Krueger creation care quotes

A Cloud of Witnesses
The Ecological Legacy of Christianity

Contents
Arranged in Chronological Order

I. Writings from the Early Church (37 - 800)
St. Clement of Rome (37? - 101?) 23 The lessons in a harmonious Creation The heavens as a servant of God The heavens as a servant of God (tr. version II) The earth as a servant of God The waters and elements as servants of God The good and the transgressors Christ, the Creator of the world The basic principle of creation St. Irenaeus (129 - 203) 26 Creation reveals the Creator A new heaven and a new earth God's immanence oversees every part of creation The way to the new life in Christ Creation is made for man The resurrection of the whole body Creation reveals Him who formed it The ancient curse The Maker and Framer of the universe Knowledge of God comes from God Knowledge of God comes through creation Seven heavens Christ is inherent in the creation iii Nothing is without symbolic meaning God’s laws maintain creation’s stability God’s immanence in creation The glory of God in creation is man beholding God The Word as the Creator of the world What is it that separates us from incorruption? The future of the world The eternal Word underlies creation St. Clement of Alexandria (150 - 220) 33 Contemplation of nature Food and diet Household utensils Salvation, self-sufficiency and self-control How the perfect man treats worldly things The right use of possessions Eating to live A Christian's choice of food An inkling of God comes through His creatures The basis of a beautiful lifestyle The right use of God’s gifts God’s gifts of creation belong to everyone Prayer for right relationship to God and creation

Private property How the universe has become an ocean of blessing Men and women in creation What we find thru meditation on creation A right attitude toward worldly possessions Knowledge of God through creation A method of discerning God through creation Tertullian (160? - 230?) 41 God fashioned the universe Renewal as a universal lesson in creation Nature reflects the resurrection Simplicity and sufficiency God teaches through creation The prayer of the animals Discerning the Law of God

The divine art of the Creator is hidden in creation God’s invisible nature is seen through creation Dominion through the Holy Spirit An eternal creation Release from the ancient curse Meanings of the tabernacle for man and the cosmos Men and women equal in the sight of God Two kinds of dominion The requirement for contemplation of nature St. Anthony the Great (251 - 356) 54 The reason for man's creation The animals and the garden in the desert Creation of the animals The directing power of providence The action of divine providence Creation declares its Creator The meaning of creation Creation and the power over good and evil Contemplation of nature gives knowledge of God The souls of animals Lactantius (252? - 317) Human purpose in creation Perspective on earthly concerns Serving God in the world The reason for the world Nature is the work of God St. Pachomius (292 - 346) 59 A Prayer for the whole world The education and training of St. Pachomius God's presence fills the earth 57

Minucius Felix (167? - 249) Knowledge of the cosmos aids in selfknowledge God cares for every part of creation Origen (185 - 254) 44

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The beginning of creation Knowledge of creation The microcosmic universe within The diversity of the world joins into one nature Man "in the image" and "toward" God’s likeness Seeing the "Bridegroom of the soul" in creation Some things in creation are hard to understand The whole world is one creature If you obey God, creation serves you What God creates and what He commands An allegorical meaning in dominion Nature and Scripture offer the same conclusions Each word of Scripture is like a seed

St. Athanasius (297 - 373)

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The Earth as a great body Knowledge of God through knowledge of creation Christ, the ordering principle of the universe What the Word of God in creation reveals The divinizing work of Jesus Christ The beginning and renewal of creation Only a pure heart understands saint’s lessons Christ's purpose of renewal of mankind Only humans fail in their purpose in all creation Creation declares its Creator Apply tests for discerning the true cosmology The presence of the Holy Spirit in creation God is within and yet encloses all things Creation and salvation are of the same Word God encloses all things Limits to our knowledge about creation The Spirit of the Lord fills the universe The wisdom of God harmonizes creation How the Logos binds creation together From Word to world: a single melody Intuiting a Creator from the heavens St. Ephraim the Syrian (306 - 373) 68 The symbols of God fill creation Mysterious emblems of the Trinity in nature The creation of the creatures The holy cross in nature Nature and Scripture The tree as judge Paradise is like the wind The keys to knowledge of creation St. Hilary of Poitiers (315 - 367) Why creation is beautiful How God is in heaven and on earth 72

St. Basil the Great (329 - 379) 77 Remembrance of God through the creation The nature of the creatures The wisdom in creation Lessons from the bees Lessons from the birds Creation as a theophany of wisdom Ascent from the world A prayer for the earth The land as a common inheritance A conception of God from His creation The beginning of time Magnifying the Lord through creation Creation reminds us of the Creator And God saw that it was good God's creation teaches His qualities A lesson about vigor through natural diversity How to understand creation's lessons about God The limits of creation's ability to teach us The cause of evil Each animal is different Each thing in creation has reason and purpose Creation helps us to know the Creator Why contemplate nature? A definition of self-control The sweetest of places The most difficult of Sciences The divine order penetrates the smallest things Before the creation of the world Man is made in the image of God The world as great art Man and creation The action of the Holy Trinity in creation Prayer for the animals Before this world St. Gregory Nazianzus (329 - 389) 90 Man as microcosm of the world Man in transition to deification The challenge to each person of selflessness How is the universe maintained? Human work in paradise Creation is a system of earth and sky Appreciation of the beauty of natural scenery vi

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315 - 386) 74 God and creation Perceiving the Divine through the creatures To restrain defilement of creation The witness of creation To understand creation, know its Creator In wisdom hast thou made them all God creates all parts of creation The Holy Spirit and creation

Prayer to the Creator of creation A new creation is coming to birth How He infuses the world Christ cleanses the entire world The cosmos as inaccessible beauty The animals reflect their Maker Humanity is called to contemplate creation St. Gregory of Nyssa (330 - 395) 95 Perception of God through nature How the Church recreates the world Reflection on dominion

The meaning of dominion A definition of nature God's image refers to all of human nature Human nature in the new creation The end of time and history Man as microcosm of the universe Man unites the spiritual and physical The creation proclaims the Creator The resurrection promises paradisal restoration The creation proclaims the Creator Man the microcosm

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In the image of God Woman is in the image of God All that is God's good resides in man Nature is also the image of God The visible as springboard for contemplation How all creation becomes one body In God there is no past or future Creation as evidence of the Creator The great catechism Traversing time and space to know God St. Ambrose of Milan (340 - 397) 102 Each thing in creation has its own purpose The elements of creation are free gifts to all The wisdom of God's plan of Creation The earth and its goods belong to all God rests in redeemed humanity, not nature The private usurpation of nature The earth is not cursed A lesson from the birds The faithful replication of species The generation of species through God’s Word The meaning of the world On paradise Why paradise existed on earth The beasts of the field The creation of Eve The world exemplifies the workings of God The origin of evil in nature The value of natural foods Every thing in creation has a reason and purpose We better know ourselves by knowing creatures Made in the Image of God The nature of God in creation The Holy Spirit is the Creator The nature of the Holy Spirit in creation The originating cause of creation Grace in creation St. Jerome (341 - 420) 112 The mind of Christ in animals Why the saints go to wilderness places The serpent and the blessed monk Ammon St. Evagrius of Pontus (345 - 399) Reading the works of God 114 ix

Practice of the virtues God makes creatures through power and wisdom Creation as a means for knowing God Preparation for seeing creation in God Limits to discerning God in creation Learning from creation difficult St. John Chrysostom (347 - 407) Love for the creatures Creation is a form of doctrine 116

God gave the earth to everyone God's dispensation of creation Creation as a means for knowing God Not to share possessions is robbery The purpose of creation "To till and keep" the garden The two trees of paradise Doing God's will on earth Creation is good God holds creation together From creation, learn to admire the Lord How does creation declare the glory of God? Everything in creation has a purpose God’s gifts are for everyone We shall give account for all that we have used Nature is our best teacher On being in the image of God Commentary on the death of animals in the flood The state of the creatures determined by humans God’s covenant with Noah is also with the animals The earth will be transformed Wilderness as the mother of quiet The value of gold St. Augustine (354 - 430) 124 The beauty of creation God's governance of the world The book of nature

A utilitarian concern for nature misses its beauty God's providence orchestrates creation New potentialities within creation Why greed must be purged from the soul Human possessions The reasons for evil in the world The mystery of leviathan in creation God's Providence rules creation The mystery of leviathan in creation From the works of creation, love the Creator God’s presence fills the earth Why creation is good How man exercises dominion in creation How God constructs the world Every creature has a special beauty Look at His works Knowledge of God through knowledge of creation The whole earth is full of thy works Contemplation brings knowledge of creation’s good Commentary on the earth is the Lord’s Ask the earth Defects in nature are part of creation’s harmony God as beauty The heavens as a book How the Holy Trinity is seen in creation St. John Cassian (360? - 435) 134 On knowing God from creation

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A rule for self control St. Nilus of Ankyra (363? - 430?) 135 The whole creation is within you Adhering to limits of consumption Excess consumption is contrary to nature A proper diet as God intended Spiritual questions from agriculture Why monks seek the wilderness Other spiritual benefits of wilderness The weight of possessions St. Patrick (385 - 471) 139 The nature of our God A prayer, called "The Deer's Cry" A blessing on Munster God of all God in all St. Benedict of Nursia (480 - 547) How he loved the creatures Monastery tools as sacred vessels 142

St. Columba (521 - 597) 150 The power of God rules over all the Land The will of God True adoration in the world The delights of the world Attitudes toward the world My fear of the sound of an axe Why I love the oakwood of Doire A stranger guest, tired and weary St. Gregory the Great (540 - 604) 154 God is equally in all things Why human perspectives of creation vary The Bible as a great river God as the necessity for all created things St. Columbanus (543 - 615) 156 Attitudes toward the world The rowing hymn The world is but a road Know the Creator through creation Encounter with animals The bear cave Friend of woodland creatures To understand the Creator St. Leontios of Cyprus (556 - 634) How Creation gives glory to God 159

Dionysius the Areopagite (485? - 535?) 143 God's beauty infuses creation Beauty reflects an invisible harmony Matter participates in the Good The mysteries are hidden in the secret silence St. David of Garesja (497 - 569?) The hunters and the milking deer The hawk and the partridge 145

St. John Climacus (509 - 649) 147 Dispassion before the world and the senses Each animal bears the wisdom of the Creator St. Kevin of Glendalough (513? - 618?) 148 A Response to an angel on behalf of the animals Hell and a short life The lesson of the missing otter The hunters and the wild boar

St. Maximus the Confessor (580 - 662) 160 Creation as cosmic Church The Church is an image of the material world The human role in creation Christ's mediations in creation Creation as a mirror for God The transfiguration of nature Death and resurrection are for all creation The human soul differs from plants and animals Humans are part of creation in order to raise it up How the saints will inherit the earth The unreality of evil in creation Creatures participate in God's joy Contemplating the inner essence of creatures Symbols in the physical world Using symbols to see the Invisible xii

The cosmos as Scripture; Scripture as a cosmos The unity of the spiritual and perceptible worlds The contemplation of spiritual things Attaining knowledge of the mysteries of creation In Christ all creation is illumined Knowing the mysteries brings knowledge of meaning

The purpose of creatures The key to understanding creation How creation instructs us in virtue Contemplation of creation What hinders the contemplation of created things? God reveals Himself according to one’s concepts

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Learning from the law of nature The Incarnation: the key to understanding Creation Christ hidden in creation The Logos: hidden but revealed in the visible world St. Isaac the Syrian (640? - 8th century) 171 A charitable heart Perspective on the world Peace with the world through peace with God The response of animals to humility Silent praise for creation's grandeur Faith as a doorway of spiritual sight The secrets of God’s glory are in creation Two sets of eyes How the saints tame the wild beasts St. Hubertus (650 - 727) 175 God's revelation about respect for the deer St. Guthlac (673 - 714) 176 Holiness tames the beasts

We lose dominion by failing to serve God All things join together in God The song of Guthlac St. John Damascene (675 - 749) 178 The creation as a reflection of the Creator Worship God and honor creation The unique quality of each creature and plant The place of paradise The dual nature of paradise The fruit of the Tree of Life Trees There is usefulness in every plant Creation is not derived directly from God The divine nature penetrates all creation How the heavens declare the glory of God Man is a microcosm of the community of life The origin of evil How the heavens reveal the glory of God Criteria for a healthy intelligence Life is energy Concerning worship toward the East The properties of the divine nature God creates by thought

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II. Writings from the Medieval Church (801 - 1453)
John Scotus Eriugena (810 - 877) 185 God and His creatures Every creature is a manifestation of God The universe is permeated with divine goodness The cycles of nature God exists in creatures God as the cause of all goodness The reasons for divisions in nature Understanding the Creator from the creation A contemplation of creation Two ways of knowing the divine light All things always existed in God God is the essence of all things God sustains creation What God punishes in creation Uses of the word “world” in the Bible St. Symeon New Theologian (949-1022) 190 A prayer of thanksgiving The things of the world belong to all people Material possessions Distributing possessions sets one's heart free The purpose and destiny of creation The root cause of failure to share the world’s goods All creation is within The new man brings the new creation Awakening to God's presence Searching for God Glimpsing the Creator through creation Contemplating reality Adam in the paradise of this world The nature of “will” in creatures Two suns for two bodies God and the laws of nature All things are in God The redemption of creation The bright condition of the future creation Paradise is for the whole earth What is meant by the term “the world”? Sanctifying the temple of the world St. Peter of Damascus (1027? - 1107?) 197 The wonder of creation Contemplation of God’s qualities in creation The wonder of creation’s processes There is nothing incidental or evil in creation Moderation in contemplation Give thanks to God for all things Spiritual sight The great value of stillness Lessons from the night God’s marvelous care for creation Hildebert of Lavardin (1056 - 1133) God is always present St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 - 1153) A stream through the meadow Learning from creation A contemporary view of Bernard The effect of prayer on the land Human valuation of possessions The road to God Healing remedies in nature How stones become holy Recreating Paradise 201 202

Hugh of St. Victor (1096 - 1141) 205 The Book of Nature All nature speaks of God The light of the wisdom of God in creation The wisdom of the structure of creation St. Hildegard of Bingen, (1098 - 1179) The love of God for creation Earth as an all-encompassing vessel God gives creation to humanity xvi 207

The effect of sin on the world The Holy Spirit moves creation God's Word in creation is indivisible from God The future of creation resides in our hearts Creatures are sparks of God’s radiance God’s fiery life in creation At one with God and creation The visible and the temporal God’s power made the world Man is part of creation The visible is a manifestation of the invisible The Creator loves his creation Creation can punish humanity A pattern of service in nature All creation is Good Signs of God in the world God’s justice fills creation Honor God by honoring the earth

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St. Aelred of Rievaulx (1110 - 1167) 213 God's goodness dwells in every creature St. Francis of Assisi (1182 - 1226) 214 Love of creation A loving attitude toward flowers and all nature Instruction to the birds Our sister, the cricket The creatures minister to human needs Dominion through holy obedience A vision in the night Canticle of the sun Sermon to the birds The blessing of God for my sisters, the birds The creatures as teachers of obedience Treat the animals with kindness How obedience shapes attitudes toward creation Human need for the creatures For the love of God and larks A ladder to heaven through creation St. Albert the Great (1193 - 1280) 220 Creatures and the likeness of God Knowledge of nature as craft and art The unfriendly features of the landscape Natural disasters as the punishments of God Why creatures help us to know God Two ways of considering the creatures The divine plan and the ideal civil plan The aim of the natural sciences Learning the lessons of nature Mechthild of Magdeberg, (1210 - 1297) 224 Each creature must live in its own nature A vision of God in all things St. Bonaventure (1217 - 1274) 225 Perceiving the Divine in creation The creatures help us to see God The greatness of God is demonstrated in creation The creation reflects the secrets of the Creator About St. Francis' view of animals The different attributes of the creatures Acquiring a love for creatures

Creatures as reflections of eternal wisdom The universe as a ladder Three methods for finding God in creation The universe as a book Traces of the Creator dwell in creatures St. Francis: Loving God through creation The world as a great mirror St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274) 231 Human care for the creatures God's art is to endure Why God dwells in all things Animal nature is not changed by man's sin All of creation participates in the divine goodness The purpose of creation's diversity Why so many different kinds of creatures A proof of God from creation The multiplicity of forms in creation Caring for creatures Ownership of possessions Errors about creation distort theology The universe represents the divine goodness Compassion for animals brings love for people God is beyond the created order The universe participates in the divine goodness Rational for a utilitarian view of creatures All things are made for man Creatures and the likeness of God Time and the universe Two sacred texts Perspective on the landscape of the universe Meister Eckhart (1260 - 1329) 237 An attitude to creation which helps to know God God's "seed" presence in man Creatures and creation Sermons in creatures To penetrate nature's secrets Every creature is a word of God An inner and outer perception of creatures Knowledge of God through creatures The journey to spirituality Creation is only loaned to humanity

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Criteria for knowing God in nature Beyond time To discover nature's essence To know God Where is God? The interdependence of creatures How nature searches for unity All things are in God Possessions and experience of God When God is present in everything Purpose for the world St. Gregory of Sinai (1265 - 1346) 243 Right view of created things How the true philosopher views creation A description of paradise In the renewal of man is the renewal of creation Creation’s laws apply to earth and human body Man as a second world Finding divine wisdom in creation Who is the true spiritual teacher? Knowledge of God through knowledge of creation The initiated teacher A right view of created things Instructions for monks on building thanksgiving St. Gregory Palamas (1296 - 1359) 247 Body and soul both mediate the image of God Understanding nature through the Holy Spirit The qualities of dominion within the soul The energies of creation God’s sustaining energy and essence Beholding the nature of all things The extent of God’s presence Ten aspects of creation St. Birgitta (1303 - 1373) 250 God watches over the creatures St. Sergius of Radonezh (1314 - 1392) 251 Serving food to the bear Perspective on saints and wild animals

Julian of Norwich (1342 - 1423) 252 Gardening as a metaphor for the spiritual life There is no defect in nature A vision of everything that has been created Insight into creation The unity between Christ and His creatures God as Creator, lover and protector St. Catherine of Siena (1347 - 1380) 254 The fire of Christ in all people and all creation Seeking first the will of God God’s fire provides knowledge of self and creation Creation in God's Image The source of compassion for the animals Who sees their Lord in creation? Everything is good and perfect Discernment in saving creation All people share a unity in the vineyard of Christ Why Christ’s servants love animals Ramon Sibiude (1378? - 1438) 258 How creatures become a book Two great reservoirs of knowledge Benefits of a natural theology The Book of Nature is before the Book of Scripture Thomas  Kempis (1380-1471) 260 The creatures form a book of holy doctrine Disdain for material things Nicholas of Cusa (1401 - 1464) 261 Divinity is in all things The wall of the Lord The generative power of a tree Creating and creation are one The call of wisdom in all things God cares for creatures the same as the cosmos

