Pope Francis, a praise of glory
THE Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, presided at Mass and delivered a homily in the Teutonic College at the Vatican on Sunday, August 30, at the end of the Schülerkreis, which brings together his former students at this period of each year.
They were received at Castel Gandolfo to reflect on the theme “ How can we speak of God today ? ” with the Czech priest and philosopher, Thomas Halik.
I do not know this Czech philosopher, but I do know the answer to the question that is asked :
How can we speak of God today ?
By remaining silent to listen to Pope Francis ! Then by repeating what he says.
Benedict XVI never speaks about him ; he never reacts to the teachings of his successor. This is scandalous because it encourages the faithful to criticise him.
This only confirms the validity of the accusations of heresy, schism and scandal contained in our Father’s third Book of Accusation (Liber III).
Making a commentary in German on the Gospel of that day, Benedict XVI spoke about “ the problem of evil. ” His homily focused on the external origins of “ evil ” and on those that are internal to man. He referred to these as an “ epidemic of the heart ” that leads to “ thinking only of oneself and not of [x... others ? No !] good. ” This discourse is not a homily. It is Platonic philosophy.
He continued by recommending “ heart hygiene using the Truth that comes from God, ” which gives “ the strength of purification. ” Do you understand ? I do not !
Compare this Teutonic gibberish with the crystal-clear “ Praise of glory, ” the glory of God that our Holy Father, Pope Francis celebrates in his encyclical Laudato si’, mi’Signore, Praise be to You, my Lord ! We must, however, concede that Fr. Guy Gilbert, the “ chaplain of hooligans, ” is right in acknowledging that this new vigour is due in great part to Benedict XVI by “ the audacity and the courage ” that he showed in resigning !
I commented on the first chapter of this encyclical (nos. 1-61). It assesses the damage caused by fifty years of conciliar reformation, even in creation, ever since the Church saw fit to believe in the myth of “ progress. ” It has been a total fiasco, an unprecedented disaster : the Church has become like a “ a field hospital after a battle. ”
The following chapter (nos. 62-100) lays the foundations for a restoration, under the title : ‘The Gospel of the Creation’.
Pay heed to “ How we can speak of God today : ”
“ In the first Creation account in the Book of Genesis, God’s plan includes creating humanity. After the creation of human beings, ‘God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good’(Gn 1 : 31). The Bible teaches that every human being is created out of love and made in God’s image and likeness (cf. Gn 1 : 26). ”
“ How wonderful is the certainty that each human life [even the most wretched, the most warped] is not adrift in the midst of hopeless chaos, in a world ruled by pure chance or endlessly recurring cycles ! The Creator can say to each one of us : ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you’(Jr 1 : 5). We were conceived in the Heart of God. ” (no. 65)
DE NANTES WAS RIGHT !
The biblical Creation narratives “ suggest that human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships : with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself. According to the Bible, these three vital relationships have been broken, both outwardly and within us. This rupture is sin. The harmony between the Creator, humanity and creation as a whole was disrupted by our presuming to take the place of God and refusing to acknowledge our creaturely limitations. ” (no. 66)
It is precisely this refusal to acknowledge our creaturely limitations that is illustrated by the affirmation of “ Saint John Paul II ” (sic !) whom Pope Francis quotes, according to which “ the special love of the Creator for each human being confers upon him an infinite dignity. ”
It is amazing that Pope Francis does not see the contradiction between the crystal-clear truth that he recalls, i. e., the relative and ‘limited’character of every creature, and the fatal error of his predecessor who “ confers an infinite dignity ” upon both the terrorist and his victim. This is the very cause of the chaos that he is deploring and explaining by saying that our refusal to acknowledge our creaturely limits “ has distorted our mandate to ‘have dominion’over the earth (cf. Gn 1 : 28), to ‘till it and keep it’(Gn 2 : 15). As a result, the originally harmonious relationship between human beings and nature became conflictual (cf. Gn 3 : 17-19). ”
After having quoted Saint Bonaventure, according to whom “ through universal reconciliation with every creature, Saint Francis in some way returned to the state of original innocence, ” the Pope observes that “ this is a far cry from our situation today, where sin is manifest in all its destructive power in wars, the various forms of violence and abuse, the abandonment of the most vulnerable, and attacks on nature. ”
No, contrary to what John Paul II preached “ each human being ” does not have “ infinite dignity, ” but only a “ limited ” value, that is relative to the place that his Creator gave him in the world in order to correspond to a certain vocation.
