Flash

" A COSMIC LITURGICAL PERSPECTIVE" 06/27/11

Richard Karban, professor at the UC Davis department of Entomology, believes that plants can communicate with each other, “by transmitting chemical messages through the air, thus sending warning signals about hungry predators, like grasshoppers and caterpillars.”  Ecology Letters, July 2009Science Daily, June 20, 2009.

 

This scientific discovery, would not be a surprise to the Psalmist who wrote, “Let the heavens be glad and rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!  Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes forth to rule the earth.”  Psalm 96:11-13, “Praise him, sun and moon…lighting and hail…animals wild and tame, you creatures that crawl and fly.”  Psalm 148: 3-10.

 

Israel, God’s chosen and anointed people, had an a spiritual, an inspired sense, that all of God’s creation praise him, from the stars, to the plants, to the animals, to the people, all of God’s creation, in the majesty of the fact that they were created by God, praise God as his handiwork. The bible reveals that everything God created, was seen as good, “God saw how good it was,” Genesis 1:4;10;12;18, and that to his final creation, us, God has given dominion over all other creatures and creation, “Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things  that move on earth,”  Genesis 1: 28-31.

 

In the second story of creation in Genesis, and yes there are two, the Word reveals that God has asked us to care for the world, all the good that he has created, as if it were a garden, a perfect garden, “The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.”  Genesis 2:15.  The Word reveals that God has made you and I stewards of all this majesty, and as stewards of God’s creations, we want to protect and embrace this beauty and these treasures God has bestowed upon us, we want to respect and pass on to the next generation, all God has created, this is God’s plan.

 

One way for us as believers to embrace the truth that we are the stewards of all God has created, is to begin to understand and adapt into our daily lives of praise, and especially into our Christian imagination, a cosmic “liturgical” perspective as reflected by St Paul and the Psalmist. What that means is this: in Romans chapter one, Paul tells the Church that the pagans have no excuse for not knowing the existence of God because his creation speaks and reveals the truth of his existence, “For what can be known about God is evident to them.  Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.”  Romans 1:19-20.  Beautiful.

 

Do not miss this.  What the Word reveals to the entire world is that no one, including the pagans, has any excuse for not knowing the power and existence of the one true God. They can know his majesty and existence, by the majesty and existence of what surrounds them.   No reasonable person would simply assume that the universe was created by a “Big Bang” as some scientists have theorized, no, using the divine gift of reason, it is reasonable to believe that theory is wrong based on the fact that usually when things blow up, life is destroyed not created.

 

In my mind, unscientifically trained as it may be, it is unreasonable to think that the perfection of the universe and everything in it is an accident, something that evolved over time, without plan, purpose, or creator. I am not a scientist, but I love the gift of reason that God has given every human being and using this divine gift, I would ask all scientists who believe in the creation of the universe through a “big bang,” this question, “Where did the energy/matter/atoms/molecules, whatever you say was in the “bang,” come from?

 

To bang, something has to blow up, where did that “something” come from?  Are you saying matter created itself and then blew itself into the perfection we live in today, with flowers, hummingbirds, trees, animals, etc.?  There is no reason in that thought, because you as a scientist still have not accounted for how the initial matter, that which led to the bang and the ensuing creation was created.   Go deeper, be honest, who made the matter the energy contained in the “big bang?”  There is only one answer, and the answer is God, who then used this energy to create the majesty we live in today.

 

It is important to note that there are many scientifically trained minds who also agree that the “Big Bang” theory does not follow sound logic and reason.  For example, in his book “The Language of God,” renowned scientist and leader of the Human Genome Project, Dr. Francis S. Collins says, “The Big Bang cries out for a divine explanation.  It forces the conclusion that nature had a defined beginning.  I cannot see how nature could have created itself.  Only a supernatural force that is outside of space and time could have done that.”  Francis S Collins, The Language of God, p. 67.

 

Yes, the stars, the moon, the sun, the oceans and everything in them, have a divine creator, they are not random, they are part of a plan, God’s plan.  Yes, the earth with all it’s birds and animals, seasons and surprises, atoms and gravity, the amazing symbiotic relationships that exist in nature, the human mind, body, soul, and spirit, are all so amazingly perfect, in tune with one another, they cannot be “accidental” and by their very existence, they praise, reflect, and point to a plan and a divine creator, this is our faith and this is what the bible and St. Paul are revealing..

 

Every Sunday when you and I go to worship Jesus Christ to thank, praise, and worship him for all our blessing and for the gift of salvation by dying got our sins, we attend what the Church often refers to as liturgy; more popularly known as the Mass.  Vatican II says these important things about the liturgy: “From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the Priest, and of his Body, which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all othersIn the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy (realized eschatology) which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem.”  Vatican Council II, The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, #7

and  #8.  Awesome, sacred, true and no longer boring for those who live in the Spirit!!!