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III. Writings from the Modern Church (1453 - present)
Martin Luther (1483 - 1546) 263 Humanity is sustained by God's providence Incarnation increases appreciation for Creation Our body and creation reflect God's wrath for sin God's power sustains creation The world is full of God The wonderful works of God reflect His majesty God is the Creator God's other gospel Earth is innocent of sin Who has worldly riches? The power of God is present in creation God is in the flowers The animals are God’s footprints God’s nature dwells in Creatures God gives me everything I have Creation as a book St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491 - 1556) The majesty of God in the world A reward of all creation God's presence in the world 268 The keys to a knowledge of heaven and earth The effect of knowledge of the mysteries The path to blissfulness Man must learn the secrets of nature by craft Why we must investigate creation Everything needed for healing is in nature John Calvin (1509 - 1564) 274 The custody of the garden A duty to reflect on the creatures Stewards of God’s creation The beauty of creation reflects the divine glory Every part of creation reflects the Creator The overwhelming beauty of the universe Paul on creatures: commentary on Romans 8:21 The conditions of human stewardship of the earth Responsibility for the future of the land A disposition toward God's gifts A theology of nature Those who are wise search out God's works Opening to the grandeur of God in creation The works of God are everywhere Seek to know God through His creation A test of faith: appreciating God's creatures God before the creation of the world The history of the creation of the world Our duty toward animals How God discloses Himself through creation Investigating God through His creation No excuse for not knowing God through creation How the Bible brings God’s lessons into focus Seek ministry, not dominion A condition for an unacceptable dominion St. Therese of Avila (1515 - 1582) xxii 283

Paracelsus (1493 - 1541) 269 Nature is the universal teacher Reading the lessons of nature An understanding of plants as healing agents The perfection of dominion What a clergyman should be Discerning God's truth Nature is a light All of the truths of creation are within man To know the inner side of nature Faith unravels the deeper mysteries of nature The search for wisdom Knowledge of nature fortifies faith

The hidden treasure of the Lord Nature as an aid to the remembrance of God Detachment from the world Discovering a new world of life and meaning St. Robert Bellarmine (1542 - 1621) Knowing God through His creatures The beauty of created things Creation as a divine work The wisdom of the Creator Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642) Living symbols in creation The sun still ripens grapes 284

The visible springs from the invisible God's presence in creation Surrender opens the door to experience Spiritual regeneration Understanding God's presence Prayer for a right relationship to creation God and the elements form each other The world as battleground The signature of all things The location of heaven George Herbert (1593 - 1633) Teach me my God and King Providence Man Teach Me, My God and King Providence II Brotherhood in all parts of creation William Penn (1644 - 1718) The Country Life How little we learn of creation The Creator’s Face in creation The library of the philosopher Cotton Mather (1663 - 1728) The Two-fold Book of God The study of nature 297

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William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) 286 The uses of adversity Possessions are not thine own Sonnet XCIV "An attitude toward nature" A touch of nature Nature’s infinite book of secrecy Sonnet LXXXVIII "The end of man and nature" Jacob Boehme (1575 - 1624) 288 God's truth in nature The world as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit The location of Heaven is within Reflection on human responsibility Reflection on dominion The Word of God in the world A true Christian Grasping God in creation The eternal is hidden in the temporal The earth is filled with life The earthly influence of the stars The signatures in nature Dominion over nature through self-dominion Hearing the Word of God How creation is a manifestation of God All things are both in time and eternity The greatest challenge in understanding creation The nature of plants Christian allegiance An experience of God's presence in creation

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Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751) 301 Divinity fills Creation In the Hand of God God’s love is present in every creature Jesus Christ lives in every thing The ultimate value of knowledge and ideas As we use creation, we use God’s manifestations An attitude toward the creatures When faith shows us God in creation St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696 - 1787) How God's Presence Sustains Us 304

John Wesley (1701 - 1791) 305 Creation's restoration Dominion and creation Each creature has a share in the heavenly life xxiii

Love creatures for God’s sake God, not their own Seeking Christian perfection Jesus Christ leads us to creation concern Doing God's will in earth as it is in heaven Human dominion over the creatures A reflection about the purpose of the animals The book of nature Jonathan Edwards (1703 - 1758) God's excellency dwells in every thing Reflections of God's glory Contemplations in nature Lessons from the spider How the material world is preserved 309

John Woolman (1720 - 1772) 312 Tenderness toward all creatures The produce of the earth is a gift from God Today's gain may be tomorrow's pain Christian duty toward the creatures An effect of creation care The principle underlying respect for animals Silence leads to detachment St. Nikephoros of Chios (1750 - 1821) Trees and the love of God 314

Willaim Blake (1757 - 1827) 315 Every cell opens into eternity In the elements are hid the whole creation The tree In nature we see as we are Everything that lives is holy Through creation to the Creator St. Seraphim of Sarov (1759 - 1833) The animals are a joy Inner peace Adam's gifts from God in Paradise The state of Adam in paradise Contemplating the inward light Friendship with the forest creatures 317

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William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850) 320 The world is too much with us Up! Up! My Friend, and Quit Your Books Insights from flowers Why should we turn away from natural wisdom? St. Paisius Velichkovsky (1772 - 1794) "Dressing and Keeping" the garden 322

The laws of nature are just Teaching children gentleness Nature John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 - 1892) 333 The mercy of God extends to the creatures The worship of nature

Metropolitan Philaret (1782 - 1867) 322 Each creature exists in the middle of creation William Cullen Bryant (1794 - 1878) Thanatopsis Inscription for the entrance to a wood God's first temples Listen to nature’s teachings Thanatopsis (excerpt) 323

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1892) Flower in the Crannied Wall Prayer O Yet We Trust One God The Higher Pantheism Oh yet we trust Athanasia Logacheva (1809 - 1875) Love of creation

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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882) 325 Views of nature All science seeks a theory of nature The mystery of nature and man The happiest man The beauty of nature Nature is medicinal The secret to the pace of nature The art of taking a walk Facts in nature symbolize spiritual facts The rich and royal man Some effects of the wisdom in nature In the woods God’s lessons in fields The heart of every creature The world teaches trust in God The utilitarian mentality toward nature Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861 ) 329 Glory in the commonplace Work Insufficiency Without Thee, we do no good (hymn excerpt) Henry Longfellow (1807 - 1882) The manuscripts of God 331

St. Theophan the Recluse (1815 - 1894) 339 Educating children requires a sense of the holy The true aim of man on earth All things in creation witness to the Father The narrowing spiritual effect of specialization A test for spiritual and secular literature Contemplation of creation makes the mind sober The authoritarian hand of the world Contemplation of creation brings perspective The meaning of ‘leaving the world’ Discerning symbols in creation Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862) 343 Seeing God through nature The wealth of the natural philosopher The need to prevent private usurpation of nature On the alert for God in nature The passing away of life builds for new life Nature heals every wound My motive My search for primitive nature Perspective on forests The clouds are safe The character of the logger Solitude is my companion xxv

A free and adventurous life Guidance Fyodor Doestoyevski (1821 - 1881) 347 Love reveals the mysteries of creation The way to salvation Love the whole earth Love the animals All parts of creation witness to the mystery of God Love as a teacher Prayer as an education Much on earth is hidden Everything in creation is a source of wonder John Muir (1838 - 1914) 351 My First Summer in the Sierras (excerpts) “Mountain gospel” The voice of God sings in the wilderness Human blindness to the beauty of creatures

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God's transparent universe All of nature is in man A religious approach to nature God’s first temples Walks in nature When a man plants a tree We hide from the lessons of nature Reaching the heart of wilderness Alone in the woods at night Invisible divine influences The song of the wilderness God has care for the trees Modern culture versus the worth of animals A “felted together” universe God as beauty The heart of the wilderness Pine tree sermons A path into the cosmos Gerard Manly Hopkins, SJ (1844-1889) 358 God's Grandeur Pied Beauty The Caged Skylark Vladimir Soloviev (1853 - 1900) 360 Love holds the cosmos together The social and cosmic environmnt as living entities The path to integration with nature A cosmic view of liberation of nature George Washington Carver (1864-1943) 362 Talking to flowers A guidance for the future The method in my discoveries The presence of God God's handiwork in nature My great search for meaning The voice of God in the farmyard The measure of success Letter to Booker T. Washington Lessons from nature early in the morning The spirit of my life Mysteries and faith Growing for the future "Live at Home"

Solutions in the mind of God God's little workshop The credit for my work "Golden Moments" Nature as a broadcasting station The joy of reading from God’s creation Communing with nature Nature as God’s broadcasting system Learn from Mother Nature Reading God out of Nature’s Great Book St. Therese of Lisieux (1873 - 1897) The imprint of nature’s poetry The flowers in the book of nature God and nature and our souls The impression of the sea Nature reflects the mode of the soul Inspiration from mountain grandeur Jesus’ bouquet of flowers Evelyn Underhill (1875 - 1941) The meaning of symbols in creation The variable state of the earth Forest Epiphany To perceive nature’s secrets Christ transfigures the cosmos Immanence A sea of Spirit Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965) 376 Reverence for life A spiritual relationship with the world The unity of all life An absolute ethic of nature Life is sacred to the truly religious man A prayer for the animals The beginning of reverence for life The only way out of chaos All life is sacred Avoiding sins against life Our duty to help the animals The solidarity of all life The fields speak of God Reverence for life is ethical mysticism The ethical man xxvii 370

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The only way out of chaos A criterion for an ethical relationship to creation Descartes’ theory about animals and pain Scientific experiments on animals The fact of mutual dependence Sharing the pain of creation A lesson on loyalty from wild geese Reverence for life and the scholar A new spirit must emerge A prayer for all living creatures The mystery of life Knowing the God Who is within Gratitude Thanksgiving: A key to opening creation

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Helen Keller (1880 - 1968) In the garden of the Lord The joy of the world Life is an adventure Contentment in creation Earth and sky Feeling creation I feel eternity in my soul T. S. Eliot (1888 - 1965) A consequence of materialism The creatures affirm Thee, O God C. S. Lewis (1893 - 1963) Pan's Purge Experiments on animals 390

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Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1998) 401 We need silence to find God Accept everything with joy Francis Schaeffer (1912 - 1984) 402 A new sense of beauty The Christian duty of respect The nature of human dominion Nature is to be honored A right and a wrong dominion We respect creation because God made it Failure to teach a correct dominion The value of a tree A test of how we really love the Creator The root of human problems Perspective on dominion Creation gives glory to God The universe tells us of God The nature of dominion Thomas Merton (1915 - 1968) 407 What is the world? A society of barbarism The beginning of the interior life Listening to silence Silent roots The cosmic dance Art and craft Selling the rain To find one’s place in creation The cosmos as revelation of God What are the rights of beavers? The love of creation for its Creator The transparency of the world Overwork: the most insidious form of violence Christian tradition Listening to the rain Rev. Billy Graham (1918 - ) 413 Christian responsibility for the world The right treatment of animals God’s purpose for our planet Our Christian duty Our own neglect and excess The seriousness of ecological problems xxix

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Nicholas Zernov (1898 - 1980) 392 Icons as witnesses to a transfigured cosmos The human body, east and west Creation and the sacraments Dumitru Staniloae (1903-1993) 394 The deification and salvation of the world “World” means man and nature together West and East on the salvation of nature and man Nature reflects the human condition Spiritual growth through nature Nature as a medium for grace or evil The connection between God, people and creation Creation as tool for deeper communion with God The things of the world as gift Created things as basis for dialogue with God Articulating the meanings imbued into creation Effort is required to learn from creation Population and industrialization: challenges to love Natural revelation and supernatural revelation Man and the cosmos as natural revelation Microcosm and macrocosm Human meaning in relation to the world

Pope John Paul II (1920 - 2005) 415 The ecological crisis is a moral crisis Breaking with consumerism The wrong of super-development and consumerism Distinguishing motives for owning and using The importance of ecological teachings Humanity and the animals Dominion and obedience The evil which faces us The solution of the Church The root cause of environmental degradation A universal duty to safeguard creation Disobedience to God causes disorder in creation The human causes of desertification Creation as a map pointing to heaven The contemplation of creation The majesty of the mountains A call to ecological conversion

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Patriarch Ignatius IV (1921 - ) 424 Recovering Christianity’s cosmic dimensions The birth of the cosmos Deciphering the “book of the world” Contemplation of nature An effect of the contemplation of nature The world as theophany The spirit of fasting Why do we have an ecological problem? Transfiguration or disfiguration Creative exorcism through asceticism The great task before us Philip Sherrard (1922 - 1995) 430 The Ecological Crisis A Crisis of Vision The Desanctification of Nature Our own depravity writ large Recovering a sense of holiness The path to the desanctification of nature Recovering Christian purpose How creatures take their being from God A kind of second fall The deepening perversion of man and nature Enmeshment in the “Second Fall” Can we be in grace and live in modern society? God creates within Himself The conception of creation ex nihilo Man’s priestly role in creation Interdependence between God, man and creation The most crucial issue that we confront today The natural world represents the spiritual world Creation ex nihilo: the root of our ecological crisis

Mar Paulos Gregorios (1924 - 1997) 438 Humanity is on the wrong path How we know that our modern vision is defective The concept of nature Respect for the created order: A Christian duty Giving back to nature Why Creation is Incomprehensible Stewardship versus dominion The concept of nature Patriarch Bartholomew (1940 - ) 441 The cosmic liturgy The world as a sacrament of thanksgiving Humans are part of the environment To hurt the earth is a sin Priests of creation Environmental care urgent for every person Asceticism as a key to environmental healing Repentance for failure to respect life Dominion is not domination or tyranny A call to halt global climate change Defining our relationship to God The Lord suffuses all creation Love God, love His creation Sensitive souls admire and respect creation Each person has a role Care of the environment is also care for justice Each person has responsibility for climate change

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A Cloud of Witnesses
The Deep Ecological Legacy of Christianity

The Early Church
St. Clement of Rome (37? - 101)
The third bishop of Rome and successor to St. Peter, Clement of Rome is the author of Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians which was considered part of the canon of Scripture in Egypt and Syria for several centuries. His emphasis regarding creation is that there is no separation in the law of God: the law which governs the heavens is the same law which governs the oceans and winds and all parts of creation. He provides artistic descriptions of a world in harmony with itself and the Creator. The legacy of Clement is that he demonstrates that teachings about creation have been part of Christianity from its beginning in the first century. The Lessons in a Harmonious Creation Let us turn our eyes to the Father and Creator of the universe, and when we consider how precious and peerless are His gifts of peace, let us embrace them eagerly for ourselves. Let us contemplate his purposes in creation, and consider how free from all anger he is toward his creatures and the total absence of any friction that marks the ordering of His whole creation. Letter to the Corinthians 1:19

The heavens as a servant of God The heavens, as they revolve beneath His government, do so in quiet submission to Him. The day and the night run the course He has laid down for them, and neither of them interferes with the other. Sun, moon and starry choirs roll on in harmony at His command, none swerving from its appointed orbit. 23

 

 

 

 

 

Letter to the Corinthians 1:20      The heavens as a servant of God (alternate translation)

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By his order the heavens moving in the world obey him day and night, they perform the movement determined for them.... The sun and the stars shine following in harmony the ways determined by Him without deviation... The unlimited sea, by his will united in great water masses, does not go beyond the limits established by him.... The ocean impenetrable for man, the worlds behind it, are administered by the same orders of God. The seasons — spring, summer, autumn and winter — peacefully replace each other. The winds determined for each season, perform their ministry without obstacles. The inexhaustible sources created for delight and health, provide water necessary for human life. Letter to the Corinthians 1:20, translation: Early Fathers of the Church series, Brussels, 1987, pp. 55-56.