“ We are not God, ” Pope Francis continues. “ The earth was here before us and it has been given to us... ” (no. 67,) one might say rather that it is lent to us.
That is why, contrary to “ a tyrannical anthropocentrism unconcerned for other creatures ” (no. 68,) “ the Church does not simply state that other creatures are completely subordinated to the good of human beings ” (no. 69.)
TO THE FIRE WITH VATICAN II !
The Church has not said this since Pope Francis’accession ; she, however, did say it for fifty years, ever since Vatican II, the Acts of which proclaim : “ Believers and unbelievers alike are generally in agreement on this point : ‘everything on earth must be ordered to man as to its centre and its zenith.’ ” ” (Gaudium et spes 12, 1) Georges de Nantes, our Father, said that he was “ flabbergasted ” at this statement and pointed out to us that “ it is the Council’s way of thrusting forward some great principle or remarkable affirmation right from the first words, without supporting references, proofs, or arguments. There is absolutely nothing to support it ! When crushed by such an unexpected blow, the audience, or the reader, does not dream of reacting, and temporarily accepts – a temporary acceptance which, after forty years [today fifty] can be considered definitive, as firmly definitive as an obvious fact. ”
Then he explained why “ this insane and pernicious proposition that is appalling to our faith ” was incredibly lightweight.
“ a) It is based on an alleged general agreement of all men (!), believers or unbelievers... I ask : What is such an agreement worth ? Where do you get this information ? Who could have manipulated, in enormous and inert masses, all of humanity on a subject that a philosopher or a moralist could describe as an empty idea, not corresponding to any reality, but on the other hand, well-suited to undermine all human order ? ” and not only ecological order.
“ b) All the more is this so inasmuch as this proposition is decreed in normative terms, which forces the whole world to make man the centre and the crown of its thoughts, its wills, and its works. Ideally, it can be understood and verified because in all thoughts and concrete activities, even building, cultivating, inventing systems, in the end it is always for one’s fellow men and for himself that man works.
“ But what man ? That is the decisive question : first I, one would say ; no, the poor first, and then us ! In another group : the family first ; and in another, the Party first... The cacophony will be all the more deafening because the great principle put forward will have maximised to excess the claims for the dignity and the interest of the kind of man, or group, or individual of its choice. Do not forget that the title of this chapter indicates the reason for this sensational introduction : it is ‘the dignity of the human person’that suddenly pulls him out of his dunghill, from his dust, in order to raise him to the level of kings, wise men and heroes. There lies the evil. The trouble comes from the number of persons who have been charitably convinced of their ‘dignity,’that to which they are here promoted : they are the centre and crown of creation !
“ REMEMBER JÉSUS CHRIST ” (2 Tm 2 : 8)
“ c) Let us allow the consequences to appear in the remainder of this text, in order to show the error and the established harm. A lone consideration seems necessary to me to be made from the first moment. Did our bishops think that a man, only one in the world, had indeed claimed this universal supremacy, this kingship on earth, in Heaven, and in the Underworld, this superior authority and this central responsibility over all, absolutely all, Our Lord Jesus Christ, about whom Pilate said mockingly : ‘Behold the Man !’ ? Jesus Christ Himself announced that this supereminent place belonged to Him and would be recognised to Him, when He had consummated His redeeming Sacrifice. He said : ‘Now is the time of judgement on this world ; now the Prince of this world will be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to Myself.’(Jn 12 : 31-32)
“ Then, the universal man, who is ‘no one,’promoted to the crown and the centre of the world by universal acclamation to which a Roman Council joins its unanimous approbation, appears to us to supplant Jesus Christ on the suggestion of the Prince of this world, who although thrown down, seems to have regained strength. When the Council gives this paragraph the title of ‘man in God’s likeness,’this man without religion, without nation, without any perfection other than being man, seems to me here to be, on the part of an apostate world, the object of an autolatric cult ! ” (Auto-da-fe) Pope Francis brings us back to the worship of God.
