.
Story from Our Community:
As a small child I was fascinated by the creation stories. My family was blessed to live in many different places and to know different people and cultures. I learned early on that, while there is so very much good and beauty in the world, there is also pain, poverty and heartbreak. I know these are not what God wants, not my God or anyone’s God. —Shirley S.
Learn more about the Daily Meditations Editorial Team.
Image Credit: Barbara Holmes, Untitled 2 (detail), 2021, photograph, United States.
The creative team at CAC sent a single-use camera to Dr. B as part of an exploration into contemplative photography and she returned this wonderful photo.
Image Inspiration: These bright flowers are striking in contrast to the muted tones of the bush from which they come. Their beauty grabs for our attention as an invitation to lose ourselves in this present moment.