The earth as a servant of God The seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter give way to one another in peace. The winds blow from north, east, south and west as he calls them, and springs of water break through the rocks to supply drink for animals and men. God in all his creation willed that there should be perfect peace and concord, without any attempt to alter even the least of His decrees. Laws of the same kind sustain the fathomless deeps of the abyss and the untold regions of the underworld. Letter to the Corinthians 1:21

The waters and other elements as servants of God Nor does the illimitable basin of the sea, gathered by the operations of His hand into its various centers, overflow at any time the barriers encircling it, but does as He has bidden it -for His word was, Thus far shall you come; at this point shall your waves be broken within you. The impassable ocean and all the worlds that lie beyond it are themselves ruled by the like ordinances of the Lord. Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter succeed one another peaceably; the winds fulfill their punctual duties, each from its own quarter, and give no offense; the ever-flowing streams... and even the minutest of living creatures mingle together in peaceful accord. Upon all of these the Great Architect and Lord of the universe has enjoined peace and harmony, for the good of all alike, and preeminently for the good of ourselves who have sought refuge in His mercies through our Lord Jesus Christ. Letter to the Corinthians 1:21 The good and the transgressors 25

It is just and holy, then, brethren, that we should be obedient to God rather than follow those who in vaunting and disorder are leaders in abominable jealousy. For we shall incur no ordinary harm, but rather great danger, if we wantonly entrust ourselves to the wills of men who aim at strife and sedition, to alienate us from what is good. Let us be kindly to them according to the compassion and sweetness of him who created us. For it is written, “The kindly shall be inhabitors of the land, and the innocent shall be left in it: but the transgressors shall be destroyed from off it.” ... “Keep innocency and regard uprightness; for there is a remnant for the peaceable man.” 1 Clement 14:1-4

Christ, the Creator of the world For thou did make manifest the everlasting constitution of the world through the forces set in operation. Thou, Lord, did create the world. ... I Clement 60:1

The basic principle of creation Grant us, Lord, to hope on His name, which is the basic principle of all creation, opening the eyes of our heart to know thee, who alone art highest of the highest.... I Clement 59:3  

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This early theologian is sometimes described as the first biblical theologian. He lived during the first generation after the apostles. His emphasis is on the importance of mystic experience as a fortifying aspect of faith. Irenaeus was called the "Apostle of Unity between the Churches" for his efforts to preserve harmony within the Church. He served as Bishop of Gaul (France) from the city of Lyons and wrote against the doctrines of the gnostics. "To reveal their doctrines is to defeat them," he wrote, regarding his effort to preserve the revealed truth of Jesus Christ. His opposition to the Gnostics was based upon their denial of the presence of God in the natural creation. His writings have continuing ecological relevance because they affirm the divinity in the world and because they depict the providential activity of God alive everywhere in the natural order. More vigorously than many of his contemporaries, he asserts the goodness of all creation because God’s loving presence permeates its every part. Creation reveals God as the Creator Through creation itself the Word reveals God the Creator. Through the world He reveals the Lord who made the world. Through all that is fashioned he reveals the Craftsman who fashioned it all. Against Heresies

A new heaven and a new earth Neither the structure nor the substance of creation is destroyed. It is only the "outward form of the world" (I Corinthians 7:31) that passes away – and that is to say, the conditions produced by the fall. And when this "outward form" has passed away, man will be renewed and will flourish in a prime of life that is incorruptible, so that it is no longer possible for him to grow old any more. There will be a "new heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21:1); and in this new heaven and new earth, man shall abide, forever new and forever conversing with God. Against Heresies

God's immanence oversees every part of creation

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He it is who fills the heavens, and views the abysses, who is also present with every one of us. For He says, "Am I a God at hand, and not a God afar off? If any man is hid in secret places, shall I not see him?" For His hand lays hold of all things, and that it is which illumines the heavens, and lightens also the things which are under the heavens, and trieth the reins and the hearts, is also present in the hidden things, and in our secret thoughts, and does openly nourish and preserve us. Against Heresies 4:19.2

The way to the new life in Christ In discussing the new life of the Christian and the strength to make changes in one's life, Irenaeus relates that this life comes by personal experiential knowledge of Christ. To see the light is to be in the light and to participate in God's life-giving splendor. Against Heresies 4:2

Creation is made for man Man was not made for the sake of the creation, but creation for the sake of man. Against Heresies 5:29.1

The resurrection of the whole body But vain in every respect are they who despise the entire dispensation of God, and disallow the salvation of the flesh, and treat with contempt its regeneration, maintaining that it is not capable of incorruption. But if this indeed does not obtain salvation, then neither did the Lord redeem us with His blood, nor is the cup of the Eucharist the communion of His blood, not the bread which we break the communion of His Body.... And as we are His members, we are also nourished by means of the creation (and He Himself grants the creation to us, for He causes His sun to rise, and sends rain when He wills). He has acknowledged the cup (which is part of the creation) as His own Blood, from which He bedews our blood; and the bread (also a part of the creation) He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies. Against Heresies V.ii.2 29

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Creation reveals Him Who formed it That God is the Creator of the world is accepted even by those very persons who in many ways speak against Him, and yet acknowledge Him, styling Him the Creator.... while the very heathen learned it from the creation itself. For even creation reveals Him who formed it, and the very work made suggests Him who made it, and the world manifests Him who ordered it. The universal Church, moreover, through the whole world, has received this tradition from the apostles themselves. “Against Heresies,” Book II, ch. 9:1, in Ante-Nicene Christian Library: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers, Edinburgh, 1865, pg. 143.

The ancient curse mediately after Adam had transgressed, as the Scripture relates, He pronounced no curse against Adam personally, but against the ground, in reference to his works, as a certain person among the ancients has observed: “God did indeed transfer the curse to the earth, that it might not remain in man.” But man received, as the punishment of his transgression, the toilsome task of tilling the earth, and to eat bread in the sweat of his face, and to return to the dust from whence he was taken.... But the curse in all its fullness fell upon the serpent which had beguiled them.... “Against Heresies,” Book III, ch. 23:3, in Ante-Nicene Christian Library: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers, Edinburgh, 1865, pg. 364.

The Maker and Framer of the universe God exercises a providence over all things, and therefore He also gives counsel; and when giving counsel, He is present with those who attend to moral discipline.... The Maker and Framer of the Universe is good. “And to be good,” no envy ever springs up with regard to anything; thus establishing the goodness of God, as the beginning and the cause of the creation of the world. “Against Heresies,” Book III, ch. 25:1,5, in Ante-Nicene Christian Library: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers, Edinburgh, 1865, pg. 371-373. 31

Knowledge of God comes from God For the Lord taught us that no man is capable of knowing God, unless he be taught of God: that is, that God cannot be known without God: but that this is the express will of the Father that God should be known. And for this purpose did the Father reveal the Son, that through His instrumentality He might be manifested to all, and might receive those righteous ones who believe in Him into incorruption and everlasting enjoyment.... The Father therefore has revealed Himself to all, by making His Word visible to all; and, conversely, the Word has declared to all the Father and the Son, since He has become visible to all.... For by means of the creation itself, the Word reveals God, the Creator; and by means of the world does He declare the Lord as Maker of the world; and by means of the formation of man, the Artificer who formed him. “Against Heresies,” Book IV, ch. 6:6, in Ante-Nicene Christian Library: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers, Edinburgh, 1865, pg. 391.

How knowledge of God comes through creation God, by wisdom, founded the earth, and by understanding hath He established the heaven, declares Solomon.... There is therefore one God, who by the Word and Wisdom created and arranged all things; but this is the Creator who has granted this world to the human race, and who as regards His greatness, is indeed unknown to all who have been made by Him...; but as regards His love, He is always known through Him by whose means He ordained all things. Now this is His Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, who in the last times was made a man among men, that He might join the end to the beginning, that is, man to God. ... Wherefore the prophets... (and) the Word of God foretelling from the beginning that God should be seen by men, and hold converse with them upon earth, should confer with them, and should be present with His own creation, saving it, and becoming capable of being perceived by it, and freeing us from the hands of all that hate us, that is, from every spirit of wickedness; and causing us to serve Him in holiness and righteousness all our days, in order that man, having embraced the Spirit of God, might pass into the glory of the Father.... The prophets indicated beforehand that God should be seen by men; as the Lord also says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” But in response to His greatness and His wonderful glory, “no man shall see God and live” (Ex. 33:20)... For man does not see God by his own powers; but when He wills and as He wills. For God is powerful in all things... and He shall also be seen paternally in the kingdom of heaven, the Spirit truly preparing man in the Son of God, and the Son leading him to the Father, while the Father, too, confers incorruption upon him for eternal life, which comes to every one from the fact of his seeing God. For as those who see the light are within the light, and partake of its brilliancy; 32

even so, those who see God are in God, and receive of His splendor. And His splendor vivifies them; those, therefore, who see God, do receive life.... Men, therefore, shall see God, that they may live, being made immortal by that sight, and attaining even unto God.... For the glory of God is a living man; and the life of man consists in beholding God. For if the manifestation of God which is made by means of the creation, affords life to all living in the earth, much more does that revelation of the Father which comes through the Word, give life to those who see God. “Against Heresies,” Book IV, ch. 20:1-7, Ante-Nicene Christian Library: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers, Edinburgh, 1865, pg. 439-444.

Seven heavens The world is encompassed by seven heavens in which dwell powers and angels and archangels, all worshiping the Almighty God who created all things.... The first heaven, which encloses the rest, is that of wisdom; the second, of understanding; the third, of council; the fourth, of might; the fifth, of knowledge; the sixth, of godliness; and the seventh, this firmament of ours, is full of the fear of that Spirit which gives light to the heavens (cf. Job 26:13). As a pattern of this, Moses was given the seven-branched candlestick, to burn continually in the holy place. This we know for it was a pattern of the heavens that he received the liturgy of the tabernacle, as the Word spoke to him: “You shall make it according to the pattern of the things which you have seen on the mountain” (Exodus 25:40). Preaching of the Apostles, ch. 9

Christ is inherent in creation This is our Lord, who in the last times was made man, existing in this world, and who in an invisible manner contains all things created, and is inherent in the entire creation, since the Word governs and arranges all things; and therefore He came to his own, in a visible manner, and was made flesh, and hung upon the tree, that He might sum up all things in Himself. Against Heresies, Vol. 1, v 28, 3, pp. 105106, as quoted in Linzey, Animal Theology, Univ. Of Illinois Press, 1995, pg. 10.

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Nothing is without symbolic meaning With God nothing is empty of meaning, and nothing is without symbolism. Against Heresies, quoted in Ronda De Sola, Quotable Saints, Servant Books, Ann Arbor, 1992, pg. 92

God’s laws maintain creation’s stability The whole of the heavenly host offers glory to God the Father of all. With, and by, the Word He has created the whole world, including the angels, establishing laws, so that every creature keeps within his proper bounds and does the work appointed for him by God. The Preaching of the Apostles 10 Patrologia Orientalia

The glory of God in creation is a man beholding God For the glory of God is a living man; and the life of man consists in beholding God. For if the manifestation of God, which is made by means of the creation, affords life to all living in the earth, much more does that revelation of the Father which comes through the Word, give life to those who seek God. Against Heresies 4:20.7

The Word as the Creator of the world The Creator of the world is the Word of God: and this is our Lord, who was made man, existing in this world, and who in an invisible manner contains all things created, and is inherent in the entire creation, since the Word of God governs and arranges all things; and therefore He came to His own in a visible manner, and was made flesh, and hung upon a tree, that He might sum up all things in Himself.

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Against Heresies 5:18.3

What is it that separates us from incorruption? Since the Lord has power to infuse life into what He has fashioned, and since the flesh is capable of being quickened, what remains to prevent its participating in incorruption, which is a blissful and never-ending life granted by God? Against Heresies 5:3.3

The future of the world Neither the substance nor the essence of creation will be annihilated, but the “fashion” of the world passes away. Against the Heresies, ch. 5, 36:1

The eternal Word underlies creation In an invisible manner [the eternal Logos] contains all things created, and is inherent in the entire creation, since the Word of God governs all things. Against Heresies, 5:28.3

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St. Clement of Alexandria (150 - 220)
Clement of Alexandria was anciently called "the educator of souls." He was the first of Christ’s disciples to formulate a theology of lifestyle and shape it into a body of practical doctrine with disciplines for daily activity. Because he lived during a time in which persecutions were declining in North Africa, he and other Church leaders saw a great need for Christians to distinguish themselves from the pagans and those caught up in the worldliness which characterized that region of the Roman Empire. Clement taught Christians to think in terms of "a Christian way of life" and his distinctive theology of lifestyle was such that it aided spiritual striving and intertwined with creation. His writings are important today because they provide timeless guidance for avoiding the consumer mentality which fuels so much of modern ecological degradation. Contemplation of nature The initial step for a soul to come to knowledge of God is contemplation of nature. In Issa Khalil, “The Environmental Crisis: An Eastern Christian View,” SVS Quarterly, Vol. 22:4, 1978, p. 204.

Food and diet Other men, indeed, live that they may eat, just like unreasoning animals; for them life is only their belly. But as for us, our Educator has given the command that we eat only to live. Eating is not our main occupation, nor is pleasure our chief ambition. Food is permitted us simply because of our stay in this world, which the Word is shaping for immortality by His education. Our food should be plain and ungarnished, suitable to children who are plain and unpretentious, adapted to maintaining life, not self-indulgence. Excessive variety of food must be avoided, for it gives rise to every kind of bad effect.... Yet there are those who grow dissatisfied with this truth in their restless ostentation, and reject simplicity of diet to engage in a frantic search for expensive menus that must be imported from across the seas. ... It is a natural law that the body is not benefitted by excessively rich food: quite the contrary, those who live on simpler foods are stronger and healthier and more alert, as servants are, for example, in comparison with their masters, or farmer-tenants in comparison with their landlords. Let the meal be plain and restrained, of such sort that it will quicken the spirit. Let it be free of too rich a variety, and let not such a meal be withdrawn from the guidance of the Educator.... If the diet oversteps the limits of self-sufficiency, it harms man by dulling his mind and making his body susceptible to disease. Indeed, the pleasures of a luxurious table inflict untold damage: gluttony, squeamishness, gourmandizing, insatiability of appetite, voraciousness. 37

If a person is wealthy, yet eats without restraint and shows himself insatiable, he disgraces himself in a special way and does wrong on two scores: first he adds to the burden of those who do not have, and he lays bare, before those who do have, his own lack of temperance. Clement also speaks against the scouring of the world for expensive foods. "Do not for the sake of food destroy the work of God.... We must restrain the belly and keep it under the control of heaven. True food is thanksgiving. He who offers up thanks will not indulge excessively in pleasure. Our examples of virtue will draw out fellow banqueters to virtue.” The Christian way of life is not achieved by self-indulgence. Far from "lust-exciting delicacies" is the table of truth. Even though all things have been created particularly for man, it is not well to make use of all things, nor to use them at all times. Surely the occasion and the time, the manner and the motive, make some difference to one who is educated (by Christ) to what is profitable. It is this goal that provides the strength we need to restrain ourselves from living lives centered around the table. Wealth chooses that sort of life, for its vision is blunted; it is abundance that blinds in the matter of gluttony. Christ the Educator, Book II:1-2

Household utensils Food and clothing and dishes, and in a word, all of the items of the household ought to be, as a general rule, in keeping with a Christian way of life, and in conformity with what is simple, fitting, adapted to person, age, occupation and occasion. For we are servants of the one God, and so ought to ensure that our belongings and the equipment needed for them manifest the one noble way of life. The Lord ate His meal from an inexpensive bowl; made His disciples recline on the ground, upon grass; washed their feet, girding Himself with a linen towel.... He did not seek the gold of kings, but taught us to rest content with what will quench thirst. Beyond question, He confined Himself to the useful, not the ostentatious, good. When He ate and drank at banquets, He did not require metals dug out of the earth, or dishes that tasted of gold or silver. We must then get rid of our multiplicity of vessels, our silver and gold drinking cups.... In fact we must walk according to reason even if we have a wife and children in our home. A household is not a burden if it has but learned to follow in the lead of the wayfarer who knows self-control. The wife who loves her husband will be his faithful reflection, both of them wayfarers carrying provisions best suited for a journey toward heaven: frugality, together with a united and determined practice of self-restraint. Christ the Educator, Book II

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The use of possessions To spend money on foolish desires comes more under the heading of destruction than under expenditure. God has given us the authority to use our possessions, I admit, but only to the extent that it is necessary: He wishes them to be common. It is absurd that one man live in luxury when there are so many who labor in poverty. He who holds possessions holds them as gifts of God.... and knows that he possesses them for his brother's sake rather than his own.... Such is the man who is blessed by the Lord and a ready inheritor of the kingdom of God. Homily: "Quis Dives Salvatur?" 16

Salvation, self-sufficiency and self-control Those concerned for their salvation should take this as their first principle, that, although the whole of creation is ours to use, the universe is made for the sake of self-sufficiency, which anyone can acquire by a few things. They who rejoice in the holdings in their storehouses are foolish in their greed. "He that hath earned wages," scripture reminds us, "puts them into a bag of holes." Such is the man who gathers and stores up his harvest, for by not sharing his wealth with anyone, he becomes worse off.... To know oneself has always been, so it seems, the greatest of all lessons. For, if anyone knows himself, he will know God; and in knowing God, he will become like Him, not by wearing golden ornaments or by trailing long flowing robes, but by performing good deeds and cultivating an independence of as many things as possible. God alone has no needs, and He rejoices in a particular way when He sees us pure in the adornment of our minds and our bodies clothed with the adornment of the holy garment of self-control. Christ the Educator, Book II

How the perfect man treats the things of this world Those people, then, who run down created existence and vilify the body are wrong, and do not consider that the frame of man was formed erect for the contemplation of heaven, and that the organization of the senses tends to knowledge; and that the members and parts are arranged for good, not pleasure.

A Christian manner of conduct We must now describe what the man who is called a Christian ought to be during the whole of his life. We must accordingly begin with ourselves and how we 39

ought to regulate ourselves. For whenever anyone has been brought away by the Word of God from external things... he will know that he is not to be earnestly occupied with external things, but about what is proper and peculiar to man -- to purge the eye of the soul and to sanctify his flesh. Christ the Educator, Book II:1

A Christian's choice of food Some men live that they may eat, as the irrational creatures, "whose life is their belly, and nothing else." But the Instructor (Christ) enjoins us to eat that we may live. For neither is food our business, not is pleasure our aim; but both are on account of our life here, which the Word is training up to immortality. Wherefore there is discrimination to be employed in reference to food. Our food is to be simple, truly plain, as ministering unto life, not to luxury.... Plain fare is conducive to digestion and lightness of body from which come growth and health and strength.... There is no limit to epicurianism among men. For it has driven them to sweetmeats, and honey cakes, and sugar plums; inventing a multitude of deserts, hunting after all manner of dishes. A man like this seems to me to be all jaw and nothing else. "Desire not," says the scripture, "rich men's dainties" (Proverbs 23:3) for they belong to a false and base life. But we who seek the heavenly bread must rule the belly.... For excess, which in all things is an evil, is very highly reprehensible in the manner of food. The Instructor, Book II:1

An inkling of God comes through His creatures We may gain some inkling of what God is if we attempt by means of every sensation to reach the reality of each creature, not giving up until we are alive to what transcends it.... Miscellanies V, XI 9,112 as quoted in Patr. Gr., 9:112

The basis of a beautiful lifestyle On the whole, gold and silver, both publicly and privately, are an invidious possession when they exceed what is necessary, seldom to be acquired, difficult to keep, and not adapted for use. ... 40

Silver couches and pans and vinegar-saucers... and bowls, vessels of silver and gold..., proofs of tasteless luxury, ... are all to be relinquished, as having nothing whatsoever worth our pains. ... For my part, I approve of Plato, who plainly lays it down as a law, that a man is not to labor for wealth of gold or silver, nor to possess a useless vessel which is not for some necessary purpose.... The Lord ate from a common bowl, and made the disciples recline on the grass on the ground, and washed their feet, girded with a linen towel. He did not bring down a silver footbath from heaven. He made use, not extravagance His aim. ... In food and clothes, and vessels, and everything else belonging to the house, I say that one must follow the institutions of the Christian man, as is serviceable and suitable to one's person, age, pursuits, time of life. For it becomes those that are servants of one God, that their possessions and furniture should exhibit the tokens of one beautiful life; and that each individually should be seen in faith, which shows no difference, practicing all things which are comfortable to this uniform mode of life, and harmonious with this one scheme. The Instructor, Book II:3

The right use of God’s gifts We ought not to misuse the gifts of the Father, then, acting the part of the spendthrift like the rich son in the Gospel. Let us rather, make use of them with detachment, keeping them under control. Christ the Educator, Eerdman’s transl., pg. 100

God’s gifts of creation belong to everyone It is God Himself Who brought our race to possession of things in common, first by sharing Himself and by sending His Word to all men alike, and by making all things for all. Therefore, everything is in common, and the rich should not grasp a greater share. The expression, “I own something and have more than enough; why should I not enjoy it?” is not worthy of man nor does it indicate any community feeling. The alternative expression however does: “I have something, why should I not share it with those in need? Such a one is one the right path, and fulfills the command: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Christ the Educator, p. 192.