Skimming through the Holy Scriptures, Pope Francis recalls that “ in the story of Cain and Abel, we see how envy led Cain to commit the ultimate injustice against his brother. ” Here again, the crime affects the whole of creation. We see this also in the story of Noah where “ everything is interconnected, and that genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others. ” (no. 70)
Yet, God does not give up. “ He opens a path of salvation through Noah, who remained innocent and just. In this way He gave humanity the chance of a new beginning. All it takes is one good person to restore hope ! The biblical tradition clearly shows that this renewal entails recovering and respecting the rhythms inscribed in nature by the hand of the Creator. ” This is the meaning of the law of the Sabbath, on the seventh day, when God rested from all His work : the law of the sabbatical year “ was set aside for Israel, a complete rest for the land ; ” the law of the year of the Jubilee was “ celebrated after seven weeks of years, which is to say forty-nine years, ” a year of general forgiveness, in other words, a year of mercy and “ liberty throughout the land for all its inhabitants. ” (cf. Lv 25 : 10)
“ This law came about as an attempt to ensure balance and fairness in their relationships with others and with the land on which they lived and worked. At the same time, it was an acknowledgment that the gift of the earth with its fruits belongs to everyone. Those who tilled and kept the land were obliged to share its fruits, especially with the poor, with widows, orphans and foreigners in their midst. ” (no. 71)
The Pope stresses that the Psalms exhort both human beings and other creatures to praise God the Creator. In fact, “ we do not only exist by God’s mighty power ; we also live with Him and beside Him. This is why we adore Him. ” (no. 72)
This is also the lessons from the writings of the prophets who “ invite us to find renewed strength in times of trial by contemplating the all-powerful God Who created the universe. Yet God’s infinite power does not lead us to flee His fatherly tenderness, because in Him affection and strength are joined. ” (no. 73)
The Pope does not specify the nature of these “ times of trial ” that Israel underwent due to its infidelity for which the prophets continually blamed it.
Yet, “ the [harsh] experience of the Babylonian captivity ” would be necessary, he continues, to deepen “ faith in God. Now His creative omnipotence was given pride of place in order to exhort the people to regain their hope in the midst of their wretched predicament. ” (no. 74)
The Pope refrains from specifying the cause of this “ wretched predicament ” : Israel’s persistent refusal to heed the prophets who called this “ stiff-necked people ” to conversion. As a result, the Babylonian captivity loses its punitive character, and the Pope puts it in the same category as “ another age of trial and persecution, ” endured by Christians centuries later “ when the Roman Empire was seeking to impose absolute dominion, the faithful would once again find consolation and hope in a growing trust in the all-powerful God : ‘Great and wonderful are Your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty ! Just and true are Your ways, O King of nations !’(Ap 15 : 3). ”
Still, it should be specified that this is the song of “ those who had conquered the Beast and its image and the number of its name, ” whom St John saw “ in Heaven. ” They are the Christian martyrs !
