Nature: Week 2
We either honor God in all things or we soon lose the basis for seeing God in anything. (Sunday)
Bonaventure saw all things as likenesses of God, fingerprints and footprints (vestigia Dei) that reveal the divine DNA underlying all living links in creation. (Monday)
Creation itself—not ritual or spaces constructed by human hands—was Francis’ primary cathedral. Good ritual, like art, merely imitates nature. (Tuesday)
Nature itself is the primary Bible. As Paul says in Romans 1:20, “What can be known about God is perfectly plain, for God has made it plain. Ever since God created the world, God’s everlasting power and deity is there for the mind to see in all the things that God has created.” (Wednesday)
From the beginning of the Bible to the end, it is clear that a loving God includes all of creation in God’s Kingdom. (Thursday)
“We are summoned to become fully human. We must mature into people who are, first and foremost, citizens of Earth and residents of the universe, and our identity and core values must be recast accordingly.” —Bill Plotkin (Friday)
Practice: Staying Grounded
There are lists upon lists of things you can do to help the environment. I’m sure you’ve read and perhaps tried many of them: reducing, reusing, recycling; walking, biking, or taking public transportation; using less water and energy; eating less meat. I hope you’ll continue to find ways to live more simply as an individual and in community, and that you’ll encourage your church and government to protect the environment.
As you do this vital work, you may be discouraged and disheartened to see progress come slowly or seemingly not at all. You may be tempted to give up or to give in to easy excess. You may feel hate toward the “enemy” that is destroying creation.
I suggest three practices to keep you grounded, loving, and hopeful:
Stay close to nature. Reconnect with creatures and plants, whether in an animal shelter, your garden, a city park, or the wilderness. Actually touch the living soil with your bare hands and feet. Feel the breeze and listen to the birds.
Lament the suffering and loss you see. Let yourself truly grieve for extinct species, for people touched by hurricanes, famine, and disease. Cry and wail aloud. Beat a drum. Tear a piece of cloth. Create and bury a litany of loss.
Celebrate the beauty and mystery of our universe. Write a poem, chant a psalm, paint a picture. Say thanks for the abundance of air, water, food, and shelter you receive every day. Praise the Creator who is gradually bringing all of creation to fullness and wholeness, through your participation.
Gateway to Silence:
Praised be You, my Lord, through all your creatures. —Francis of Assisi
For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, A New Cosmology: Nature as the First Bible (2009), CD, MP3 download
Richard Rohr, In the Footsteps of Francis: Awakening to Creation (2010) CD, MP3 download
Richard Rohr and Bill Plotkin, Soul Centering through Nature: Becoming a True Human Adult (2012), CD, MP3 download
Richard Rohr, The Soul, the Natural World, and What Is (2009) MP3 download