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Prayer for a right relationship to God and creation O God, the Educator and Instructor, Lord.... Give to us, who follow thy command, to fulfill the likeness of thy image, and to see, according to our strength, the God who is both a good God and a Judge who is not harsh. Do thou bestow all things on us who dwell in thy peace, who have been placed in thy city, who sail the sea of sin unruffled, that we may be made tranquil and, supported by the Holy Spirit — the unutterable wisdom — by night and day, unto the perfect day, to sing eternal thanksgiving to the one only Father and Son, Son and Father, Educator and Teacher, with the Holy Spirit. All things are for the One, in whom are all things, through whom, being the One, are all things, through whom eternity is, of whom all men are members, to whom is glory, and the ages, whose are all things in their goodness; all things in their beauty; all things in their wisdom; all things in their justice. To Him be glory now and forever. Amen. Christ the Educator, conclusion

Private property Private property is the fruit of inequity... I know that God has given us the use of goods, but only as far as is necessary; and he has determined that the use shall be common. ... The use of all things that are found in this world ought to be common to all men. Only the most manifest inequity makes one say to another, “This belongs to me; that to you.” Hence the origin of contention among men. Stromateis, as quoted in “The Great Thoughts,” Balantine Books, New York, 1985, p. 93.

How the universe has become an ocean of blessing For with a celerity unsurpassable and benevolence, the divine power, casting its radiance on the earth, hath filled the universe with the seed of salvation. For it was not without divine care that 42

so great a work was accomplished in so brief a space by the Lord, who, though despised as to appearance, was in reality adored, the expiator of sin, the Saviour, the clement, the Divine Word, He that is truly most manifest Deity, He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because He was His Son, and the Word was in God, not disbelieved in by all when He was first preached, nor altogether unknown when, assuming the character of man, and fashioning Himself in flesh, He enacted the drama of human salvation: for He was a true champion and a fellow-champion with the creature. And being communicated most speedily to men, having dawned from His Father's counsel quicker than the sun, with the most perfect ease He made God shine on us. Whence He was and what He was, He showed by what He taught and exhibited, manifesting Himself as the Herald of the Covenant, ...diffused over the whole face of the earth; by whom the universe has become an ocean of blessings. Exhortation to the Heathen, Chapter 10

Men and women in creation Regarding monks and the suitability of men and women to contemplate creation and find the transcendence of person necessary to come to experiences of the celestial realms, Clement asserts equal dignity and access to spiritual verities between men and women. Woman has the same spiritual dignity as man. Both of them have the same God, the same Teacher, the same Church. They breathe, see, hear, hope and love in the same way. Beings who have the same life, grace and salvation are called... to the same manner of being. Tutor, 1:4 (PG 8:260), as quoted in Olivier Clement, The Roots of Christian Mysticism, 1995, p. 292. What we find thru meditation on creation By meditation... we are no longer considering the physical properties of an object, its dimensions, its thickness, length or breadth. What is left from now on is only a sign, a unity provided, if I may so put it, with a position.... Beyond [the surface], we discover the immensity of Christ, and there, by means of his holiness, we advance toward the depth of his infinity until we glimpse the Almighty. ... The grace of understanding comes to us from God through his Son. Solomon bears eloquent witness to that when he says: “I have not the understanding of a man... Every word of God proves true... Do not add to his words” (Proverbs 30:2, 5-6). Moses also calls Wisdom by the symbolic name “tree of life” (Genesis 2:9) and it was planted in paradise. But is not this paradise also the world in which are all the elements of creation? There the word was made flesh; there he flowered and bore fruit; there he has given life to those who taste of his goodness. 43

Miscellanies V,XI (PG 9:109) as quoted in Olivier Clement, The Roots of Christian Mysticism, 1995, p. 223-224

A right attitude toward worldly possessions For he who holds possessions, and gold, and houses, as the gifts of God, and ministers from them to God who gives them for the salvation of men, and knows that he possesses them more for the sake of the brethren than his own, and is superior to the possession of them, not the slave of the things he possesses, and does not carry them about in his soul, nor bind his life within them, but is ever laboring at some good and divine work, even should he be deprived of them, this man is able with cheerful mind to bear their removal equally with their abundance. This is he who is blessed by the Lord, and a meet heir of the kingdom of heaven, not one who could not live rich. But he who carries his riches in his soul, and instead of God's Spirit bears in his heart gold or land, and is always acquiring possessions without end, and is perpetually on the outlook for more, bending downwards and fettered in the toils of the world, whence can he be able to desire and to mind the kingdom of heaven, -- a man who carries not a heart, but land or metal, who must perforce be found in the midst of the objects he has chosen? For where the mind of man is, there is also his treasure. Who is the Rich Man that Shall be Saved?, ch 16-17

Knowledge of God through creation We may gain some inkling of what God is if we attempt by means of every sensation to reach the reality of each creature, not giving up until we are alive to what transcends it ... Miscellanies, XI (PG 9,112)

A method of discerning God through creation We may gain some inkling of what God is if we attempt by means of every sensation to reach the reality of each creature, not giving up until we are alive to what transcends it ... Miscellanies, V.XI (PG 9,112) 44

Tertullian (160 - 230?)
One of the most learned scholars of his age, Tertullian was born in Carthage of North Africa of pagan parents. Eventually he traveled to Rome where he became a legal expert. After disgust at the corruption in the practice of law, and through admiration of the integrity which he witnessed among the Christians, he converted to Christianity and was soon ordained a priest. He was a prolific and original writer who turned his legal and mental skills to the defense of the Church. His contribution to a theology of creation lies in his emphasis upon how every aspect of creation is renewed and sustained by the power of God. In his later years, he criticized what he considered the excessive authority of the clergy and became associated with the Montanist sect. This created what is a continuing shadow over his later writings. Tertullian was the first of the fathers to write in Latin. God fashioned the universe We worship the one God who fashioned the whole fabric with the instrument of elements, bodies, spirits, and by His Word commanded it, by the reason with which He ordered it... whence it came about that the Greeks also give the universe the name of "kosmos." Invisible though He is, He is seen. Incomprehensible though He is, He is by grace revealed. Apologius XVII

Nature reflects the Resurrection Gaze now on these examples of divine power. Day dies into night, and is everywhere entombed in shadows. All things grow dull, voiceless, dumb. Everywhere there is quiet and rest. And so we mourn for the lost light. And yet once more, with all its own beauty, its power, its sun, the same and unharmed, it revives for the universal world, slaying night, which is its death, rending asunder its own sepulcher of darkness.... De Resurrectione Carnis I

Renewal as a universal lesson in creation Now winter and summer roll around in season, and the blessings of spring and autumn with their power and their fruits, while the earth receives from heaven the knowledge of how to clothe the trees after they are stripped bare, the knowledge of how to give color to flowers and spread the herbage over the earth again, and then those same seeds which were parched by the sun display themselves until at last they are consumed. Oh marvelous method of God, which preserves after denuding, which cuts only to restore, which destroys only to retain, which spoils 45

only to renew, and diminishes only to enlarge. Indeed, by this miracle, greater and riper blessings are received than any which were taken away -- so that destruction becomes increase, and all loss is gain. Let me say again: the condition of all things is renewal. All things when they have departed return to their first condition. Nothing perishes save into salvation. Therefore the whole revolving wheel of existence bears witness to the resurrection of the dead. De Resurrectione Carnis I Simplicity and sufficiency We do not urge that squalor and slovenliness are good things. We merely set forth the limit and bounds and just measure of bodily adornment. You must not overstep the line to which simple and sufficient dress requires.... Rather cloth yourself with the silk of honesty, the fine linen of righteousness and the purple of chastity. On the Dress of Women 1

God teaches through creation Nature is school-mistress, the soul the pupil; and whatever one has taught or the other has learned has come from God – the Teacher of the teacher. De Testimonio Animae

The prayer of the animals Cattle and wild beasts pray, and bend their knees, and in coming forth from their stalls and lairs look up to heaven, their mouths not idle, making the Spirit move in their fashion. Moreover, the birds taking flight lift themselves up to heaven and, instead of hands, spread out the cross of their wings, while saying something which may be supposed to be a prayer. Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 7

Discerning the Law of God 46

If you are looking for the law of God, you have it in that common one prevailing throughout the world, inscribed on tables of nature, to which the Apostle was wont to appeal, as when, speaking of the veiling of women, he says, “Does not nature teach you?” De Corona, circa 200

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One of the most eloquent of the western fathers, Marcus Minucius Felix was born in Certa of North Africa and traveled to Rome where he became a lawyer. Not much is known about his early life; he apparently converted to Christianity rather late – in middle age. His discourses on the Christian life follow the Ciceronean style of conversations between friends, and he uses this approach to address a number of theological issues. His writing is ranked as the most artistic and eloquent of all the early writers. His contribution to a theology of ecology lies in his emphasis upon the Beauty of nature and its ability to lead the soul into appreciation of divinity hidden in all things. He teaches that latent in creation is a subtle reflection of the promise of the Resurrection.

Knowledge of the cosmos aids in self-knowledge Man ought to know himself, but this knowledge cannot be attained by him unless first he is willing to acknowledge the entire scope of things, including God Himself. And then, from the constitution and furniture of the world itself, every one endowed with reason holds that it was established by God, and is governed and administered by Him. The Octavius XVII

God cares for every part of creation God does not care only for the universe, He also cares for all of its parts. ... If on enterring a house, you should behold everything refined, well arranged and adorned, you would believe that a master presided over it, and that he was much better and above all those excellent things. So in this house of the world, when you look upon the heaven and the earth, its providence, its ordering, its law, believe that there is a Lord and Parent of the universe far more glorious than the stars themselves, and the parts of the whole world. The Octavius XVIII

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Eminent theologian of the early Church, Origen was born in Alexandria, and became a brilliant philosopher and biblical exegete by the age of eighteen. He was the most prolific of the early Christian writers. Eusebius in his History of the Early Church lists over 2,000 articles and sermons which Origen authored. Early Christians considered Origen the “father of theology,” and he was the most influential of the Greek patristic writers. His writings outline the journey to knowledge of God as having three stages: the acquisition of the virtues which purifies the individual which eventually allows one to hear the “still, small voice”; the contemplation of nature by which one enters into dialogue with God; and finally for a few, "theologia," which involves actual experience of the "Logos." He teaches that knowledge of creation is like Scripture: both require ascesis and contemplation for depth of understanding, and both can lead to a full knowledge of God. Only a small number of his writings remain, largely because three hundred years after his death, some of his concepts were declared uncanonical and destroyed. Like most early Christians, much of his writing is based upon inspired knowledge and experience of Christ. He often uses creation as a fertile field for insight into the divine nature, and says that everything in creation represents some aspect of the nature of God. Among his controversial teachings is the concept that it is a necessity to affirm an eternal creation in order to affirm the immutable and eternal nature of the Creator-God. Origin was martyred during the Decian persecution after a period of prolonged and cruel torture. The beginning of creation There is a beginning in a matter of origin, as might appear in the saying, "In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). This meaning, however, appears more plainly in the Book of Job in the passage, "This is the beginning of God's creation, made for His angels to mock at" (Job 40:19). One would suppose that the heavens and the earth were made first, of all that was made at the creation of the world. But the second passage suggests a better view, namely, that as many beings were framed with a body, the first made of these was the creature called dragon, but called in another passage the great whale (i.e., “leviathan,” in Job 41:1) which the Lord tamed. We must ask about this, whether, when the saints were living a blessed life apart from matter and from any body, the dragon, falling from the pure life, became fit to be bound in matter and in a body, so that the Lord could say, speaking through storm and clouds, "This is the beginning of the creation of God, made for His angels to mock at." It is possible, however, that the dragon is not positively the beginning of the creation of the Lord, but that there were many creatures made with a body for the angels to mock at, and that the dragon was the first of these, while others could subsist in a body without such reproach. "The Beginning of Creation," Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Book I:17

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Knowledge of creation Now among spiritual gifts there is one that is indeed the greatest of them all, namely that word of knowledge which is imparted by the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:8).... The supreme function of knowledge is therefore, to know the Trinity; and, in the second place, to know God's creation, even as did he who said, "For He hath given me the true knowledge of the things that are..." (Wisdom 7:17). Commentary on the Song of Songs II

The microcosmic universe within Understand that you have within yourself, upon a small scale, a second universe: within you is a sun, there is a moon, and there are also stars. On Prayer

The diversity of the world joins together into one nature The world in all its diversity and varying conditions is composed not only of rational and diviner natures, but of dumb animals, wild and tame beasts, of birds and of all the things which live in the waters.... Seeing there is so great a variety in the world, and so great a diversity among rational beings themselves, what cause ought to be assigned for the existence of the world? But God, by ineffable skill of His wisdom, transforming and restoring all things, recalls those very creatures which differed so much from each other in mental conformation to one agreement of labor and purpose, so that although they are under the influence of different motives, they nevertheless complete the fullness and perfection of one world, and the very variety of minds tends to one end of perfection. And although the world is arranged into different kinds of offices and conditions, nevertheless the whole world ought to be regarded as some huge and immense animal, which is kept together by the power and reason of God as one soul. This is indicated in sacred scripture by the declaration of the prophet, "Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 23:24), and again, "The heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool" (Isaiah 66:1). De Principiis, Book II:1-3

Seeing the "bridegroom of the soul" in creation

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If then we too want to see the Word of God, the Bridegroom of the soul, "leaping upon the mountains and skipping over the hills," we must first hear his voice and then when we have heard him in all things, we shall be able to see Him under the same conditions as those in which the Bride is said to have seen Him here. Commentary on St. John, Book III

Man is made "in the image" and toward the “likeness” of God. Man received the honor of the image of God at his first creation, but the full perfection of God's likeness will only be conferred upon him at the consummation of all things. On Prayer

Some things in creation are hard to understand There are things in creation hard to understand, or even undiscoverable for human beings. We are not in consequence to condemn the Creator of the universe just because we cannot discover the reason for the creation of scorpions or other venomous beasts. The right thing for a man who is aware of the weakness of our race and who knows it is impossible to understand the reasons of God's design even when most minutely examined, is to ascribe the knowledge of these things to God, who will later on, if we are judged worthy, reveal to us the matters about which we are now reverently in doubt. Commentary on the Psalms, ii, as quoted by D. Wallace-Hadrill, The Greek Patristic View of Nature, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1968, pg. 114.

The whole world is one great creature As our one body is an organism made up of many members and is held together by one soul, so I am of the opinion that the whole world is a kind of huge immense living creature, which is held together by the power and reason of God as by one soul. De Principiis IV:1:3 53

If you obey God, creation serves you Regarding the parting of the Dead Sea by Moses when the Israelites were fleeing the Egyptians, Origen writes, Notice the goodness of God, the Creator. If you obey his will, if you follow his Law, he compels the elements themselves to serve you even against their own nature. Commentary on Exodus, Homily V

A difference between what God creates and what He commands “In the beginning God made heaven and earth.” Likewise Scripture says, “And God made two great lights.” And now again, “Let us make man.” The work of God is attributed to these alone, but to none of the others. Only heaven and earth, the sun, moon and stars, and now man have been made by God, but all the rest is said to be made by his command. From this, therefore, consider how great is man’s greatness, who is made equal to such great and distinguished elements, who has the honor of heaven for which reason also the kingdom of heaven is promised to him. ... I see, however, something even more distinguished in the condition of man, which is not said elsewhere. “And God made man, according to the image of God He made him.” We find this attribute neither to heaven nor earth nor the sun or moon. We do not understand, however, this man whom Scripture says was made “according to the image of God,” to be corporeal. For the form of the body does not contain the image of God, nor is the corporeal man said to be “made,” but “formed,” as is written in the words which follow. For the text says: “And God formed man,” that is fashioned, “from the slime of the earth.” But it is our inner man, invisible, incorporeal, incorruptible, and immortal which is made “according to the image of God.” For it is in such qualities as these that the image of God is more correctly understood. Commentary on Genesis, Homily 1:13

An allegorical meaning in dominion

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These words (of Genesis 1:28) have already been interpreted in their literal meaning. But allegorically, those things no less of which we spoke above seem to me to be indicated in the fish and birds or animals and creeping things of the earth. I mean, either the things which proceed from the inclination of the soul and the thoughts of the heart, of those things which are brought forth from bodily desires and the impulses of the flesh. The saints and all who preserve the blessing of God in themselves exercise dominion over these things (of creation) guiding the total man by the will of the spirit. But on the other hand, the same things which are brought forth by the vices of the flesh and pleasures of the body hold dominion over sinners. Commentary on Genesis, Homily 1:16

Nature and Scripture offer the same conclusions There is a parallel between nature and Scripture that is so complete, says Origen, that we learn the same things from one source as the other. This he says is true because of a common origin in the Word of God. This explains why “we must necessarily believe that the person who is asking questions of nature and the person who is asking questions of the Scriptures are bound to arrive at the same conclusions.” Quoted by St. Maximus the Confessor, in Charles Upton, Who is the Earth: How to See God in the Natural World, San Rafael, 1997, p. 59.