The Holy Father is perhaps alluding to this combat and to its topicality, when he underlines the need “ to restore men and women to their rightful place, putting an end to their claim to absolute dominion over the earth. ” How can this be achieved ? For the Pope, “ the best way to do so is to speak once more of the figure of a Father Who creates and Who alone owns the world. Otherwise, human beings will always try to impose their own laws and interests on reality. ” (no. 75)
Is that all there is to it ? If it is, then this ‘deism’is doomed to failure ! The Pope forgets that the song that he quotes is “ the Canticle of Moses, the servant of God, and the Canticle of the Lamb. ” The “ Canticle of Moses ” after the miraculous crossing of the Reed Sea (Ex 15) and the “ Canticle of the Lamb ” are but one, since the Lamb, Jesus, is the new Moses, according to Saint John (Jn 1 : 17 ; 3 : 14, 6 : 14,) Who was prophesied by Deuteronomy (18 : 15,) and Who renewed a hundredfold the marvels of the Exodus. Without Him, we can do nothing.
Despite this, the Lamb is absent from the rest of the chapter ! It seems as though we are taken back to the Old Testament, under the name of “ the Judaeo-Christian tradition. ” The mystery of the Redemption whereby the Lamb “ loves us and has freed us from our sins by His Blood ” (Ap 1 : 6) is reduced to “ The Mystery of the Creation of the Universe, ” the title of the third paragraph of this chapter devoted to “ The Gospel of Creation. ”
THE CANTICLE OF THE CREATURES
Under this title : “ the mystery of the universe, ” the Pope clearly affirms the superiority of biblical Revelation over philosophy :
“ In the Judaeo-Christian tradition (sic !), the word ‘creation’has a broader meaning than ‘nature,’for it has to do with God’s loving plan in which every creature has its own value and significance. Nature is usually seen as a [Aristotelian-Thomist !] system that can be studied, understood and controlled, whereas creation can only be understood as a gift from the outstretched hand of the Father of all [and first of all of the Lamb !], and as a reality illuminated by the love that calls us together into universal communion ” (no. 76)
This shows clearly enough that the world “ came about as the result of a decision, not from chaos or chance, and this exalts it all the more. The creating word expresses a free choice [...]. Creation is of the order of love [...]. Every creature is thus the object of the Father’s tenderness, Who gives it its place in the world. ” (no. 77)
Not only did this revelation “ demythologise nature ” and the idols with which pagan Antiquity filled it, it compels us to “ leave behind the modern myth of unlimited material progress, ” which is another form of idolatry. “ A fragile world, entrusted by God to human care, challenges us to devise intelligent ways of directing, developing and limiting our power. ” (no. 78)
To define these limits of “ our power, ” the Pope observes that “ we are free to apply our intelligence towards things evolving positively, or towards adding new ills, new causes of suffering and real setbacks. This is what makes for the excitement and drama of human history, in which freedom, growth, salvation and love can blossom, or lead towards decadence and mutual destruction. ” (no. 79)
Alas, the divine Lamb is still absent from this consideration of the “ excitement and drama of human history ! ” Thus we can only expect the worst, especially if we conform to the teaching of John Paul II whom Pope Francis quotes in support of a disquieting charismatic doctrine, according to which “ the Holy Spirit can be said to possess an infinite creativity, proper to the divine mind, which knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs, including the most complex and inscrutable. ” (no. 80)
Does it also include those that are the most antithetical to Jesus’signified will ? For here finally is Christ, not according to the visions of Saint John, but according to Teilhard de Chardin : “ The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things. ” (no. 83)
In footnotes, we can read numerous references, not to Teilhard himself, but to Paul VI (discourse in a Pharmaceutical Laboratory, 1966 [cf. Georges de Nantes, Liber I, p. 27]), to John Paul II (Letter to Fr. Coyne), and to Benedict XVI.
