“The Heavens Proclaim the Glory of God”
The first reading today from the Book of Wisdom is as poignant and relevant today as it was when it was written centuries ago, full of amazement regarding human inability to recognize the Creator even though one recognizes goodness, beauty and power in creation. How can we behold the beauty of a sunrise or see the countryside ablaze with the colors of autumn and not recognize the artist? How can we view the vast star studded sky at night and not speculate about the infinite space of God? Or experience the power of wind and water and not marvel at the energy of the one who created it?
St Augustine, in Confessions,
writes of his deep regret at spending so much of his life seeking the beauty of created things rather than seeking the Creator of beauty. His words come to life in the words of this contemporary hymn, O Beauty, Ever Ancient
, by Roc O’Connor, S.J.:
This created world is glorious,
Yet I could not see within,
See your loveliness behind all,
Find the Giver in the gift.
O Beauty, ever ancient,
O Beauty ever new:
You, the mirror of my life renewed,
Let me find my life in you!
How can we understand and explain so much about our created world, and still not find God? St. Ignatius gives us guidance in the First Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises:
All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created.
What is the ‘end’ for which we are created? We are made “for the Glory of God.” St Iraneus, a second century Christian, is often quoted as saying “The glory of God is the human person fully alive!” In the Gospel of John (10:10) Jesus says “I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly!”
Today’s readings are an invitation to take time to reflect on our interaction and involvement with all of creation. Is this (activity, person, thing, commitment, pursuit, etc.) leading towards, or away from, greater life, faith, love, service, compassion, wholeness, holiness, etc.? Do we recognize the Giver IN the gift? Might we even come to see that the Giver IS the Gift?