Each word of Scripture is like a seed Each word of divine Scripture is like a seed whose nature is to multiply diffusely, reborn into an ear of corn or whatever its species be, when it has been cast into the earth. Its increase is proportionate to the diligent labor of the skillful farmer or the fertility of the earth. So, therefore, it is brought to pass that, by diligent cultivation, a little “mustard seed,” for example, “which is least of all, may be made greater than all herbs and become a tree so that the birds of heaven come and dwell in its branches.” Commentary on Exodus, Homily 1

The divine art of the Creator is hidden in creation 55

The divine art that is manifested in the structure of the world is not only to be seen in the sun, the moon and the stars; it operates also on earth on a reduced scale. The hand of the Lord has not neglected the bodies of the smallest animals – and still less their souls – because each one of them is seen to possess some feature that is personal to it, for instance, the way it protects itself. Nor has the hand of the Lord neglected the plants of the earth, each of which has some detail bearing the mark of the divine art, whether it be the roots, the leaves, the fruits or the variety of species. In the same way, in books written under the influence of divine inspiration, Providence imparts to the human race a wisdom that is more than human, sowing in each letter some saving truth in so far as that letter can convey it, marking out thus the path of wisdom. For once it has been granted that the Scriptures have God himself for their author, we must necessarily believe that the person who is asking questions of nature, and the person who is asking questions of the Scriptures, are bound to arrive at the same conclusions. Commentary on Psalm 1, 3 (PG 12, 1081)

God’s invisible nature is perceptible through creation The apostle Paul teaches us that God’s “invisible nature” has been “clearly perceived in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20). He shows us that this visible world contains teaching about the invisible world, and that this earth includes “images of celestial realities...” It could even be that God who made the human race “in His own image and likeness” (Genesis 1:27) also gave to other creatures a likeness to certain celestial realities. Perhaps this resemblance is so detailed that even the grain of mustard seed has its counterpart in the kingdom of heaven. If so, by that law of its nature that makes it the smallest of seeds and yet capable of becoming larger than all the others and of sheltering in its branches the birds of the air, it would represent for us not a particular celestial reality, but the kingdom of heaven as a whole. In this sense it is possible that other seeds of the earth also contain an analogy with celestial objects and are a sign of them. And if that is true for seeds, it must be the same for plants. And if it is true for plants, it cannot be otherwise for animals, birds, reptiles and fourfooted beasts.... It may be granted that these creatures, seeds, plants, roots and animals, are undoubtedly at the service of humanity’s physical needs. However they include the shape and image of the invisible world, and they also have the task of elevating the soul and guiding it to the contemplation of celestial objects. Perhaps this is what the spokesman of Divine Wisdom means when he expresses himself in the words: “It is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements; the beginning and end and middle of times, the alternation of the solstices and the changes of the seasons, the cycles of the year and the constellations of the stars, the natures of animals and the tempers of wild beasts, the powers of spirits..., the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots; I learned both what is secret and what is manifest” (Wisdom of Solomon 7:17-21). He shows thus, without any doubt, that everything that is seen is related to something that is hidden. That is to say that each visible reality is a symbol, and it refers to an invisible reality to which it is related. Commentary on the Song of Songs, 3 56

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Dominion through the Holy Spirit The saints and all who preserve the blessing of God in themselves exercise dominion over these things [of creation] guiding the total man by the will of the spirit. But on the other hand, the same things which are brought forth by the vices of the flesh and pleasures of the body hold dominion over sinners. Commentary on Genesis, Homily 1:16

An eternal creation We can therefore imagine no moment whence the power of God was not engaged in acts of well-doing; whence it follows that there always existed objects for this well-doing, namely, God’s works or creatures. On First Principles, Book I, 4:4

Release from the ancient curse If you look to our Lord Jesus Christ of whom it is said: “Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world,”... you will find him to be the one who truly has given rest to men and has freed the earth from the curse with which the Lord God cursed it. Commentary on Genesis, Homily II:3

Meaning of the ancient tabernacle in relation to the cosmos If anyone should give his attention to these matters [regarding the form of the Hebrew tabernacle given to Moses on Mount Sinai and the exodus out of Egypt into the desert] in the order of their sequence and spiritually fulfilling each [requirement], that man can consequently attain to the contemplation and understanding of the ancient holy tabernacle. The divine Scriptures speak about this tabernacle in many places. They appear to indicate certain things of which human hearing can scarcely be capable. The Apostle Paul especially relates to us certain indications of a more excellent knowledge about the understanding of this tabernacle, but, perhaps considering the weakness of his hearers, closes, as it were, those very things which he opens. For he says, writing to the Hebrews, “For a first tabernacle was made which contained the candlestick and the setting forth of loaves. This was 58

called the Holy of Holies. After the second veil, however, is the tabernacle which is called Holy and contains the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant which contained the two tablets and the manna and Aaron’s rod which had blossomed” (Hebrews 9:2-4). But he adds these words: “which are not to be spoken of now” (Hebrews 9:5). Some take the words, “which are not to be spoken of now,” to refer to [the difficulty of explaining these things] ... because of the greatness of the mysteries. But the Apostle does not leave us completely dejected [or without clue]. As is his custom, he opens a few things among many so that it might be closed to the indifferent, but might be discovered by those who seek and opened to those who knock. He repeats, therefore, about the tabernacle and says, “For Jesus has not entered into holy places made with hands, patterns of the true, but into heaven itself, that he may appear now in the sight of God through the veil, that is his flesh.” He, therefore, who has interpreted the veil of the interior of the tabernacle as the flesh of Christ, the holy places themselves as heaven or the heavens, the high priest as the Lord Christ, and says that he entered “once into the holy places after he discovered an eternal redemption,” from these few words, if anyone knows how to understand Paul’s meaning, he can observe how great a sea of understanding he has disclosed to us. But they who love the letter of the Law of Moses too much, but flee its spirit, hold the Apostle Paul suspect when he brings forth interpretations of this kind. Let us see, therefore, if some of the holy men of old also did not hold an opinion of the tabernacle far different than those latter [men] now suppose. Hear how magnificently David, a distinguished man of the prophets, felt about the tabernacle: “While,” he says, “it is said to me day after day, where is your God? I have remembered these things, and I have poured out my soul in me, since I shall enter the place of the wonderful tabernacle, unto the house of God” (Psalm 41:4-50. And again he says in the fourteenth Psalm, “Lord, who will dwell in your tabernacle? Or who will rest on your holy mountain? He who enters without a spot and works justice,” etc. What then is that “place of the wonderful tabernacle” from which one enters “the house of God,” because of whose memory his soul has been poured out in him and, as it were, has been dissipated in a kind of intolerable desire. Are we really to believe that the prophet, desiring that tabernacle which consisted of hides and curtains and goat-hair coverings and other common materials was poured out in soul and failed in his whole mind? Or certainly how will it be true to say about that tabernacle that only “the innocent in hands and pure in heart, who did not receive his soul in vain” (Psalm 23:4), will inhabit it, when the history of the kings transmits that the worst priests, “sons of pestilence,” have dwelt in the tabernacle of God and the ark of the covenant itself also was captured by foreigners and detained with the impious and the profane?” (1 Kings 4). From all of this it is evident that the prophet felt in a far different sense about this tabernacle in which he says that only “the innocent of hands and pure in heart, who did not receive his soul in vain, nor do evil to his neighbor, and did not accept reproach against his neighbor,” will dwell. It is necessary, therefore, that the inhabitant of this tabernacle which the Lord erected, not man, be such a person.... Is a way not yet opened to you from all these words by which you may leave earth behind, following the understanding of the prophet and Apostle and... with your whole mind and understanding, ascend to heaven and there seek the magnificence of the eternal tabernacle whose form is imperfectly represented on earth by Moses? For thus also the Lord says to him, “See to it,” the text says, “you shall make all things according to the form which was shown to you on the mountain” (Exodus 25:40). But the human mind, and especially ours, who know that we are the least or even nobodies in divine wisdom, can perhaps arrive at the point that it may perceive that these things which are 59

introduced in the divine books are not said of earthly things, but of heavenly, and are forms... not of corporeal things, but of spiritual.... The whole people [in the original story of building the Ark of the Covenant] are ordered to construct the tabernacle, with each one contributing all he can, that in a certain sense all at the same time might be one tabernacle.... For God says to Moses that each one, “as it seemed good in his heart, should offer for the construction of the tabernacle gold, silver, precious stones, bronze, then in addition, linen, scarlet, blue, and purple, also red and blue hides of rams, and wood not subject to rot, and goats hair. Women wise in the skill of weaving are also required, and craftsmen who know how to prepare gold, silver, bronze and stones and to fashion wood with gold. Next the measurements of the courts are delivered. These courts are made secure, stretched out in curtains, erected on columns, made firm with bars, and stretched tight with ropes. There are, in addition, curtain places which are separated by veils. One is called the Holy Place and the other divided no less by a second veil is called the Holy of Holies. The ark of the covenant is placed inside. The cherubim stand over it with wings outstretched and touching one another. A kind of base and seat, as it were, is made for them from gold and placed there, which is called the place of atonement. The golden altar of incense is also there. Then in the outer place the golden candlestick is set in the southern part that it might face north.... And also the altar of whole burnt offerings is placed next to the inner veil. But why am I going through these things piece by piece? ... The reason for constructing the tabernacle is found already mentioned in the words above when the Lord says to Moses, “You shall make for me a sanctuary and thence I will be seen by you” (Exodus 25:8). God wishes, therefore, that we make a sanctuary for him. For he promises that if we make a sanctuary for him, he can be seen by us. Whence also the Apostle says to the Hebrews, “Follow peace and the sanctuary, without which no one will see God” (Hebrews 12:14). ... Each of us can also build a tabernacle for God in himself. For if, as some before have said, this tabernacle represents the whole cosmos, and each individual can also contain an image of the world, why cannot each one also complete a form of the tabernacle in himself? He ought, therefore, to apply the pillars of the virtues to himself, silver pillars, that is, rational patience.... And let him place that candlestick in the south that it may look to the north. For when the light has been lit, ... it ought always to look to the north and watch for “him who is from the north.” ... Let him have an altar of incense in his innermost heart also, that he may say, “We are a good odor of Christ.” And let him have an ark of the covenant in which are the tables of the Law, that “he may meditate on the Law of God day and night” (Psalm 1:2)....

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But over and above all this splendor let him wear the adornment of the high priest. For that part which is the most precious in man can hold the office of high priest. Some call it the overseer in the heart, others rational understanding, or intellectual substance, but whatever it is called, it is that part of us in which we can have a capacity for God. Let that part in us, therefore, as a kind of high priest, be adorned with garments and costly jewels, with a long linen priestly garment.... If you, therefore, wish to perform the high priesthood properly for God, let the message of the Gospel and the faith in the Holy Trinity always be held in your breast.... In this manner, therefore, our inner man is adorned as high priest to God that he may be able to enter not only the sanctuary, but also the Holy of Holies; that he may approach the mercy seat where the cherubim are and thence God may appear to him. The sanctuary can be those things which a holy way of life can have in the present world. But the Holy of Holies, which is entered only once, is, I think, the passage to heaven, where the mercy seat and the cherubim are located, and where God will be able to appear to the pure in heart, because the Lord says, “Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Commentary on The Book of Exodus, “On the Tabernacle,” Homily IX:1-4, in The Fathers of the Church, Vol. 71, CUA Press, Washington, DC, 1981, pp. 334-344

Men and women equal in the sight of God Sacred scripture does not set men and women in opposition to one another in respect to gender. Sex does not constitute any difference in the sight of God. Homilies on Joshua 9 (GCS 8:356)

Two kinds of dominion The saints and all those who preserve the blessings of God in themselves exercise dominion over these things guiding the total man by the will of the Spirit. But on the other hand, the same things which are brought forth by the vices of the flesh and pleasures of the body hold dominion over sinners. Commentary on Genesis, Homily 1:16, in The Fathers of the Church, Vol. 71, CUA Press, Washington, DC, 1981, p. 69

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Contemplation begins only after the completion of ascetical exercises (praxis), the aim of which is the achievement of interior freedom (apatheia); that is to say, the possibility of loving. Contemplation consists of two stages: direct communion with God is the aim, of course, but first we must come to 'knowledge of creatures' or 'contemplation of nature' (physike theoria), that is, the contemplation 'of the secrets of the glory of God hidden in his creatures'. Commentary on Psalm 1,3 (PG 12,1081)

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St. Anthony is one of the founders of Christian monasticism in Egypt. Saints and emperors journeyed to his desert cave for counsel. He maintained a small subsistence garden and is known for his rigorous asceticism and his struggles with demonic forces. He acquired an intimate knowledge of God's presence through prayer, but also through the animals and the things in the created world. Once when a visiting philosopher asked how such a learned man as he got along in the desert without the benefit of books, Anthony replied, "My book is the nature of created things, and as often as I have a mind to read the words of God, they are at my hand." St. Anthony is known for his great love and affection for all the animals which surrounded his desert abode. He reposed in the Lord on Mt. Colzim near the Red Sea at the age of 105. The reason for man's creation Why was man created? In order that, by apprehending God's creatures, he might contemplate and glorify Him who created them for man's sake. The intellect responsive to God's love is an invisible blessing given by God to those whose life by its virtue commends itself to Him. A man is free (to fulfill this role) if he is not a slave to sensual pleasures, but through good judgement and self-restraint he masters the body and with true gratitude is satisfied with what God gives him, even though it is quite scanty. On the Character of Men 55-56

The animals and the garden in the desert Anthony was drawn to the desert at an early age after he heard a sermon from the Gospel of St. Matthew in which Christ said, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me.” Anthony then sold all of his belongings and went deep into the Egyptian desert. He moved to a place near a small spring and planted a few vegetables in order that visitors would find a little relief from the rigor of that hard trip to his remote location. At first, however, when the antelope and other beasts came to the spring for water, they would often damage his crops. One time he came to one of the animals and said, “Why do you hurt me when I do you no injury? Leave, and in the name of the Lord do not come here any longer.” From that time on, they did not come near his little garden. Abridged from Joanne Stefanatos, Animals and Man: A State of Blessedness, Light and Life Press, Minneapolis, 1992, p. 88.

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Creation of the animals God, by His Logos, created the different kinds of animals to meet the variety of our needs: some for our food, others for our service. And He created man to apprehend them and their actions and to appraise them gratefully. Man should therefore strive not to die, like the nonrational animals, without having attained some apprehension of God and His works. Philokalia, Vol. 1:47, p. 336.

The Directing Power of Providence God's Providence controls the universe. It is present everywhere. Providence is the sovereign Logos of God, imprinting form on the unformed materiality of the world, making and fashioning all things. Matter could not have acquired an articulated structure were it not for the directing power of the Logos who is the Image, Intellect, Wisdom and Providence of God. Philokalia, Vol. 1:156

The action of divine providence Providence is manifested in events which occur in accordance with divine necessity — such as the daily rising and setting of the sun, and the yielding of fruits by the earth. Law, similarly, is manifested in events which occur in accordance with human necessity. Philokalia, Vol. 1:120

Creation declares its Creator For creation, as if written in characters and by means of its order and harmony, declares in a loud voice its own Master and Creator.... For this reason, God, by his own Word, gave creation such order as is found therein, so that while He is by nature invisible, men might yet be able to know Him through His works. "Treatise Against the Pagans," Ref. 746-747, in The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 320.

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The meaning of creation For man's sake God has created everything: earth and heaven and the beauty of the stars. Men cultivate the earth for themselves, but if they fail to recognize how great is God's Providence, their souls lack all spiritual understanding. Philokalia, Vol. 1:133 Creation and the power over good and evil God, being eternally good and bounteous, gave man power over good and evil. He made him the gift of spiritual knowledge so that, through contemplating the world and what is in it, he might come to know Him who created all things for man's sake. But the impious are free to choose not to know. They are free to disbelieve, to make mistakes and to conceive ideas which are contrary to the truth. Such is the degree to which man has power over good and evil. Philokalia, Vol. 1:125

Contemplation of nature gives knowledge of God For one who has faith and determination, it is not difficult to gain spiritual understanding of God. If you wish to contemplate Him, look to the providential harmony in all things created by His Logos. Philokalia, Vol. 1:160

The souls of animals Because some people impiously dare to say that plants and vegetables have a soul, I will write briefly about this for the guidance of the simple. Plants have a natural life, but they do not have a soul. Man is called an intelligent animal because he has intellect and is capable of acquiring knowledge. The other animals and the birds can make sounds because they possess breath and soul. All things that are subject to growth and decline are alive; but the fact that they live and grow does not necessarily mean that they all have souls. There are four categories of living beings. The first are immortal and have souls, such as angels. The second have intellect, soul and breath, such as men. The third have breath and soul, such as the animals. The fourth have only life, such as plants. The life of plants is without soul, breath, intellect or immortality. These four attributes, on the other hand, presuppose the possession of life. 66

Philokalia, Volume 1, Section on St. Anthony, Faber and Faber, London, 1979, p. 354.

Lactantius (252? - 317)
Lucius Caelius Firmianus Lactantius was born in North Africa and converted to Christianity during the reign of the vehemently anti-Christian emperor Diocletian. He is an eloquent speaker and writer whose writings remain significant because they provide perspective on the relationship between creation and humans, and because of the skill which he employs to refute the moral and philosophical basis for the pagan religions. To Lactantius the means to a true knowledge of God and creation is the universal religion called Christianity. He was the first person to attempt a comprehensive statement of Christian doctrine in Latin. Human purpose in creation You have been born for the sake of seeing the sky and the sun: who has led you to this spectacle, or what does your vision confer to heaven and the nature of things? To be sure, it is that you may praise this immense and marvelous work. Confess, then, that God is the establisher of all things who has brought you into this world a witness, as it were, and a praiser of His work so mighty. You believe it is great to see the sky and the sun. Why, therefore, do you not thank Him who is the Author of this benefit? Why do you not estimate with your mind the virtue, providence, and power of Him whose works you admire? Divine Institutes Perspective on Earthly Concerns It is fitting to proclaim again that verse from Persius, "O minds bent upon the earth and empty of heavenly things!" ... (For those who fail to pray) why do you deprive yourselves of celestial benefits and of your own will fall prone to the ground? For you are turned into miserable ones of the earth when you seek below that which you ought to have sought on high. When you submit yourselves to the earth by itself, you submit yourself to what is lower and make yourself lowlier.... Therefore to despise and tread upon the earth is nothing else than not to adore images because they are made of earth; and likewise, it is not to desire riches and to spurn the delights of the body, since wealth and the body itself, whose hospitality we make use of, is of the earth. Cherish the living, that you may live. Divine Institutes, Book II,ii

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Now let us seal the whole argument with a brief summarization. The world was made for this reason, that we might be born. We, in turn, are born, that we might know God, the Maker of the world and of us. We know, in turn, that we may worship. And again, we worship so that we may receive immortality as the reward of our labors -- for the worship of God entails great labors indeed. And, in turn, we are recompensed with the reward of immortality so that, having been made like the angels, we may serve the Most High Father and Lord forever and may be an everlasting kingdom unto God. Divine Institutes, Book VII, 466

Serving God in the world We are born that we might contemplate the Maker of all things, that is that we may discern Him with our minds. So, if anyone should ask a man who is truly wise for what reason he was born, he will answer fearlessly that he has been born of the favor of God who has generated us so that we may serve Him. Now to serve God is nothing other than to behold how good are His works and to observe justice. But if he had said that he was born to behold the world, he would not have fulfilled the function of man because the soul is of as much more worth than the body as God is greater than the world. The world then ought not to be beheld by our eyes because both are bodies, but God ought to be contemplated by our souls, because God, as He is Himself immortal, has intended the soul to last forever. Divine Institutes, Book III, ix

Nature is the work of God There is nothing else in life on which our plan and condition can depend but the knowledge of God who created us, and the religious and pious worship of Him; and since the philosophers have wandered from this, it is plain that they were not wise. They sought wisdom, indeed, but because they did not seek it in a right manner, they sunk down to a greater distance, and fell into such great errors that they did not even possess common wisdom.... For they, either being ignorant by whom the world was made, or wishing to persuade men that nothing was completed by divine intelligence, said that nature was the mother of all things, as though they should say that all things were produced of their own accord, by which word they altogether confess their own ignorance. For nature, apart from divine providence and power, is absolutely nothing. But if they call God nature, what perverseness is it, to use the name of nature rather than of God? But if nature is the plan, or necessity, or condition of birth, it is not by itself capable of sensation; but there must necessarily be a divine mind, which by its foresight furnishes the beginning of their existence to all things. Or, if nature is heaven and earth, and everything which is created, nature is not God, but the work of God. The Divine Institutes, Book III, ch. xxviii, 68

“Of True Religion and of Nature,” p. 97

St. Pachomius (292 - 346)
Pachomius was born of pagan parents in Egypt and became an officer in the Roman Legion. While on a military campaign, he was indelibly touched by the warm hospitality of local Christians. When discharged from military service, he returned to his encounter with the Christian community, was baptized and sought spiritual perfection in the desert. Pachomius was the first to codify monastic disciplines into a set of rules. In his rule, he emphasized that the saints are models for us. When he prayed, it was for many particular causes, but especially for the health and vitality of the whole world. His ecological legacy is a store of anecdotes and legends which depict such a keen rapport between Christ and himself that all of creation acted to support his prayers.