 

Liturgy is the translation of the Greek word leitourgia, originally meaning service/ministry, as to serve someone.  The best understanding of what liturgy means, I received from the teachings of a holy and dedicated servant of God, Fr. Charles Miller, who said the liturgy is the “work of the people.”  St. Paul sees a cosmic liturgy, in that he can see God revealed in all that he has created, and therefore, just like in our Sunday liturgy, where we praise and worship Jesus our Savior and creator, in their beauty and existence, all creation does the same.

 

What the Word reveals through St. Paul is that St. Paul has a cosmic liturgical perspective, meaning that just like in our Sunday liturgy, where we thank, praise, and worship Jesus Christ, St. Paul himself lived and believed that at every moment of our lives there is a liturgy going on, a cosmic liturgy, a praise, thanks, and a pointing to God as Lord and Creator, because everything God has created, every oak tree, every elephant, every star, every drop of morning dew, every eagle, every ray of sunshine, every dolphin, every person, everything and everyone, by virtue of being created by God, is praising him and proclaiming his existence and glory, yes, in their beauty and life, they sing to the world God’s praises, and rejoice in him as their Creator.  Amen to the Blood.

 

Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, reveals that the Word of God proclaims to the world that the entire universe is involved in and changed by the Cross of Jesus, namely the death and resurrection of the Father’s Lamb: “The Synoptic Gospels explicitly portray Jesus’ death on the Cross as a cosmic and liturgical event: the sun is darkened, the veil of the Temple is torn in two, the earth quakes, the dead rise again.”  Jesus of Nazareth II, p. 224.  Thank you Papa.

 

So whether a person knows God or not, by being God’s creation, by being alive, the beauty of their personhood, praises and glorifies God, their Creator.  Even atheist and agnostics praise God in their very being and presence in the world, God is like, “So you do not believe in me, you do not think my existence can be proved, well go deeper into that beautiful mind I created you with, study, think, write, and soon you will learn the truth,  your very existence proves mine.”  Yes, within this cosmic liturgical understanding, even the atheist and agnostic unknowingly sing the praises of God.

 

We see this again from the Psalmist, who in Psalm 148 commands all of God’s creation to praise God, “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. He established them forever and ever, he gave them a duty which shall not pass away.  Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all depths.  Fire and hail, snow and mist, storm winds that fulfill his word.  You mountains and all you hills, you fruit trees and all you cedars, you wild beasts and all tame animals, you creeping things and you winged fowl.”  Psalm 148:6-10.

 

Notice the psalmist reveals that creation has a duty to praise God in her magnificence. This means that you and I also have a duty as God’s beloved children to always thank and praise him and also as stewards of God’s magnificent creation, to care for our oceans, rivers, forests, plant and animal life, so they can continue to praise God, by virtue of their being created by him.  Pollution, deforestation, chemicals, and waste poured into our rivers, streams, and oceans, does not reflect that we are taking our responsibility as stewards to heart but rather that we as listening to the “selfish,” “money first,” “I, me, mine,” voice that dominated our lives before metanoia, and continues to dominate many of the hearts and minds in today’s world.

 

Think about what God’s creation is revealing to us as stewards, as we continue to watch our frogs and fish mutating into these strange and unsightly creatures because of the chemicals and pollution they live in.  As we watch polar bears facing starvation because of the eroding ice caps, rains forests disappearing, extinction of species and fauna, rising sea levels, the list goes on and on, all this is an abomination to our duty as stewards of all that God has created.

 

Having a cosmic liturgical perspective, keeps us centered on Jesus, JFJA, and the truth that everything God created is good, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving,”  1 Timothy 4:4, and that we are accountable to God, to care for his created world.  Having a cosmic liturgical perspective also means that, and Sowers please receive this, that the Mass really never ends.  Go in peace to love and SERVE the Lord, takes on a new meaning.

 

Yes, as we receive the grace and power of the Word and the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, in the power of the Spirit, Jesus sends us forth into the vineyard, to love and care for one another but also to love and care for all the Word has created.  Yes, for St. Paul, and you and I as Christians, from the moment God created the world, everything we see and live with, including the stars, sun , moon are praising him.  There is an eternal cosmic liturgy taking place and we are invited by God to participate in that liturgy on a daily basis, first by recognizing and worshipping God as Creator, praising God for the beauty and majesty of his creations, and then caring for them and each other, as God would expect and commands us to.

 

Sowers and all mathetes, begin to take the time, yes, begin to make an effort, go out of your way, to see God in all that he has created, in the grandest and also the smallest and simplest things of everyday life, so your mind and heart will constantly be drawn to him.  In our majestic faith, the Catholic faith, we use holy cards/crucifixes/rosaries/statues of saints and Jesus in our homes, work places, and cars, so that beyond our times of prayer, Word, Sacrament, and service, a glance at any of these, will draw our hearts and minds to Jesus so we can constantly be focused on him as opposed to things of the world.  All that God creates is another way, a bible inspired way, of accomplishing the exact same thing.

