|Memorial of St. Agatha, virgin
Psalms 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 24, 35
Today we begin reading the Book of Genesis; Genesis opens with the account of the seven days of creation. Throughout the seven days God speaks a word and the corresponding reality comes into being. On the first day God separates light from darkness, "Then God said, "Let there be light, and there was light." And at the end of each day God stands back and reflects, "And God saw how good it was."
The responsorial psalm takes up the theme of glorifying God for the beauty and might of creation, "Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are great indeed! You fixed the earth upon its foundations, not to be moved forever. How manifold are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you have wrought them all." Each aspect of creation is for the psalmist a "signal of transcendence" occasioning praise of the Creator.
Throughout Christian history hearts have been moved spontaneously to praise God not merely for the gift of redemption in Jesus Christ but also for the gift of creation. "How Great Thou Art," perhaps the most loved Christian hymn, opens, surprisingly, not with praise to God for redemption but with praise to God for creation:
O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonderSadly for many of us today creation is no longer a "signal of transcendence" drawing our hearts to praise its Creator, but merely a source of raw materials to be manipulated by technology to enhance material convenience and comfort. We have desacramentalized creation! The creation story in Genesis reminds us to look again -- joining the psalmist and our ancestors -- considering in awesome wonder this world God's hands have made.
It is now snowing gently. I will bless the Lord for the gift
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