A prayer for the whole world Lord, God Almighty, blessed God, grant us to carry through this service my fellow-members as I have begun, that we may be worthy of you; that you may dwell in our bodies, in our souls, and in our spirits; and that we may always be perfect in your love, walking before you according to your good pleasure. May we not sin against you, or put to the test your Holy Spirit in whose name we have been sealed.... For He makes the sun to shine upon the earth, enlightening those who carry on their work, the moon and the stars shine for us by night. The seasons of fruitfulness, the rains, the dew, and the winds destined to make grow the harvests that have been sown in the field; All things that are necessary to men and to creatures have been created by God for man's needs. The Bohairic Life, pg. 138           69

  The education and training of St. Pachomius   St. Pachomius was the abbot of a remote monastery far out in the Egyptian desert. One time, relate the brothers, the demons tried to tempt him into frivolous laughter by bouncing a leaf around his cell. But Pachomius, realizing the source of this strange phenomena, groaned and called upon the Lord with his prayers, and immediately this strange movement was halted. Through experiences like this, and many others, Pachomius was taught to place all of his trust in God. And so he was able to walk through swamps infested with poisonous snakes and scorpions, and even crocodiles, and he was never bothered. Such was his holiness and loving connection to the animals that if he ever had to cross the river, the crocodiles or hippopotamus would come to his aid and help him across the river. Then with the utmost subservience they would set him down on the opposite bank at whatever spot he wished. Legends of the Egyptian Thebaid, as rendered by Helen Waddell, Beasts and Saints, Constable & Co., Toronto, 1934.

God's presence fills the earth Do not go from one place to another, saying, "I will find God here or I will find God there." God has said, "I fill the earth, I fill the heavens." And again He has said, "If you cross over the water, I am with you." My son, be aware that God is within you, so that you may dwell in his law and commandments. The Instructions 25

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St. Athanasius (297 - 373)
Bishop of Alexandria and patron saint of conferences, Athanasius entered into many dialogues to articulate and preserve an authentic Christian understanding of Church doctrine. He frequently used lessons from nature to exemplify his instruction and his writings are filled with a sense of creation as a primary instructor of Christian life. Athanasius was instrumental in selecting the books of the modern New Testament. He saw creation as “a living book” which spoke of its Creator as it revealed the Logos. He praises this "Book of Creation" and says, "the creatures are like letters proclaiming in loud voices to their Divine Master and Creator the harmony and order of things." Athanasius especially witnesses to the immanence of God in creation by showing how actively God is involved in both the creation and the fulfillment of man. Athanasius participated in the first great Ecumenical Council at Nicea, and he holds the title, "the defender of Orthodoxy."

Knowledge of God through knowledge of creation But since man's carelessness, little by little, descends to lower things, God made provision even for this weakness of theirs, by sending a law, and prophets, men such as they knew, so that even if they were not ready to look up to heaven and know their Creator, they might have their instruction from those near at hand. For men are able to learn from men more directly about higher things. So it was open to them, by looking into the height of heaven, and perceiving the harmony of creation, to know its Ruler, the Word of the Father, who by his own providence over all things makes known the Father to all, and to this end moves all things, that through Him all may know God. On the Incarnation I

Christ, the ordering principle of the universe For He was not, as might be imagined, circumscribed in the body, nor, while present in the body, was he absent elsewhere; nor, while he moved the body, was the universe left void of his workings and providence; but, thing most marvelous, Word as He was, so far from being contained by anything, he rather contained all things himself; and just as while present in the whole creation, he is at once distinct in being from the universe, and present in all things by his own power -- giving orders to all things, and over all and in all revealing his own providence, and giving life to each thing and all things, including the whole without being included, but being in His own Father alone wholly and in every respect, thus, even while present in a human body and himself quickening it, he was, without inconsistency, quickening the universe as well, and was in every process of nature, and was outside the whole, and while known from the body by his works, he was none the less manifest from the working of the universe as well. 72

On the Incarnation I

The earth as a great body The philosophers of the Greeks say that the universe is a great body; and rightly so. For we see it and its parts as objects of our senses. If then the Word of God is in the universe, which is a body, and has united Himself with the whole, and with all its parts, what is there surprising or absurd if we say that He has united himself with man also. On the Incarnation I

What the Word of God in Creation Reveals By the greatness and the beauty of the creatures proportionately the Maker of them is seen. For just as by looking up to the heaven and seeing its order and the light of the stars, it is possible to infer the Word Who ordered these things, so by beholding the Word of God, one needs must behold also God His Father, proceeding from Whom He is rightly called His Father's Interpreter and Messenger. And this one may see from our own experience; for if when a word proceeds from men we infer that the mind is its source, and by thinking about the word, see with our reason the mind which it reveals, by far greater evidence and incomparably more, seeing the power of the Word, we receive knowledge also of His good Father, as the Saviour Himself says, "He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father." Against the Heathen 45:1-2

The beginning of creation and its renewal are from the same Word We will begin with the creation of the world and with God its Maker. The first fact you must grasp is this: the renewal of creation has been wrought by the Self-same Word Who made it in the beginning. There is thus no inconsistency between creation and salvation; for the One Father has employed the same Agent for both works, effecting the salvation of the world through the same Word Who made it at the first. In regard to the making of the universe and the creation of all things there have been various opinions, and each person has propounded the theory that suited his own taste.... But the impiety of their foolish talk is plainly declared by the divine teaching of the Christian faith. From it we know that, because there is Mind behind the Universe, it did not originate itself; because God is infinite, not finite, it was not made from pre-existent matter, but out of nothing and out of non-existence absolute and utter, God brought it into being through the Word. He says as much in Genesis... and again through that most helpful book, "The 73

Shepherd" (The Shepherd of Hermas, Book II:1), "Believe thou first and foremost that there is one God Who created and arranged all things and brought them out of non-existence into being." Paul indicates the same thing... (Hebrews 11:3). He made all things out of nothing through His own Word, our Lord Jesus Christ; and of all these His earthly creatures He reserved special mercy for the race of men. Upon them, therefore, upon men who, as animals, were essentially impermanent, He bestowed a grace which other creatures lacked, the impress of His own Image... so that, reflecting Him... they might continue forever in the blessed and only true life of the saints in paradise.... But if they went astray and became vile, throwing away their birthright of beauty, then they would come under the natural law of death and live no longer in paradise, but, dying outside of it, continue in death and in corruption.... What was God to do in the face of this dehumanizing of mankind (through the sin which emerged)? ... What else could He possibly do, being God, but renew His Image in mankind, so that through it men might once more come to know Him? And how could this be done save by the coming of the very Image Himself, our Saviour Jesus Christ? ... In order to effect this re-creation, He had first to do away with death and corruption. Therefore He assumed a human body, in order that in it death might once for all be destroyed, and that men might be renewed according to the Image.... Fitting indeed, then, and wholly constant was the death on the cross for us; and we can see how reasonable it was, and why it is that the salvation of the world could be accomplished in no other way. From the scriptures you will learn also of His second manifestation to us, glorious and divine indeed, when He shall come not in lowliness, but in His proper glory, no longer in humiliation but in majesty, no longer to suffer but to bestow on us all the fruit of His cross – the Resurrection and incorruptibility. De Incarn. Verbi Dei 1-3,13,26, 56

Only a pure heart understands the lessons of the saints

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But for the searching and right understanding of the scriptures there is need of a good life and a pure soul, and for Christian virtue to guide the mind to grasp, so far as human nature can, the truth concerning God the Word. One cannot possibly understand the teaching of the saints unless one has a pure mind and is trying to imitate their life.... Similarly anyone who wishes to understand the mind of the sacred writers must first cleanse his own life, and approach the saints by copying their deeds. Thus united with them in the fellowship of life, he will both understand the things revealed to them by God and thenceforth escaping the peril that threatens sinners in the judgement, will receive that which is laid up for the saints in the kingdom of heaven. De Incarnatione Verbi Dei 57 Christ's purpose of renewal of mankind You know what happens when a portrait that has been painted on a panel becomes obliterated through external stains. The artist does not throw away the panel, but the subject of the portrait has to come and sit for it again, and the likeness is re-drawn on the same material. Even so was it with the All-holy Son of God. He, the image of the Father, came and dwelt in our mist, in order that He might renew mankind made after Himself.... On the Incarnation, as quoted in Loren Wilkenson, Caring for Creation in Your Own Backyard, Servant Press, Ann Arbor, 1992, pg. 109.

Only humans fail in their purpose in all creation Nothing in creation has erred from the path of God's purpose for it, save only man. Sun, moon, stars, water, air, none of these has swerved from their order, but, knowing the Word as their Maker and their King, remained as they were made. Men alone, having rejected what is good, have invented nothings instead of the truth, and have ascribed the honor due to God and knowledge concerning Him to demons and men in the form of stones. On the Incarnation of the Word of God

God is within and yet encloses all things God is self-existent, enclosing all things and enclosed by none; within all things according to His goodness and power, and yet without all [things] in His proper nature. De Decretis, 3:11 75

Apply tests for discerning the true cosmology

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Athanasius tells us that there are many opinions about creation, but that a true cosmology must accord with all of the other elements of Christian faith. This means that a holy unity exists within Christian doctrine in which each part integrates with all of the other parts. It also means that tests are necessary to discern whether a new doctrine about creation is valid or not: In regard to the making of the universe and the creation of all things, there have been various opinions, and each person has propounded the theory that suited his own taste.... But the impiety of their foolish talk is plainly declared by the divine teaching of the Christian faith. De Incarnatione Verbi Dei 2

The presence of the Holy Spirit in creation As the creative will of a sculptor hovers over a piece of wood, or as the spiritual soul spreads through all the limbs of the body, thus it is with the Holy Spirit: it hovers over all things with a creative and formative power. De Genesi ad litteram, IV, 16, as quoted in Karl Rahner, Earth Spirit and Divine Spirit, p. 139.

Creation and salvation are of the same Word There is no inconsistency between creation and salvation; for the one Father has employed the same agent for both works, effecting the salvation of the world through the same Word who made it in the beginning. Incarnation of the Word, sec. 1

God permeates all things God is self-existent, enclosing all things and enclosed by none; within all things according to His goodness and power, and yet without all [things] in His proper nature. De Decretis, 3:11

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For all created beings, and especially we who are men, find it impossible to speak adequately concerning the things that are ineffable. All the more presumptuous, then, if when we cannot speak, we devise for these difficult subjects strange forms of expression.... [Nevertheless, some individuals] presume to tell us... how the heavens were formed, and from what material, and what is their composition; and likewise of the sun and each of the stars. ... [Yet] we do not understand the “how” of the trees here below, of the gathering together of the waters, and of the fashioning and forming of living creatures. For even Solomon, who had a far greater share of wisdom than any, saw that it was impossible for men to find out everything about these things.... Letter to Serapion on the Holy Spirit, trans by C. Shapland, the Epworth Press, London, 1951, 1:17-18

The Spirit of the Lord fills the universe. The Spirit of the Lord fills the universe. Thus David sings, “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?” (Psalm 139:7) Again in the Book of Wisdom it is written: “Thine incorruptible Spirit is in all things” (Wisdom 12:1). “And the angels came to stand before the face of the Lord,” as it is written in Job. And Jacob the patriarch dreamed: “And behold! A ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and the angels of God ascended and descended upon it” (Genesis 28:12). But if the Spirit fills all things, and in the Word is present in the midst of all things; and if the angels, being his inferiors, are circumscribed, and where they are sent forth, there are they present: it is not to be doubted that the Spirit does not belong to things originated, nor is He an angel at all, as you say, but by nature is above the angels. Letter to Serapion on the Holy Spirit, 1:26

The divinizing work of Jesus Christ God became man in order that man might become God. On the Incarnation I

The wisdom of God harmonizes creation Like a musician who has tuned his lyre, and by the artistic blending of low and high and medium tones produces a single melody, so the Wisdom of God, holding the universe like a lyre, adapting things heavenly to things earthly, and earthly things to heavenly, harmonizes 79

them all, and leading them by His will, makes one world and one world order in beauty and harmony.

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Contra Gentes, 41, pg. 26, in George Maloney, SJ, The Cosmic Christ, Sheed and Ward, NY, 1968, p. 261 How the Logos binds creation together The Holy Word of the Father then, almighty and perfect, uniting with the universe and having everywhere unfolded His own powers, and having illumined all, both things seen and things invisible, holds them together and binds them to Himself, having left nothing void of His power, but on the contrary he quickens and sustains all things everywhere, each severally and all collectively; while He mingles in one the principles of all sensible existence, heat namely and cold, and wet and dry, and caused them not to conflict, but to make up one concordant harmony.... Obeying Him, even God the Word, things on earth have life and things in heaven have their order, for there is nothing that is and that takes place, but it has been made and stands by Him and through Him. Against the Heathen, pg. 26

From Word to world: a single harmonious melody [The Logos] produces a single melody... holding the universe like a lyre, draws together the things in the air with those on earth, and those in the heaven with those in the air, and combines the whole with the parts, linking them with his command and will, and thus producing in beauty and harmony, a single world and a single order within it.... [The Logos] extends his power everywhere, illuminating all things visible and invisible, containing and enclosing them in himself, [giving] life and everything, everywhere, to each individually and to all together, creating an exquisite single euphonious harmony. Contra Gentes, 41, quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 8

Intuiting a governing Creator from the heavens For seeing the circling of heaven and the course of sun and moon, the positions and revolutions of the stars which are opposed and different, but in their difference all keep a common order, who would not think that they do not order themselves but that there is another who orders and made them? And who, seeing the sun rise by day and the moon shining by night, waning and waxing unchangingly according to an exacting number of days, and some stars crossing and variously 81

changing their paths while others keep a fixed place, who then would not consider that there must a Creator who governs them? Contra Gentes, 35:95-97, in J. Schaefer, “Acting Reverently in God’s Sacramental World,” Ethical Dilemmas in the New Millennium, Villanova Univ. Press, 2001, p. 41.

St. Ephraim the Syrian (306 - 373)
As a young man, Ephraem appeared dull and uninspired. "Very ponderous" and "slow to learn" are terms a contemporary biographer used to characterize his early years. After his conversion and baptism, a profound change took place in his attitude and numerous mental and spiritual gifts came forth which allowed him to unravel difficult philosophical and metaphysical complexities. When Ephraem was confronted by theological adversaries, he appealed to their hearts rather than to their minds. His methods are strikingly different from most theologians: he expresses himself in visionary, apocalyptic, symbolic and especially poetical forms. Nearly all of St. Ephraem's works are written in a poetical form of Syriac which makes them almost impossible to translate and preserve their original beauty and lyrical insight. His writings convey a unique blend of mystical experience with perceptions about the natural world. To this combination he brings an emphasis on how the Holy Trinity manifests throughout the created world. Since ancient times, he has been called the "Harp of the Holy Spirit" because of his inspired eloquence.

