Nature as the First Bible
Every Creature Is a Word of God
Thursday, January 22, 2015
God brought things into being in order that his [sic] goodness might be communicated to creatures, and be represented by them; and because his goodness could not be adequately represented by one creature alone, he produced many and diverse creatures, that what was wanting to one in the representation of the divine goodness might be supplied by another. For goodness, which in God is simple and uniform, in creatures is manifold and divided. –Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, 47, 1
Each and every creature is a unique word of God, with its own message, its own metaphor, its own energetic style, its own way of showing forth goodness, beauty, and participation in the Great Mystery. Each creature has its own glow and its own unique glory. To be a contemplative is to be able to see each epiphany, to enjoy it, protect it, and draw upon it for the common good. (Some Sundays I am drawn to awe, prayer, and service by the Nature Channel much more than by the morning church service!)
Sister Ilia Delio, OSF, a speaker at some CAC conferences, writes in true Franciscan style: “The world is created as a means of God’s self-revelation so that, like a mirror or footprint, it might lead us to love and praise the Creator. We are created to read the book of creation so that we may know the Author of Life. This book of creation is an expression of who God is and is meant to lead humans to what it signifies, namely, the eternal Trinity of dynamic, self-diffusive love” (Christ in Evolution, p. 62).
Meister Eckhart, OP, says it even more succinctly: “Anyone who truly knows creatures may be excused from listening to sermons, for every creature is full of God, and is a book.” And that is from one who was a member of the Order of Preachers!
Gateway to Silence:
Let all the earth bless the Lord.
Adapted from “Every Creature Is a Word of God,” Radical Grace, Vol. 24, No. 2, Spring 2011, p. 3;