Fifteenth Sunday Ordinary Time 2011 Reflections: Creation Awaits With Eager Expectations

Mass readings for this Sunday are here
My last year's reflections on the Gospel of the Sower are here

Second Reading: St Paul to the Romans 8: 18-23

Brothers and sisters:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed for us. 

For creation awaits with eager expectation
the revelation of the children of God;
for creation was made subject to futility,

not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it,
in hope that creation itself
would be set free from slavery to corruption
and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. 

We know that all creation is groaning in labour pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the first fruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.


On holiday we visited Mallorca's emblematic cathedral of La Seu in Palma, built between 1229 and 1346.

It lies on the top of a hill, above the city walls and the sea, a tribute to man and his Christian faith, which is expressed in the magnificent beauty of its architecture.

The photos I took that day were stored away until today when I read the second reading from the scriptures for this Sunday and then they came to life.

The people who built this cathedral had a revelation of God that gave them a particular vision to create and give witness to the fruits of their faith and trust.

Over three hundred years the soaring towers evolved with dizzying heights of hope that stretched and groaned through the toil and sweat as they tried to build a lasting testament of their belief in God.

Inside, lights bursts through the darkness of the interior via the numerous beautiful stained glass windows. 


The side chapel in the cathedral is mesmerising. 
A vast ceramic mural has been recently installed by Miquel Barceló - the most renowned contemporary artist in Mallorca. 

The experience is like being immersed in a subterranean church teeming with aquatic life.

 From Richard Rohr:

You were created in the image and likeness of God.
This dignity from God is never taken back from God’s side.
It’s an eternal covenant.
When you say that you believe in Jesus Christ,
you include absolutely everything, including yourself. 

If there is one God, then we are living in a wonderful time where many
disciplines of knowledge are revealing very similar patterns. 
We are reminded that the material and spiritual worlds
are part of the same universal reality.

Either you see the Body of Christ everywhere or you don’t see it at all. There are finally no divisions, except in our ability to see.  This is a mystical and non-dualistic seeing that connects everything to everything. “There is one God from whom all things come and toward which we all go” as St. Paul puts it.
God is perfectly hidden in this material world. And for those who have learned how to see, God is even more perfectly revealed. God shines through all things.  You want to kiss trees and honour whatever is, even though you know most will mock or misunderstand.
Richard Rohr, adapted from the CD Creating Christian Community
Rohr has been accused of  pantheism—imagining that God and the universe are really the same thing—or animism—imagining that inanimate objects have souls, and so are maybe worthy of worship in and for themselves.
But Rohr is misunderstood : perhaps the Ignatian meaning Seeking God in All things and all that is points us to God is nearer what he means.

All that God has made is holy.
And if that is the case, how might we relate to creation when we see its beauty hurt, it's hope and potential to flourish denied, crushed, defiled and broken by our own human hands and words?

I wonder what and where are the seeds we sow these days ?

 Desmond Tutu says
"Many of us perhaps need to have our notion of God deepened and expanded.
It is often said, half in jest, that God created man in his own image and man has returned the compliment, saddling God with his own narrow prejudices and exclusivity, foibles and temperamental quirks. 

God remains God, whether God has believers or not”
Bishop Tutu then reminds us :”We are supposed to proclaim the God of love, but we have been guilty as Christians of sowing hatred and suspicion; we commend the one whom we call the Prince of Peace, and yet as Christians we have fought more wars than we care to remember.

We have claimed to be a fellowship of compassion and caring and sharing, but as Christians we often sanctify sociopolitical systems that belie this, where the rich grow ever richer and the poor grow ever poorer,
where we seem to sanctify a furious competitiveness, ruthless as can only be appropriate to the jungle

So many times these days I wonder about the lack of life in the church and how deadening is the atmosphere that has been created by division , abuse of power and distrust. 

So many times we hear the same message but fail to change our hearts.
I'll have to resort to poetry !!

In a Country Once Forested

 A young woodland remembers
the old, a dreamer dreaming

of an old holy book,
an old set of instructions,

and the soil under the grass
is dreaming of a young forest,

and under the pavement the soil
is dreaming of grass.

Wendell Berry

Civilisation and Its Discontents

How much of the great poetry
of solitude in the woods is one
long cadenza on the sadness

of civilisation, and how much
thought on beaches,
between drowsing
and sleep, along the borders, 

between one place and another,
as if such poise were home to us?
On the far side of these woods, stew

gealtinous fromn cracked lamb shanks,
is being ladled into bowls,and
a family scuffs its chairs close

to an inherited table.
Maybe there's wine, maybe not.  We don't
know because our thoughts are with

the great sad soul in the woods again.
we suppose that even now
some poignant speck of litter 

borne by the river of psychic murmur
has been grafted by the brooding soul
to a beloved piece of music,

and that from the general plaint
a shape is about to be made, though
maybe not: we can't see into 

the soul the way we can into
that cottage where now they're done with food
until next meal. Here's what I think:

the soul in the woods is not alone.
All he came there to leave behind
is in him, like a garrison

in a conquered city. When he goes
back to it, and goes gratefully
because it's nearly time for dinner,

he will be entering himself
though when he faced the woods,
from the road, that's what he thought then, too.

William Matthews

                                                          St Francis Canticle of Creation

One of my favourite poets David Whyte reading the well known and loved poem Beannacht by his friend and the now sadly deceased John O'Donohue.

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