One River, Many Wells – Chapter 2

Creation- All Our Relations

The ultimate end of the divine will is the divine goodness, and the nearest thing to that among created things is the good of the whole universe. . . . Thus, among created things, what God cares for most is the order of the universe.

The whole universe together participates in the divine goodness more perfectly, and represents it better, than any single creature whatever.

Every creature participates in some way in the likeness of the divine essence. All things love God. All things are united according to friendship to each other and to God.

– St. Thomas Aquinas

Creation is allowed in intimate love

to speak to the Creator as if to a lover.

Hildegard of Bingen

Creation is the extension of God.

Creation is God encountered in space and time.

Creation is the infinite in the garb of the finite.

To attend to Creation is to attend to God.

– Ancient Rabbinic teaching

We all possess a little fragment of the first bit of life on earth. Consequently, everything that’s alive is related – and a microscopic part of us all is three and a half billion years old.

David Brower, scientist

When we look into the heart of a flower, we see clouds, sunshine, minerals, time, the earth, and everything else in the cosmos in it. Without clouds, there could be no rain, and there would be no flower. In fact, the flower is made entirely of non-flower elements; it has no independent, individual existence.

One thing is made up of all other things. One thing contains the whole cosmos. . . . A piece of bread contains sunshine. . . . Without a cloud, the wheat cannot grow. So when you eat a piece of bread, you eat the cloud, you eat the sunshine, you eat the minerals, time, space, everything.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Every hydrogen atom in our bodies has been in existence for fourteen billion years – imagine how many stories they have to tell us alone. What a pity when culture distracts us from this deep self-awareness by its titillating bon-bons.

– Matthew Fox, commenting on Thich Nhat Hanh’s quote

I arise today

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of the sun,

Radiance of the moon,

Splendor of fire,

Speed of lightning,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea,

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

St. Patrick

One of the Natural laws is that you’ve got to keep things pure. Especially the water. Keeping the water pure is one of the first laws of life. If you destroy the water, you destroy life. All life on Mother Earth depends on pure water, yet we spill every kind of dirt and filth and poison into it.

Another of the Natural laws is that all life is equal. That’s our philosophy. You have to respect life – all life, not just your own. The key word is “respect.” Unless you respect the earth, you destroy it. Unless you respect all life as much as your own, you become a destroyer, a murderer. Man sometimes thinks he’s been elevated to be the controller, the ruler. But he’s not. He’s only a part of the whole. Man’s job is not to exploit but to oversee, to be a steward. Man has responsibility, not power.

Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation

I like the sacramental worldview espoused by my Catholic Christian faith – that all of creation can become a vehicle for God’s grace, God’s presence in our lives. Viewing the cosmos (all of creation) as a vehicle for God’s continued self-revelation should, in theory, awaken us to the destruction we’re scaring our home with. It should help us remember that we are stewards, not kings – workers, not the boss. Unfortunately (to paraphrase from the Fellowship of the Ring), we crave power, and one of the best ways to get power in our time is through wealth – and if that means destroying the planet, well – so what? We’re only around a couple of years – the future generation can deal with it, right?

We are destroying God’s life as surely as we are destroying our own, and in the process we are making it harder for our children and our children’s children to live healthy, joyous lives.

May God grant us wisdom and humility to know better and, even more importantly, to act on that knowledge.

Blessings & Peace,