God Is in Everything

Learning to See: Everything Is Holy

God Is in Everything
Monday, May 25, 2015

Christ has something in common with all creatures. With the stone he shares existence, with the plants he shares life, with the animals he shares sensation, and with the angels he shares intelligence. Thus all things are transformed in Christ since in the fullness of his nature he embraces some part of every creature. –Bonaventure

There is no other teacher who takes the vision of Francis and Clare to the level of a total theology and philosophy, a fully symmetrical worldview, as well as Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, Italy (c. 1221-1274). As Paul did for Jesus, so Bonaventure did for Francis. Bonaventure’s vision is positive, mystic, cosmic, intimately relational, and largely concerned with cleaning the lens of our perception and our intention. With this awareness, we can see that God is with us in everything we experience in life and can be found in and through everything, even and often most especially our limits and our suffering (because in those states we long for meaning and purpose so desperately).

Bonaventure was profoundly Trinitarian in that his framework for reality was love itself—always and forever flowing, overflowing, and filling all things in one exclusively positive direction. He called the Trinitarian God a “fountain fullness” of love. Reality is always in process, and fully participatory; it is love itself, and not a mere Platonic world, an abstract idea, or a static, impersonal principle. God as Trinitarian Flow is the blueprint and pattern for all relationships and thus all of creation, which we now know from atoms, to circulatory systems, to ecosystems, and galaxies is exactly the case.

Bonaventure’s “vision logic,” as Ken Wilber would call it, and the lovely symmetry of his theology, can be summarized in what Bonaventure named the three great truths, phrased simply here:

Emanation—We come forth from God bearing the divine image; our very DNA is found in God.

Exemplarism—Everything, the entire chain or nest of being, is an example and illustration of the one God Mystery in space and time, by reason of its “origin, magnitude, multitude, beauty, plentitude, activity, and order.”

Consummation—We return to the Source from which we came; the Omega is the same as the Alpha, and this is God’s supreme and final victory.

Gateway to Silence:
“The world is in truth a holy place.” —Teilhard de Chardin

Adapted from Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, pp. 161, 163-166

Image credit: The Legend of St. Francis: 15. Sermon to the Birds (fresco detail), 1297-99, Giotto di Bondone, Upper Church, San Francesco, Assisi, Italy.