We are far from “ the Lamb that seemed to have been slain. He had seven horns and seven eyes ; these are the seven Spirits of God sent out into the whole world. ” (Ap 5 : 6) “ That seemed to have been slain, ” for an immolated lamb was slain by cutting its throat and this is where one would expect to find the wound of its immolation. The Lamb of the Apocalypse, however, bears His wounds in His hands, His feet and His side. He is standing, because He is living, risen from the dead. He has seven horns and seven eyes : the full power and perfection of the Holy Spirit Whom He sends to the four corners of the earth to sanctify it. He is not Teilhard’s Omega Christ but the Christ of all History revealed to Saint John : “ I am the Alpha and the Omega ” (Ap 1 : 8 ; 21 : 6 ; 22 : 13.)
Fortunately, the Canticle of the Creatures according to Saint Francis of Assisi brings us back to the contemplation of the Word of God Himself revealing already in His first works, in the creation of the first day, that of light, and continuing in the appearance of beings, the inventing of new forms until the end of the world :
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 with great splendour ;
And bears a likeness of You, Most High.
Praised be You, my Lord,
Through Sister Moon and the stars,
In heaven You formed them
Clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
And through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather
Through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
Who is very useful and humble
And precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
Through whom You light the night,
And he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong. ” (no. 87)
Quoting the Book of Wisdom : “ For they are Yours, O Lord, Who love the living ” (Ws 11 : 26,) the Pope reminds us that “ called into being by one Father, all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion that fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect ” (no. 89) that is expressed in this addition of Saint Francis to his Canticle : “ Praised be You my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love. ” (no. 91)
“ Thus pure hearts, ” Georges de Nantes, our Father, wrote, “ feel the love that moves the universe as coming from beyond itself : a divine procession is its principle and archetype [the procession of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Holy Trinity], which enclosed within it the totality of all loves and enjoyment that proceed from creatures and inspire others. ” (A mysticism for our times, The Canticle of the Creatures, CCR no. 105, p. 11)
Suddenly, under the title “ The Destination of Goods, ” Pope Francis begins a paragraph with these lines that give us a sense of “ déjà vu ” :
“ Whether believers or not, we are agreed today that the earth is essentially a shared inheritance, the fruits of which are meant to benefit everyone. ” (no. 93)
The absurd formula of Gaudium et Spes 12, 1, which the Pope contradicts above, is repeated here, and altered in such a way as to give it an “ ecological ” meaning capable of restoring peace in our societies, conform to Christian tradition that “ has never recognised the right to private property as absolute or inviolable, the Pope writes ” (cf. Point 132, Property Honoured.)
“ In a capitalo-socialist democracy ‘property is theft,’just as power is usurpation. It is very true : the liberal Revolution has transformed these two social functions, which form the basis and the rule for all civilised human order, into instruments for destabilising the French heritage and into ways whereby financial and political oligarchies can rob the country of its wealth. It is institutionalised violence. Liberal capitalism, by its abusive and intensive commercialisation of all wealth and by making monetary or commercial tokens prevail over real wealth, has forcibly destabilised every class in society, and the latter are looted and despoiled by inflation, speculation and currency unrest in exact proportion to their stability and entrenchment, their steadiness and honesty. Socialism completes this ruin by arrogating to itself the exorbitant function of a great avenger, charged with the redistribution of wealth by transferring the property of private persons to the State and from the State to its own favourites, judging itself to be the principal beneficiary.
“ 1. Ecological science posits as a principle that property is an element of the natural freedom of families and one of the bases of order, vitality and stability for any society. All property is recognised as legitimate once it is inherited or acquired in accordance with custom and law, whether it be the capital accumulated by families or the fruits of an honest income, of savings, work, services rendered, an exchange or a normal gift, the intention and use of which is not for society to discuss.
“ No a priori principle, whether egalitarian or libertarian can challenge this appropriation and peaceful possession of property by families. To claim the contrary to the advantage of the State or of the collectivity in the name of a ‘social mortgage’ – as the socialists say – or of a universal law, would be tantamount to disturbing the ecological order.
