Celebrate God's Creation

“God saw all that he had made and it was very good.” (Gen 1:31). Every creature, star, rock, planet and human being is loved into being, to be ‘very good’, praising God, the Creator, by its very existence. Human beings, created in God’s image, are in relationship with God, the earth and all living beings. We are partners with God, entrusted to ‘cultivate and guard’ this amazing world, while God, who loves all creation, stays intimately connected with every part of it.

The ancient scriptures remind us that the earth is God’s. All are to share its gifts, taking what is needed for a good life. In God’s plan, the earth is able to provide abundantly for the needs of all creatures. Human beings are called to be good stewards, looking after it, sharing its fruits with everyone, especially with the poor (Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 71).

The wonder and beauty of God’s creation help us to know God: “Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker.” (Wisdom 13:5) and "Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:7-10).

Jesus was born into this world we love and he lived in harmony with nature, watching it keenly. In the Gospels, we find Jesus in the hills praying, in boats on the sea, taking early morning walks on the shore and paying attention to the seasons and rhythms of sowing seeds and harvest. Jesus invited his disciples to see the world as he did, and to trust the Father Creator who cares tenderly for it all:

“Lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest” (Jn 4:35).
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Mt 6:26).

In Saint Paul’s understanding, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, body and spirit, tells us that the destiny of human beings is connected to the destiny of the whole of creation. "The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed …" (Rom 8:19-21) and all will be fulfilled in the Risen Christ.

For more millennia than we can count, indigenous cultures, Australian Aboriginal people, the most ancient among them, have known how to care for their environment. They have lived sustainably, taking only what is needed for a secure existence, handing on their sacred trust to each new generation. The land is their sacred text.

Christian teachers, St Frances of Assisi, Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich were among those inspired by the goodness of what God has made:

Saint Francis loved the birds and animals, sun, moon, water and fire, calling each brother and sister: “Praised be you, my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, who is the day and through whom you give us light. And he is beautiful and radiant … Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars …”.

Hildegard of Bingen wrote: “Gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings. Now, think what delight God gives to humankind with all these things…All nature is at the disposal of humankind. We are to work with it. For without it we cannot survive.”

Julian of Norwich reminded us, “I know well that heaven and earth and all creation are great, generous and beautiful and good ... God’s goodness fills all his creatures and all his blessed works full, and endlessly overflows in them ...”

Long before human beings walked the earth, God’s creation, with its beauty and goodness, mostly unseen by human eyes, has endlessly praised God in a web of life where everything is inter-connected, everything in balance. Today is the day for us to go out and look, to take in the beauty of the world around us, to thank God our Creator for all of it, and make Pope Francis’ prayer our own:

“Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is. Amen.” (Pope Francis. Part of his final prayer in ‘Laudato Si’)

(Lyn Breen, Adult Faith Education Sandhurst. Adapted part 1 of talk given for World Day of Prayer 2 March 2018, Bendigo)

Here are some resource links for the Season of Creation 2021 (1September – 4 October):

• The Sandhurst Care for Creation Statement and resources.

‘Cry of the Earth. Cry of the Poor’ Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference Social Justice Statement 2021-2022 and resources.