Creators are mirrored in their creations, A song reflects the composer; a painter, the artist; a book the author. In the same way the universe, the masterpiece of the supreme Creator, reveals God. Its variety, its intricacy, and its magnitude attest to God’s wisdom and power. Every created thing is an epiphany, echoing some aspect of the divine Being.
To behold a snow-topped mountain, its massive rocky slopes jutting boldly into the sky, is to know God’s majesty. To sit at the foot of a waterfall and watch its refreshing rush of water cascade into a clear, deep pool is to see God’s purity. To stroll through woods of lovely ferns, mosses, and lofty trees is to be enveloped with the peace and serenity of God. The fragile daisy and its velvety white petals and bright yellow center tells of the Creator’s gentleness, while the shimmering, iridescent rainbow arched across purple-gray clouds bespeaks his beauty. A newborn baby is evidence of God’s tenderness. Fire is a reminder of the energy of God’s love. A monkey shows God’s sense of humor and a giraffe, his unpredictability.
The psalmist is attuned to the speechless voices of the universe. He sings of the stars (Psalm 19:1–4):
The heavens declare the glory of God,
the vault of heaven proclaimed his handiwork;
day discourses of it to day,
night to night hands on the knowledge.
No utterance at all, no speech,
no sound that anyone can hear;
yet their voice goes out to the ends of the world.
In the same tradition, St. Francis of Assisi, the lover of nature, exclaims in his “Canticle of the Sun”:
Praise be to Thee, my Lord, with all Thy creatures
Especially to my brother sun
Who brings us the day and through him thou dost brightness give;
And beautiful is he and radiant with splendor great.
Of thee, Most High, he speaks.
More recently, in the writings of the French theologian and philosopher, Teilhard de Chardin, the notion of creation manifesting the Creator is a mighty refrain, especially in The Divine Milieu: “…the great mystery of Christianity is not exactly the appearance, but the transparence, of God in the Universe.”
The universe resounds with the glory of God.
When the Word became flesh and lived with us among color, roughness, scent, and warmth, the Son of God reveled in the things of earth, the handiwork of the Father. Jesus saw that they were good, so good that he redeemed them along with us at the price of his life Furthermore, he assigned them prominent roles in the act of redemption. During his public life, Jesus used concrete objects to teach. His audiovisuals were the birds of the air, the bread women baked, the Temple in Jerusalem, and the roadside fig tree. Today, from the dimension where he dwells, he reaches out in the sacraments and touches us with things: water, bread, wine, and oil. Matter has been christened by his presence.
Which piece of creation speaks to you? What does it say?