“ 2. This right to private property, however, cannot be the absolute and individualist right of the liberal bourgeois who brought about the Revolution of 1789. The necessity of living in society implies that this right to free possession and disposal is adjusted and therefore limited and relativised by every communitarian convention and mutual agreement, establishing the balance of social relations. Such in former times were the various controls regulating family, feudal or common goods. It is because this counterbalance no longer existed, that property – especially industrial and commercial property – acquired such a savage character in the 19th century.
“ Nevertheless – and here we have a second limitation naturally encountered by property, this time by virtue of the higher common good – the State, or more precisely the sovereign authority, in its capacity as recognised defender of the nation, and because it assures the peaceful possession of all property, has certain royal rights over property that justify the duties and services it is entitled to demand : taxes on property, compulsory purchase if need be, etc. ” (Point 132)
The question still remains unresolved : what institutions are required to ensure that the “ fruits ” of “ the shared inheritance ” reach equitably all the children of our “ family ” ? The following chapters of the encyclical will attempt to provide a solution, which we will have to compare with our “ total ecology, ” keeping in mind that our present system of “ Economic Democracy is Antisocial ” (cf. Point 106)
The gaze that Jesus fixes on His own creation is quite different.
ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY IS ANTISOCIAL
“ 1. The modern economy is an anti-ecology. This is primarily because it proclaims itself to be, and indeed is, fundamentally democratic. It knowingly tends to replace the real needs of individuals with illusory desires, the compelling necessities of their condition with their arbitrary and passing wishes, their certain duties with their self-styled rights, and finally their true good with the pleasures of the moment. Its major act of imprudence, erected into the supreme law of every economic democracy, is to transpose God’s beatitude to man, Heaven to earth, the future to the present, and the spiritual to the carnal. Christ’s Mystical Body, the fraternity of the sons of God, is transposed to the individual, a solitary, monopolising and jealous divinity.
“ 2. This utopian claim to immediate material happiness for all provokes the dissolution of society due to the fact that each individual now acquires the supreme rule of turning everything to his own individual advantage, with no respect for anything, no fear of any sanction, nor love for anyone. He now acts in the stupid or savage cult of his immediate pleasure alone. This constitutes an absolute negation of the objective reality of the ecological life, which is the family and of the practical art of the family prudently pursuing a certain achievable prosperity common to all its members, whilst also showing respect for the well-being of other families.
“ 3. Alas, through a distressing correspondence of views, contemporary Catholic economists have rallied to this system, establishing a Christian (!) Democratic economy. They have kept the monumental error of the system, which is individualism. They, however, have thought to remedy it by calling it ‘personalism’and by transfiguring it into the profound search – too profound ! – for the person’s dignity, his well-being, and his spiritual and moral rights in this temporal life ! Thus the whole economy should be in the service, not indeed of the individual – who, according to them, comes under society and is therefore subject to being exploited at will –, but of the person, the possessor of sacred, inviolable and imprescriptible rights, who is therefore superior to any common law.
“ No ! Economic society is not for the person, nor for his salvation (theory of the years 1930-1960), nor for his liberation (theory of the years 1960-1980). The truth is that man, who receives everything from his family and who owes it everything, only finds his proper ecological finality in the common good of family prosperity. Any system, be it a religion, denying this fundamental truth will trigger the collapse of the society and of families. It is therefore a crime to deny it. (Point 106)
“ THE GAZE OF JESUS ”
This second chapter, dedicated to the Gospel of Creation, ends with a theme that is dear to Pope Francis : “ the gaze of Jesus. ” One wonders whether the “ Teilhardian ” digression in article 83 was not added by one of the collaborators to whom the Pope had humbly given his text to be re-read and “ corrected ” !? Here we are freed from both this intrusion of pantheism and the temptation of idolatry that inevitably follows it.