The symbols of God fill creation Wherever you turn your eyes, there is God's symbol; wherever you read, you will find there his archetypes... Look and see how nature and scripture are linked together.... Praise for the Lord of Nature. Glory for the Lord of Scripture. The Harp of the Spirit

Mysterious emblems of the Trinity in nature The sun is our light, and none is able to know it, much the less to know man, and still less God! ... The sun itself and also the light and the heat, dwelling one in the other, and agreeing without grudging. Mingled, yet not confused; blended, yet not bound; assembled, yet not compelled; free, yet not divergent. There is a marvel in these things which silences us. For man is three, and will rise when he is perfected, 82

as the sun which, though one, is a uniform nature with three mingled in him, distinct, yet not divided.... The Fourtieth Rhythm

The creation of the creatures The earth at God's command immediately brought forth creeping things, beasts of the field, creatures of prey, and domestic animals, as many as were necessary for the service of him who, on that very day, transgressed the commandment of his Lord. Commentary on Genesis, 1:302

The holy cross in nature The young of a bird, unless it be matured, is not able to break through its imperfect covering. Oh perfect it, Thou that perfects all things! The bird is brought first from the belly to the egg, and then to the nest. When it is perfected, it flies in the air: it spreads its wings in the mystery of the cross. Faith too is perfected three-foldly — through the Father, through the Son, and through the Holy Spirit, and then flies to the four quarters, in the mystery of the cross. The three-fold names are sown in the three-fold way: in the spirit and in the soul and in the body. The Trinity was perfected by the Threefold One and reigns unto the ends of the earth. If the spirit suffers, it becomes one with the Father; if the soul suffers, it is blended with the Son; if the body confesses, it communicates with the Spirit. And if the little bird drew in its wings and refused to use the silly mystery of the cross, the air would then refuse her, and not bear her up: But her wings praise the cross.... And if a ship spread her sail for the sea, in the mystery of the Cross, and from the yoke of wood, she makes a bosom for the wind; and when she has spread forth the Cross, then is the course spread out clearly for the voyage. Neither does the land yield itself without the fair mystery of the Cross -- it is the sign of the Cross which works the land and softens it, and scatters the seeds therein. ...And when wheat is hidden in the earth, the living seed preaches the Resurrection. The flock is kept by the Rod; the vineyard is full of his blood... And when, upon his tree, the fruit hangs, it is a type of Cross, and the Fruit of his body: Yet that sleep, arise, be watchful! Lo! the Resurrection of the dead is proclaimed to the buried living man. And if in her nest by mere touch her womb conceives from the warmth of the cherishing wings of her mate, then the bird also in his own house is a mirror of Mary! 83

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Nature and Scripture I considered the Word of the Creator, and likened it to the rock that marched with the people of Israel in the wilderness.... In his book Moses described the creation of the natural world so that both Nature and Scripture might bear witness to the Creator. Nature, through man’s use of it, Scripture, through his reading of it, These are the witnesses which reach everywhere, they are to be found at all times, present at every hour, confuting the unbeliever who defames the Creator. I read the opening of this book and was filled with joy, for its verses and lines spread out their arms to welcome me; The first rushed out and kissed me, and led me on to its companion; And when I reached that verse wherein is written the story of Paradise, it lifted me up and transported me from the bosom of the book to the very bosom of Paradise. Hymns on Paradise, Hymn V:1-3

Paradise is like the wind My brethren, consider the wind: although its blast is tumultuous, it lacks any color by which it can be seen, for it is hidden in its manifestation, having no outer array or substance at all. It is both hidden and yet manifest when it is blowing. So too the abode of Paradise is both hidden and manifest: while it can be perceived to exist, what it really is cannot be perceived. The Tree of Knowledge – awareness of truth and spiritual reality – is the gate to Paradise through which the mind can enter. But the Tree of Knowledge has to be approached in the right spirit and in obedience to God; otherwise it will lead to destruction and loss as both Adam and Uzziah discovered. Further, once led astray by eating the fruit of the Tree of Disobedience, man goes on to blame the fruit rather than his greed for the consequence of his grasping. Hymns of Paradise, Hymn XV 85

The Tree as judge of human obedience God established the Tree as judge, so that if Adam should eat from it, it might show him that rank which he had lost through his pride, and show him, as well, that low estate he had acquired, to his torment.... Had Adam conquered, he would have acquired glory upon his limbs, and discernment... The Tree was to him like a gate; its fruit was the veil covering that hidden tabernacle. Adam snatched the fruit, casting aside the commandment. When he beheld that Glory within, shining forth with its rays, he fled outside; he ran off and took refuge among the modest fig trees. Even though all the trees of Paradise are clothed, each in its own glory, yet each veils itself at the Glory; the Seraphs with their wings, the trees with their branches, all cover their faces so as not to behold their Lord. Hymn III:10-15

The keys to knowledge of creation The keys of doctrine which unlock all of Scripture’s books, have opened up before my eyes the book of creation. The treasure house of the Ark, the crown of the Law, this is a book which above its companions has in its narrative made the Creator perceptible and transmitted his actions; It has envisioned all His craftsmanship, made manifest His works of art. Hymns of Paradise, Hymn VI 86

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Hilary is the most important Father of Roman Gaul, sometimes called the “Athanasius of the West.” He was born into a pagan family of landowner magistrates in Poitiers of Aquitaine, the most Roman of the provinces of Gaul. As a youth he relentlessly sought to understand God. He first studied hedonism; moved on to stoicism, explored a variety of cults and esoteric sects, and then Judaism before he converted to Christianity after reading the Gospel of John. For several years he studied in Asia Minor and absorbed the mystical theology of the Greek fathers. The heart of Hilary’s theology is the uniqueness of Christianity among all the religions of the world because it manifests the highest intuitions of God into the physical world and because it teaches us how to know God by following the example and path of Jesus Christ. After battling the Arian heresy, he gave up polemics and devoted himself to exegesis of the Scriptures. The theme of the beauty of God shining from the Father through the Son into the details of creation permeates his writings. He teaches that the individual, transformed by Christ, transforms even the physical matter of creation and brings God’s blessings into the world. Through Hilary the Eastern themes of transformation of creation through the light of Christ come into the West which was more accustomed to a moral approach to Christianity.

Why creation is beautiful “From the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator” (Wisdom 13:5). The sky and the air are beautiful, the earth and the sea are beautiful. By divine grace, the universe was called by the Greeks "cosmos," meaning "ornament." ... Surely the author of all created beauty must himself be the beauty of all beauty? On the Holy Trinity, 1:1-3

God is in heaven and on earth The words 'I AM THAT I AM' are clearly adequate as an indication of God's infinity, but, in addition, we need to apprehend the operation of His majesty and power. For while absolute existence is peculiar to Him Who, abiding eternally, had no beginning in a past however remote, we hear again an utterance worthy of Himself issuing from the eternal and Holy God, Who says, “Who holds the heaven in His palm and the earth in His hand,” and again, “The heaven is My throne and the earth is the footstool of My feet. What house will ye build Me, or what shall be the place of My rest?” The whole heaven is held in the palm of God, the whole earth grasped in His hand. Now the word of God ...reveals a deeper meaning to the patient student than to the momentary hearer. For this heaven which is held in the palm of God is also His throne, and the earth which is grasped in His hand is the footstool beneath His feet. From this ...we should 89

conclude that He has extension in space, as of a body, for that which is His throne and footstool is also held in hand and palm by that infinite Omnipotence. It was written that in all born and created things God might be known within them and without, overshadowing and indwelling, surrounding all and interfused through all, since palm and hand, which hold, reveal the might of His external control, while throne and footstool, by their support of a sitter, display the subservience of outward things to One within Who, Himself outside them, encloses all in His grasp, yet dwells within the external world which is His own. In this wise does God, from within and from without, control and correspond to the universe; being infinite, He is present in all things, in Him Who is infinite all are included. ... Whether shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy face? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I go down into hell, Thou art there also; if I have taken my wings before dawn and made my dwelling in the uttermost parts of the sea, Thou art there. For thither Thy hand shall guide me and Thy right hand shall hold me. There is no space where God is not; space does not exist apart from Him. He is in heaven, in hell, beyond the seas; dwelling in all things and enveloping all. Thus He embraces, and is embraced by, the universe, confined to no part of it but pervading all. Therefore, ... by the greatness of His works and the beauty of the things that He hath made the Creator of worlds is rightly discerned. The Creator of great things is supreme in greatness, of beautiful things in beauty. Since the work transcends our thoughts, all thought must be transcended by the Maker. Thus heaven and air and earth and seas are fair: fair also the whole universe, as the Greeks agree, who from its beautiful ordering call it “kosmos,” that is, order. But if our thought can estimate this beauty of the universe by a natural instinct – an instinct such as we see in certain birds and beasts whose voice, though it fall below the level of our understanding, yet has a sense clear to them though they cannot utter it, and in which, since all speech is the expression of some thought, there lies a meaning patent to themselves--must not the Lord of this universal beauty be recognized as Himself most beautiful amid all the beauty that surrounds Him? For though the splendor of His eternal glory overtax our mind's best powers, it cannot fail to see that He is beautiful. On the Holy Trinity, Book I, 6-7 (PL 10:25-30)

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One of the Eastern Fathers, a Metropolitan (Archbishop) of Jerusalem and author of a series of lectures on the Christian sacraments and instructions for catechumens, St. Cyril lived in a time of great theological conflicts. He was banished three times for his theological views and went through great trials for his personal integrity. He was once condemned by the Arians for selling church property to feed the poor. He attended the Council of Constantinople and helped develop the Nicene Creed and the concept of "homoousios" which identifies the unity inherent in Christ's spiritual-physical nature. His writings about creation are characterized by their emphasis upon physical nature as a window into the Divine Nature. God and creation There is then only one God, Maker of souls and bodies; One Creator of heaven and earth, the Maker of angels and archangels.... This Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is not circumscribed in any place, nor is He less than the heavens; but the heavens are the works of His fingers, and the whole world is held in His grasp: He is in all things and around all things. Catechetical Lectures II:1

Perceiving the Divine through the creatures The Divine Nature is impossible to see with eyes of flesh: but from the works, which are Divine, it is possible to attain to some conception of His power, according to Solomon, who says, "For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionately the Maker of them is seen" (Wisdom 13:5). For God appears the greater to every man in proportion as he has grasped a larger survey of the creatures: and when his heart is lifted up by that larger survey, he gains withal a greater conception of God. Catechetical Lectures IX:2

To restrain defilement of creation Enter within yourself, and from within your own nature consider the Author of creation. What is there to find fault with in the framing of this body? Be master of yourself, and nothing evil shall proceed out from any of your members.... The members are not the cause of sin, but they who use their members amiss; and the Maker thereof is wise. Catechetical Lectures IX

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The witness of Creation For what fault have they (the heretics and pagans) to find with the vast harmony of God? They who ought to have been struck with amazement on beholding the vaultings of the heavens: they, who ought to have worshiped Him Who reared the sky as a dome, Who formed the stable substance of heaven. ... Is there not cause to wonder when one looks at the constitution of the sun? ... See also how the days alternately respond each to the other in due order in summer increasing and in winter decreasing.... For the heretics who have no ears, they all but cry aloud, and by their good order say, that there is none other God save the Creator who hath set them their bounds, and laid out the order of the Universe. Catechetical Lectures IX:5-6

To understand creation, know its Creator Is not the Artificer (or Creator) worthy the rather to be glorified? And for what purpose? If you do not know the nature of all things, do the things that have been made forthwith become useless? Can you know the purpose and efficacy of all the herbs? Or can you learn the good and service which resides in every animal? Do you know that even from venomous adders (poisonous snakes) have come antidotes for the preservation of men. But some of you will say to me, "the snake is terrible." Fear the Lord and it shall not be able to hurt you. Or you may say, "the lion is a blood-thirsty creature." Fear the Lord, and he shall lie down beside you, as he did alongside of Daniel. But truly wonderful are the actions of the animals: how some, such as the scorpion, have sharpness in their sting; and others have power in their teeth; and others do battle with their claws.... So then from this varied workmanship, understand the Creator's power. Catechetical Lectures IX

In Wisdom hast thou made them all My discussion has left out many things, and especially left out things incorporeal and invisible, that you may abhor those who blaspheme the wise and good Artificer, and from what is spoken and read, and whatever you can discover or conceive, from the greatness and beauty of the creatures, you may proportionately see the Maker of them. And bending the knee with godly reverence to the Maker of the worlds, the worlds of sense and thought, both visible and invisible, you may with a single and holy tongue, with unwearied lips and heart, praise God, and say how wonderful are thy works, O Lord; in wisdom hast thou made them all. Catechetical Lectures IX 93

God creates all parts of creation Let no one tolerate anyone who says that God is the Creator of the light, but another is the creator of darkness. For let him remember how Isaiah says, "I am the God who made the light, and created darkness..." Let us not then admit the evil thought that another is the Maker of darkness, for experience shows that this also is good and useful. Catechetical Lectures IX

The Holy Spirit and creation For He [the Holy Spirit] is the supremely Great Power, divine and unsearchable, living and rational, and it belongs to Him to sanctify all things that were made by God through Christ.... It is the Holy Spirit who knows the mysteries, searching all things, even the depths of God.... For there is one God... one Lord... and one Holy Spirit who has power to sanctify and deify all, who spoke in the Law and the Prophets, in the Old and New Testament alike. Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 82

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A founder of Eastern communal monastic life, Archbishop of Caesarea, brother of St. Gregory of Nyssa, doctor of the Church, and the first of the Cappadocian (Anatolian Greek) Fathers, Basil describes the handiwork of the Creator as “everywhere in creation” and probes deeply into the reasons for creation's structure. He lays out a Christian cosmology that he says existed before time, that goes beyond spatial limitations, that remains orderly and intentional, and that is filled with an intelligible hierarchy beyond human comprehension. This marvelous creation he calls the "supreme icon" of Christian faith which leads to knowledge of the "Supreme Artisan." His interests were as much in social relief and schools as theology. Throughout his life he relentlessly sought a comprehensive vision of how Christian faith applied to all aspects of livelihood. He is one of the most prolific and wide ranging of all the patristic writers on themes of creation. Remembrance of God through creation I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that wherever you go, the least plant may bring you the clear remembrance of the Creator.... Scripture depicts to us the Supreme Artist, praising each one of His works; soon when His work is complete He will accord praise to the whole together.... A single plant, a blade of grass or one speck of dust is sufficient to occupy all your intelligence in beholding the art with which it has been made. Hexaemeron, Homily V, "The Germination of the Earth," 2-3

The wisdom in creation When I reflect upon the inexhaustible wisdom which is displayed in the works of creation, I seem to be but at the beginning of my story. The Hexaemeron, Homily VIII, "The Creation of Moving Creatures," 8

The nature of the creatures "And God said, 'Let the earth bring forth the living creatures after their own kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, after their own kind; and it was so.'"

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The command of God advanced step by step and earth thus received its adornment.... When the earth heard this command, "Let the earth bring forth grass and the tree yielding fruit," it was not grass that it had hidden in it that it caused to bring spring forth... It is the Word of God which forms the natures of things created.... Without doubt the terrestrial animals are devoid of a human-like reason. At the same time how many affections of the soul each one of them expresses by the voice of nature! They express by cries their joys and sadness, recognition of what is familiar to them, the need for food, regret at being separated from their companions, and numerous emotions. Homilies on Creation VIII

Lessons from the bees Listen, Christians, you to whom it is forbidden to "recompense evil for evil" and who are commanded "to overcome evil with good." Take the bee for your model, which constructs its cells without injuring anyone and without interfering with the goods of others. It gathers openly pollen from the flowers, drawing in the basis for the honey scattered over them like dew, and injects it into the hollow of its cells. At first this honey is liquid; time thickens it and gives it its sweetness. The Book of Proverbs has given the bee the most honorable and the best praise by calling her wise and industrious. How much activity she exerts in gathering this precious nourishment, by which both kings and men of low degree are brought to health! How great is the art and cunning she displays in the construction of the storehouses which are destined to receive the honey? After having spread the pollen like a thin membrane, she distributes it in contiguous compartments which, weak though they are, by their number and by their mass, sustain the whole edifice. Each cell in fact holds to the one next to it, and is separated by one upon another. The bee takes care not to make one vast cavity, for fear it mike break under the weight of the liquid, and allow it to escape. See how the discoveries of geometry are mere by-works to the wise bee! Hexaemeron VIII, "The Creation of Fowl and Water Animals," 4

Lessons from the birds The solicitude of storks for their old would be sufficient, if our children would reflect upon it, to make them love their parents, because there is no one so failing in good sense as not to deem it a shame to be surpassed in virtue by birds devoid of reason. The storks surround their father when old age makes his feathers drop off, warm him with their wings, and provide abundantly for his support. Even in their flight, they help him as much as they are able, raising him gently on each side upon their wings, a conduct so famous that it has given to gratitude the name of "antipelargosis." 97

Let no one lament poverty; let not the man whose house is bare despair of his life, when he considers the industry of the swallow. To build her nest, she brings bits of straw in her beak; and as she cannot raise the mud in her claws, she moistens the ends of her wings in water and then rolls in very fine dust and thus procures mud. After having mixed, little by little, the bits of straw with this mud, as with glue, she feeds her young; and if any one of them has its eyes injured, she has a natural remedy to heal the sight of her little ones. This sight ought to warn you not to take to evil ways on account of poverty; and, even if you are reduced to the last extremity, not to lose all hope; not to abandon yourself to inaction and idleness, but to have recourse to God. If He is so bountiful to the swallow, what will He not do for those who call upon Him with all their hearts? You have then heaven adorned, earth beautified, the sea populated with its own creatures, the air filled with birds which scour it in every direction. Studious listener, think of all these creations which God has drawn out of nothing, think of all those which my speech has left out, to avoid tediousness, and not to exceed my limits, recognize everywhere the wisdom of God; never cease to wonder, and through every creature, to glorify the Creator. Hexaemeron VIII, "The Creation of Fowl and Water Animals," 5

Creation as a theophany of wisdom You have then heaven and earth adorned, earth beautified, the sea peopled with its own creatures, the air filled with birds which scour in every direction. Studious listener, think of all these creations..., think of all those which my narration has left out to avoid tediousness; recognize everywhere the wisdom of God; never cease to wonder, and through every creature, to glorify the Creator. Hexaemeron VIII, "The Creation

Ascent from the world When the intellect is no longer dissipated among external things or dispersed across the world through the senses, it returns to itself; and by means of itself it ascends to the thought of God. quoted by Kallistos Ware, from Ascetical Works

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A prayer for the earth The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, even our brothers, the animals, to whom Thou gavest the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to thee in song, has been a groan of pain. May we realize that they live, not for us alone, but for themselves and for Thee and that they love the sweetness of life. Liturgy of St. Basil

The land as a common inheritance God has poured the rains on a land tilled by avaricious hands; He has given the sun to keep the seeds warm, and to multiply the fruit through His productivity. Things of this kind are from God: the fertile land, moderate winds, abundance of seeds, the work of the oxen, and other things by which a farm is brought into productivity and abundance.... But the avaricious one has not remembered our common nature and has not thought of distribution. Sermon IV:1, On Ownership

A conception of God from His creation Let us glorify the Master Craftsman for all that has been done wisely and skillfully; and from the beauty of the visible things, let us form an idea of Him Who is more than beautiful; and from the greatness of these perceptible and circumscribed bodies let us conceive of Him Who is infinite and immense and Who surpasses all understanding in the plenitude of His power. For even if we are ignorant of things made, yet, at least, that which in general comes under our observation is so wonderful that even the most acute mind is shown to be at a loss as regards the least of the things in the world, either in the ability to explain it worthily or to render due praise to the Creator, to Whom be all glory, honor and power forever. Hexaemeron I:11

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The beginning of time The genesis of the world is the beginning of time. This beginning is not yet time, not even a fraction of time, just as the beginning of a road is not yet the road itself. Hexaemeron 1:6

Magnifying the Lord through creation He magnifies the Lord who observes with a keen understanding and most profound contemplation the greatness of creation, so that from the greatness and beauty of creatures he may contemplate their Creator. The deeper one penetrates into the reasons for which things in existence were made and were governed, the more he contemplates the magnificence of the Lord and, as far as it lies in him, magnifies the Lord. Homily 16:3

Creation reminds us of the Creator May God grant you the intelligence of His truth, so that you may raise yourself from visible things to the invisible Being, and that the grandeur and beauty of creatures may give you a just idea of the Creator. For the visible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, and His power and divinity are eternal. Thus earth, air, sky, water, day, night, all visible things, remind us of who is our Benefactor. Hexaemeron, "On the Firmament," III:8

And God saw that it was Good It is not with eyes that the Creator views the beauty of His works. He contemplates them in His ineffable wisdom.... However, it is not in this that Scripture makes God find the goodness and charm of the sea. Here it is the purpose of the work which makes the goodness. In the first place sea water is the source of all the moisture of the earth. It filters through imperceptible conduits, as is proved by the subterranean openings and caves whither its waters penetrate; it is received in oblique and sinuous canals; ... it rises to the surface of the earth, having become drinkable and free from its bitterness by this long percolation.... In the eyes of God, the sea is good, because it makes the undercurrent of moisture in the depths of the earth. It is good again because all the rivers without exceeding its limits. It is good because it is the origin and source of the waters of the air. Warmed by the rays of the 100

sun, it escapes as vapor, is attracted into the high regions of the air, and there it is cooled on account of its rising high above the refraction of the rays from the ground, and the shade of the clouds adding to this refrigeration, it is changed into rain and fattens the earth.... Finally, the sea is good in the eyes of God, because it girdles the isles, of which it forms at the same time the rampart and the beauty, because it brings together the most distant parts of the earth, and facilitates the intercommunication of mariners. By this means it gives us the boon of general information, supplies the merchant with his wealth, and easily provides for the necessities of life, allowing the rich to export their excesses and blessing the poor with the supply of what they lack.... Hexaemeron, "On the Gathering Together of the Waters," IV, 6-7

God's creation teaches His qualities "And God saw that it was good." God does not judge the beauty of his work by the charm of the eyes, and He does not hold to the same idea of beauty that we do. What He esteems beautiful is that which presents in its perfection all the fitness of art, and that which tends to the usefulness of its end. ... May God who after having made such great things... grant you the intelligence of His truth so that you may raise yourselves from visible things to the invisible Being, and that the grandeur and beauty of creatures may give you a just idea of the Creator. For the visible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, and His power and divinity are eternal. Thus earth, air, sky, water, day, night, all visible things, remind us of Him who is our Benefactor. Hexaemeron, Homily III, “On the Firmament," 10

A lesson about vigor through natural diversity Some [gardeners] plant wild fig trees near cultivated fig trees, and there are others who, to remedy the weakness of the productive fruit tree of our gardens, attach to the branches unripe figs and so retain the fruit which had already begun to drop and to be lost. What lesson does nature here give us? That we must often borrow, even from those who are strangers to the faith, a certain vigor to show forth good works. If you see outside the Church, in pagan life, or in the midst of a pernicious heresy, the example of virtue and fidelity to moral laws, redouble your efforts to resemble the productive fig tree, who by the side of the wild fig tree, gains strength, prevents the fruit from being shed, and nourishes it with more care.

