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Readings for Today

Statue of St. Francis of Assisi, Sorrento Photo Credit: Chris Parker//flickr

Statue of St. Francis of Assisi, Sorrento Photo Credit: Chris Parker//flickr

In today’s Gospel we come upon a chaotic scene.

Jesus has just told a crowd gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles that he is the revelation of God, the living water for those who thirst. “Never before,” remarked the temple guards to the chief priests and Pharisees, “has anyone spoken like this man.” The people who see and hear Jesus are confronted by the truth. Division and confusion ensue. Each of them, now, is faced with the question, “Is Jesus the revelation of God [the Messiah] or not?”

We, too, as people of faith, are confronted by the question, “Is Jesus the revelation of God?” And, if so, how does Jesus reveal himself? For Sr. Ilia Delio, OSF, a Franciscan nun and scientist, Jesus is found in the ecological environment which is our evolutionary universe. In other words, Jesus, as the revelation of God, is found in the natural world, in the creation God brought into being. St. Francis experienced this and believed that the love of Jesus was revealed in everything that God created. Sr. Ilia writes, “The world became Francis’ cloister because he found it to be permeated with the goodness of God.” And in that goodness, that love, found in our divinely created environment, Jesus is revealed.

Reflection Questions:

  • In what natural environment do you find the revelation of God?
  • Sr. Ilia writes, “The God of evolution is the God of adventure, the God who loves to do new things and is always new.” God’s revelations are always new. Where will you look for them?

Liza Apper, Obl.OSB is director of the St. Benedict Catholic Worker in Fresno, CA. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Creighton University and a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University New Orleans.

3 replies
  1. Avatar
    Frank OBrien says:

    It seems ok to say we learn of God through His creation, like we learn something about an artist when we see his brush strokes, whether he is kind or harsh. But to see his work as synonymous with himself is going too far.we really downgrade God when we say He is His creation, the same as He is.
    We do the ecological movement a disservice by such hyperbole. Isn’t the world good enough by itself so that we have to claim it’s also God before we care about it?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Liza Apper, OblOSB says:

      This reflection piece is not about pantheism ( i.e.”God is a tree.”). The reflection talsk about God revealing himself through the natural world. St. Francis did not worship trees. St. Francis helped the people of God understand that all that God created is good and that the glory of God is revealed through nature. Read St. Francis’ “Canticle of the Sun” and you will discover the reverance and relationship Francis had with the natural world, calling God’s creatures and creation (water, fire, etc.) his brothers and sisters. St. Francis did not call them God. He felt that God was revealed through them. Most Christian theologians, whose area of study is environmental spirituality, believe that if we are to be good stewards of the earth we must develop a relationship with the earth. A relationship that that sees and believes that all of creation is sacred and that this created world that we are a part of is the revelation of God. The first time I saw Yosemite Valley, my soul echoed what John Muir, mountaineer, scientist and Christian wrote upon his encounter decades before me, “It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter. It must be the sanctum sanctorum of the Sierras.” “Sanctum sanctorum,” “the holy of holies” is what John Muir called Yosemite Valley. He did not say it was God. Like St. Francis, Muir saw the revealtion of God in Nature. Can we do no less?

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    Lorraine says:

    How could I miss what was right in front of me, below me, above me, to the right of me, to the left etc.
    God’s creation is all around me and is “good”. When this way of seeing occurs, it is no longer business as usual in regard to daily choices that I make and advocate for in community.

    Reply

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