“ Jesus took up the biblical faith in God the Creator, emphasising a fundamental truth : God is His Father (cf. Mt 11 : 25). In talking with His disciples, Jesus would invite them to recognise the paternal relationship God has with all His creatures. With moving tenderness He would remind them that each one of them is important in God’s eyes : ‘Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies ? And not one of them is forgotten before God’(Lk 12 : 6). ‘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, no. 96)
“ The Lord was able to invite others to be attentive to the beauty that there is in the world because He Himself was in constant touch with nature, lending it an attention full of fondness and wonder. As He made his way throughout the land, He often stopped to contemplate the beauty sown by His Father, and invited His disciples to perceive a divine message in things : ‘Lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest’(Jn 4 : 35). ‘The Kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field ; it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush.’ ” (Mt 13 : 31-32)
Georges de Nantes, our Father had the same gaze as Jesus and Pope Francis on the “ beauty of a tree or forest ” and on “ the divine message they express ” :
“ It would take many trees for men to know what a tree is, for men to experience the internal force and beauty of the tree, and for this aesthetic feeling to leave them with an obscure premonition of a mystery waiting to be revealed, so that one day out of all days God would choose the tree of the Cross, on which His Son would be lifted up [...]. From all eternity in the divine Word, every tree is already wanted and created as an expression of the Cross, which is the expression of Saving Love. The beauty of every tree is enhanced by the fact of this sacred expression. Yet in the countries of Christendom we prefer to erect a Calvary at the crossroads so that the entire aesthetic sentiment of nature may be brought back to Christ’s mystical revelation.
“ You see the twofold movement of all aesthetic expression. Everything in nature is to be applied and related to the sacred order of Christian revelation : the vine, the village, the bread and wine of meals, birth and work – this whole human language becomes a parable and memorial of the divine Discourse. ” (CCR no. 105, p. 12)
That is why “ Jesus lived in full harmony with Creation, ” the Pope continues, “ and others were amazed : ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him ?’(Mt 8 : 27, no. 98)
“ In the Christian understanding of the world, the destiny of all Creation is bound up with the mystery of Christ, present from the beginning : ‘All things have been created though Him and for Him.’(Col 1 : 16, no. 99)
Saint Paul continues : “ For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the Blood of His cross. ” (Col 1 : 19-20). The Pope comments : “ This leads us to direct our gaze to the end of time, when the Son will deliver all things to the Father, so that ‘God may be everything to every one’(1 Co 15 : 28). Thus, the creatures of this world no longer appear to us under merely natural guise because the risen One is mysteriously holding them to Himself and directing them towards fullness as their end. The very flowers of the field and the birds that His human eyes contemplated and admired are now imbued with His radiant presence. ” (no. 100)
Does this mean that we will find these creatures in Heaven ? Probably, since Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus already fathomed in their infinite variety the heralds of the rich splendours to come in the ‘heavenly ecology’ :
“ Jesus set before me the book of nature ; I understood how all the flowers that He has created are beautiful, how the splendour of the rose and the whiteness of the Lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers.
“ So it is in the world of souls, Jesus’garden. He willed to create great saints comparable to Lilies and roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.
“ I understood, too, that Our Lord’s love is revealed as perfectly in the most simple soul that in no way resists His grace as in the most excellent soul. In fact, since the nature of love is to humble oneself, if all souls resembled those of the holy Doctors who illuminated the Church with the clarity of their teachings, it seems that God would not descend so low when coming to their heart. He, however, created the child who knows only how to make his feeble cries heard ; He has created the poor savage who has nothing but the natural law to guide him. It is to their hearts that God deigns to lower Himself. These are the wild flowers whose simplicity attracts Him.
“ When coming down in this way, God manifests His infinite grandeur. Just as the sun shines simultaneously on the tall cedars and on each little flower as though it were alone on the earth, so Our Lord is occupied particularly with each soul as though there are no others like it. Just as in nature all the seasons are arranged in such a way as to make the humblest daisy bloom on a set day, in the same way, everything works out for the good of each soul. ” (Story of a Soul, chapter 1)
Brother Bruno of Jesus-Mary.
He is risen ! n° 156, october 2015