 

Yes, begin to allow your Christian imagination to speak to your spirit, to see that Jesus as High Priest is constantly calling us to himself,  “It reveals the ever present prayer of our High Priest,” Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 2605, meaning that Jesus wants to lead us in prayer at every moment of our lives, and if we can understand the revelation behind these words of the prophet Isaiah reveals, “Thus said the Lord: The heavens are my throne, the earth is my footstool,”  Isaiah 66:1, then we can, through what God has created, finds new ways and new moments, to turn to him in prayer and to turn our hearts and minds to him in thanks and worship.

 

I’m down with St. Paul’s and the Psalmist revelation.   With a cosmic liturgical perspective, the clouds, the flowers and plants in a parking lot, the rain, all people, trees, sun, and even the sparrows have taken on a new meaning, now they point my mind and heart to Jesus, and when the snow capped mountain, a homeless person, a blue sky, the late afternoon breeze, are able to point my heart and mind to Jesus as their Creator, then, even if its just for a moment I can say thank you to Jesus and I am ten ahead of where I was before as a Christian when seeing God’s creations did not turn my mind and heart to Jesus.

 

If the heaven is my Father’s throne and the earth his footstool, then the universe and all that it contains is his Church, the sky, sun, and moon and are the Sistine chapel, the rain is a baptismal rite, every sound coming forth from nature is part of his choir: birds singing, dogs barking, roosters crowing, cat’s meowing; the rivers are his piano keys playing angelic accompaniments to their Creator, the clouds are incense, the stars are candles, we are his saints.

 

Let your Christian imagination run wild, let all of God’s creations become our holy cards, yes, let everything in the universe, from the smallest insect to the mightiest creature, reveal to you the majesty of all God has created, and turn your heart and mind in thanks and praise to Jesus Christ.  Allow this revelation of heart and mind to constantly remind you to give Jesus the glory, praise, and worship, which he as God and creator merits, and for having bestowed upon you the gifts of life, faith, and salvation, as you continue to be a steward of all he has created.  Amen to the Blood of the Father’s Lamb, Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

SPIRITUAL EXERCISES

 

 

1.  As you grow into a cosmic liturgical perspective, what parts of God’s majesty have you become more aware of and now draw your mind and heart to Jesus?

2.  Write some of these down.  Reflect on them.

3.  Practice number two, over and over again, without having to write them down.

4.  How has Jesus personally asked you to be a better steward of his creation?

5.  Is it harder to draw your heart and mind to Jesus by seeing him in others or seeing him in animals, trees, birds, stars, etc?

 

 

 

REFLECTION OF THE SAINTS

 

 

“Oh birds, my brothers and sisters, you have a great obligation to praise your Creator, who clothed you in feathers and gave you wings to fly with, provided you with pure air and cares for you without any worry on your part.”

 

St. Bonaventure on the life of St. Francis of Assisi patron saint of animals and ecology.

 

 

 

CLOSING PRAYER:

 

Father, all creation is brought forth by your Word.

 

Yes Father, from the smallest grain of ocean sand to the highest mountain peaks, from the smallest insect to the largest of beasts, all are touched, thought of, and blessed by your Word.

 

Yes Father, everything your Word has created, shouts forth the glory of your name and existence.

 

Jesus, allow all of humanity to see beauty in all you have created, open all of our eyes to see the truth that we are all in this together, when one person, one state, one nation, destroys and pollutes your oceans, forests, and streams, we all suffer.    By polluting our world today, tomorrow we leave our children with a world that you did not envision, a destruction that is not part of your divine plan.

 

Guide us Jesus, give wisdom and courage to our leaders so they can make courageous decisions and enact laws which will prevent future pollution and begin to clean up the mess we have created and restore what you have given us to protect, restore all back to the radiant splendor of your original plan.

 

Jesus, in the power of your new commandment to “love one another,” help me to see your presence in the homeless man holding up that sign on the freeway exit that says “out of work and hungry,” in the marginalized, the abandoned, in those who slander.

 

Jesus, I have never been big on flies, they have always been a nuisance to me, today Jesus, I am going to look at the lowly fly with a new perspective, yes today Jesus, I am going to put the fly into my cosmic liturgical perspective, and I am going to ponder why you created that fly, what was your plan and purpose for the fly, and as I ponder your mighty plans, this lowly fly will draw my mind, heart, soul, and spirit to you, and at that moment I will praise your holy name, I will worship you.

 

Yes my Love, through the majesty you created that surrounds me, daily I will give you every thank you, smile, and honor, that my heart contains, I will shout to the world that you Jesus are a mighty God, with a mighty plan, with might powers, and the entire world can know the truth of your existence, power, and majesty, in all that you have created.  Thank you Jesus, thank you my Lord, my Love.

 

 

JFJA

 

Grace and peace,