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Hexaemeron, Homily V, "The Germination of the Earth," 7.2 How to understand creation's lessons about God To investigate the great and prodigious show of creation, to understand supreme and ineffable wisdom, you must bring personal light for the contemplation of the wonders which I spread before your eyes, and help me, according to your power, in this struggle, where you are not so much judges as fellow combatants, for fear lest the truth might escape you.... Why these words? It is because we propose to study the world as a whole, and to consider the universe, not by the light of worldly wisdom, but by that with which God wills to enlighten His servant, when He speaks to him in person and without enigmas. It is because it is absolutely necessary that all lovers of great and grand shows should bring a mind well prepared to study them.... If sometimes, on a bright night, while gazing with watchful eyes on the inexpressible beauty of the stars, you have thought of the Creator of all things; if you have asked yourself who it is that has dotten heaven with such flowers, and why visible things are even more useful than beautiful; ... if you have raised yourself by the visible things to the invisible Being, then you are a well prepared auditor, and you can take your place in this august and blessed amphitheatre. Come in the same way that any one not knowing a town is taken by the hand and led through it; thus I am going to lead you, like strangers, through the mysterious marvels of this great city of the universe.... You will know that you are formed of earth, but the work of God's hands, much weaker than the brute [creatures], but ordained to command beings without reason and soul.... If we are penetrated by these truths, we shall know God, we shall adore our Creator, we shall serve our Master, we shall glorify our Father, we shall love our Sustainer, we shall bless our Benefactor, we shall not cease to honor the Prince of present and future life, Who, by the riches that He showers upon us in this world, makes us believe in His promises and uses present good things to strengthen our expectations of the future. Truly, if such are the good things of time, what will be those of eternity? If such is the beauty of visible things, what shall we think of invisible things? If the grandeur of heaven exceeds the measure of human intelligence, what mind shall be able to trace the nature of the everlasting? Hexaemeron, "The Creation of Luminous Bodies," Homily VI, 1

The cause of evil If evil is neither uncreated nor created by God, from whence comes its nature? Certainly that evil exists, no one living in the world will deny. What shall we say then? Evil is not a living animated essence; it is a condition of the soul opposed to virtue, developed in the careless on account of their falling away from good. 102

Hexaemeron, Homily II, "The Earth was invisible and unfinished," 4 The limits of creation's ability to teach us about God May He who has given us intelligence to recognize in the smallest objects of creation the great wisdom of the Contriver, make us find in great celestial bodies a still higher idea of their Creator. However, compared with their Author, the sun and moon are but a fly and an ant. The whole universe cannot give us a right idea of the greatness of God; and is is only by signs, weak and slight in themselves, often by the help of the smallest insects and of the least plants, that we raise ourselves to Him. Content with these words, let us offer our thanks... to Him who feeds us.... May He feed you forever, and in proportion to your faith grant you the manifestation of the Spirit, in Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. Hexaemeron, "The Creation of Luminous Bodies," Homily VI, 11

Each animal is different Each animal is distinguished by particular qualities. The ox is steady, the horse has strong passions, the wolf cannot be tamed, the fox is deceptive, the stag timid, the ant industrious, the dog grateful and faithful in his friendships. As each animal was created, the distinctive character of his nature appeared in him in due measure; in the lion spirit, taste for solitary life, an unsociable character.... Hexaemeron, "The creation of terrestrial animals," Homily IX, 3

Each thing in creation has its own reason and purpose In the rich treasures of creation it is difficult to select what is most precious; the loss of what is omitted is too severe. “Let the earth bring forth grasses” and with useful plants appear noxious plants; with corn, hemlock; with the other nutritious plants, hellebore, monkshood, mandrake and the poppy. What then? Shall we show no gratitude for so many beneficial gifts, and reproach the Cretor for those which may be harmful to our life? ... But in creation, not a single thing has been created without a reason, not a single thing is useless. One serves as food to some animal; medicine is found in another, a relief for our maladies. Thus the starling eats hemlock, its constitution rendering it insusceptible to the action of the poison.... The quail, thanks to its peculiar temperment, feeds on hellebore. There are even circumstances where poisons are useful to men: with mankrake, doctors give us sleep; with opium they lull violent pain. Hemlock has been used to appease the rage of unruly diseases; and many times 103

hellebore has taken away long standing diseases. These plants, then, instead of making you accuse the Creator, give you a new subject for gratitude. Hexaemeron, “The Germination of the Earth,” Homily V:4 Creation helps us to know the Creator May He who has given us intelligence to recognize in the smallest objects of creation the great wisdom of the Contriver make us find in great celestial bodies a still higher idea of their Creator. However, compared with their Author, the sun and moon are but a fly and an ant. The whole universe cannot give us a right idea of the greatness of God; and it is o nly by signs, weak and slight in themselves, often by the help of the smallest insects and of the least plants, that we raise ourselves to Him. Hexaemeron, "The creation of Luminous Bodies," Homily VI, 11

Why contemplate nature? The contemplation of nature abates the fever of the soul, and banishes all insincerity and presumption. D. B. Wallace-Hadrill, The Greek Patristic View of Nature, Manchester Univ. Press, 1968, pg. 33, quoted in Keith Warner, OFM, Back to Eden: Christian Attitudes toward Wilderness in the Patristic and Medieval Period, paper, 1996, pg. 12.

A definition of self-control Let this be the best definition and rule of self-control, to look neither after luxury of flesh nor its mortification, but to avoid the lack of proportion in each of these, so that it should not become gross and disturbed, nor yet fall ill and thus unable to carry out the work of the commandments... "Ascetical Discourse," as quoted in Orthodoxy and Ecology: Orthodox Youth Environmental Training Seminar Resource Book, Neamt, Romania, April 10-17, 1994, pg. 25. 104

A place of tranquility

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It is a lofty mountain overshadowed with a deep wood, ... irrigated on the north by cold and transparent streams. At its foot is spread a low plain, enriched perpetually with the streams from the mountains. The wood, a virgin forest of trees of various kinds and foliage which grows around it, almost serves as a rampart.... My hut is built on another point, which uplifts lofty pinnacles on the summit, so that the plain is outspread before the gaze, and from the height I can catch a glimpse of the river flowing around... flowing with a swifter course than any river I know, for a short space billows along the adjacent rock, and then, plunging over it, rolls into a deep whirlpool, affording a most delightful view to me and to every spectator, and abundantly supplying the needs of the inhabitants, for it nurtures an incredible number of fish in its eddies. Why need I tell you the sweet exhalations from the earth or the breezes of the river? Other persons might admire the multitude of the flowers, or the lyric birds, but I have no time to attend to them. But my highest eulogy of the spot is, that, prolific as it is of all kinds of fruits from its happy situation, it bears for me the sweetest of all fruits, tranquility. St. Basil, quoted in A. Biese, The Development of the Feeling for Nature in the Middle Ages and Modern Times, Blackwell, New York, 1905, pg. 32-33.

The most difficult of sciences Beasts bear witness to the faith... (but) in truth the most difficult of sciences is to know one's self. Not only our eye, from which nothing outside us escapes, cannot see itself, but our mind, so piercing to discover the sins of others, is slow to recognize its own faults. Thus my speech, after eagerly investigating what is external to myself, is slow and hesitating in exploring my own nature. Yet the beholding of heaven and earth does not make us know God better than the attentive study of our being does. I am, says the Prophet (Psalm 139:14), fearfully and wonderfully made; that is to say, in observing myself I have known Thy infinite wisdom. Hexaemeron, "The Creation of Terrestrial Animals," Homily IX, 6

The divine order penetrates to the smallest part of creation See how the divine order embraces and extends to the smallest object. A fish does not resist God’s law, yet we men cannot endure His precepts of salvation! Do not despise fish because they are unreasoning; rather fear lest, in your resistance to the disposition of the Creator, you have even less reason than they. Listen to the fish, who by their actions all but speak and say: it is for the perpetuation of our species that we undertake this long voyage. They have not the gift of reason, but they have the law of nature firmly seated within them, to show them what they have to do. 106

Hexaemeron 7.4

Before the creation of the world It appears, indeed, that even before this world an order of things existed of which our mind can attain by contemplation, but which has been left uninvestigated because it is too lofty a subject for men who are but beginners and babes in knowledge. The birth of the world was preceded by a condition of things suitable for the exercise of supernatural powers, outstripping the limits of time, eternal and infinite. The Creator and Demiurge of the universe perfected His works in it, spiritual light for the happiness of all who love the Lord, intellectual and invisible natures, all the orderly arrangement of pure intelligences who are beyond the reach of our mind and of whom we cannot even discover the names. They fill the essence of this invisible world, as Paul teaches us. “For by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers,” or virtues or hosts of angels, or the dignities of archangels. To this world it was necessary to add a new world, both a school and training place, where the souls of men should be taught and a home for beings destined to be born and to die. Thus was created of a nature analogous to this world and the animals and plants which live thereon, the succession of time, forever pressing on and passing away and never stopping in its course. Is not this the nature of time, where the past is no more, the future does not exist, and the present escapes before being recognized? And such also is the nature of the creature which lives in time, condemned to grow or to perish without rest and without certain stability. It is therefore fit that the bodies of animals and plants, obliged to follow a sort of current, and carried away by the motion which leads to birth or to death, s hould live in the midst of surroundings whose nature is in accord with being subject to change. Thus the writer who wisely tells us of the birth of the Universe does not fail to put these words at the head of the narrative, “In the beginning, God created;” that is to say, in the beginning of time. Hexaemeron, Homily 1:5, “In the Beginning...,” translation by Blomfield Jackson, King’s College, 1894, reprinted in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8, Hendrickson Publ., Peabody, Mass., 1994, pg. 54-55.

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God made man according to his image and likeness. He deemed him worthy of the knowledge of Himself, that in preference to all of the animals He adorned him with rationality, bestowed upon him the opportunity of taking his delight in the unbelievable beauties of paradise, and made him the chief of the creatures on earth. The Long Rules, Response 2, in Saint Basil, Ascetical Works, The Fathers of the Church, trans. by Sr. Monica Wagner, csc, Catholic Univ. Amer. Press, Wash., DC, 1950, p. 237. The world as great art Among arts, some have production, or practice, or performance, as their object. ... Thus dancing and music leave nothing behind; they have no object but themselves. In creative arts, on the contrary, the work lasts after the operation. Such is architecture – and such are the arts which use wood, brass or weaving. Even when the artist has departed, each shows the industrious intelligence of the artist and allows the architect, the brass worker or the weaver to be admired on account of his work. ... The world too is a work of art displayed for the beholding of all people; to make them know Him who created it. Hexaemeron, “In the Beginning, God made the Heavens and the Earth,” Homily 1:7

Man and creation This is man: a mind united with a fitting and serviceable body. This mode of existence was prepared by the All-wise Artificer of the universe in our mother’s wombs. This being it is which was appointed to rule over the earth. For him, creation lies outspread, an exercise ground for virtue. For him the law was made, commanding the imitation of the Creator in accordance with his powers and a reproducing upon earth as if in rough outline, of the good order of heaven. Homily on Detachment

Prayer for the animals For those, O Lord, the humble beasts that bear with us the burden and heat of the day 108

and offer their guileless lives for the well-being of humankind; And for the wild creatures, whom Thou hast made wise, strong, and beautiful, We supplicate for them

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Thy great tenderness of heart, for Thou has promised to save both man and beast, and great is Thy loving kindness, O Master, Saviour of the world. Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 86 The action of the Holy Trinity in creation In the creation we should understand the original cause of the Father as a founding cause, the cause of the Son as a creative one, and the cause of the Holy Spirit as an implementing one. De Spiritu Sancto, in PG 32, col. 136b

Before this world Even before this world, an order of things existed of which our mind can form an idea, but which was left untold [in Genesis], because it is too lofty a subject for men who are but beginners and are still babes in knowledge. The birth of the world was preceded by a condition of things suitable for the exercise of supernatural powers, out-stripping the limits of time, eternal and infinite... the intellectual and invisible natures, all the orderly arrangement of pure intelligences who are beyond the reach of our mind and of whom we cannot ever discover the names... the host of angels or the dignities of archangels. Hexameron 1:5, (alternate translation) this version quoted in Alexandre Kalomiros, “The Eternal Will,” The Christian Activist, Vol. 11, Winter, 1997, p. 8.

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St. Gregory Nazianzus (329 - 389)
A gentle and peaceful man who was not prolific with his writings so much as profound, St. Gregory Nazianzus has been uniquely honored as the only Greek father with the special title, "the theologian." He is known as one of the three Cappadocean Fathers, one of the four Eastern doctors of the Church, and one of those especially responsible for the defeat of the Arian heresy. He loved solitude and was easily dismayed by the strife and conflict of the world. Even though he sought a quiet, simple life, circumstances combined with his brilliant oratorical skills continually called him out of seclusion into positions of leadership. He sees all of creation as recapitulated within the microcosm of the human person, not just because both are creatures of God, but because of the manner in which the individual carries the image of God.

Man as microcosm of the world This man He (God) set upon the earth as a kind of second world, a microcosm; another kind of angel.... He was king of all upon the earth, but a subject of heaven; earthly and heavenly, transient yet immortal; belonging both to the visible and to the intelligible order...; combining in the same being spirit and flesh.... Thus he is a living creature under God's Providence here, while in transition to another state and ... in process of deification by reason of his natural tendency toward God. Orations 45:8

Man in transition to deification The Craftsman-Word... produced a single living being formed out of both (I mean the invisible and the visible natures); he produced man. He took the body from already existing matter and put in it a breath taken from himself (which the Word [of Scripture] knows as the intelligent soul and image of God). This man He (God) set upon the earth as a kind of second world, a microcosm; another kind of angel, a worshiper of blended nature, a full initiate of the visible creation but a mere neophyte in respect of the intelligible world. He was king of all upon the earth, but a subject of heaven; earthly and heavenly, transient yet immortal; belonging both to the visible and to the intelligible order; midway between greatness and lowliness; combining in the same being spirit and flesh; spirit because of God’s grace; flesh because raised up from the dust; spirit, so that he may endure, and glory his benefactor; flesh that he may suffer, and by suffering, may be reminded and chastened when his greatness makes him ambitious. Thus he is a living creature under God's Providence here, while in transition to another state and ... in process of deification by reason of his natural tendency toward God. Orations 45:8 112

The challenge to each person of selflessness God created man like an animal who has received the order to become God. To execute this order, one must refuse it. Orations, quoted by Vladimir Lossky

How is the universe maintained? Let us suppose that the existence of the universe is spontaneous. To what will you ascribe its order? If you like, we will grant even that (that it also emerged spontaneously). But to what then will you ascribe its preservation and its being maintained in the terms of its first existence? Something else, or is that also spontaneous? Surely to something other than chance! But what else can this be, except God? Thus reason, which is from God, and is implanted in all of us, which is our first law and is participated in by all, leads us to God through the things which we can see. Orations 28

Human work in paradise (Referring to the command to "dress and keep creation" in Genesis 2:15) This being (man) He placed in Paradise... to till the immortal plants, by which is perhaps meant the Divine conceptions, both the simpler and the more perfect. Second Oration on Easter VIII

Creation is a system and compound of earth and sky Creation is a system and compound of earth and sky and all that is in them, an admirable creation indeed when we look at the beautiful form of every part, but yet more worthy of admiration when we consider the harmony and unison of the whole, and how each part fits with every other in fair order, and all with the whole, tending to the perfect completion of the world as a unit. Orations 38:10 as quoted by D. WallaceHadrill in The Greek Patristic View of Nature, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1968, pg. 104. 113

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Appreciation of the beauty of natural scenery (Gregory describes the view around his hermitage.) There is a high mountain covered with a thick forest, watered on its northerly side by cool and transparent streams. At its base is outstretched an evenly sloping plain, ever enriched by moisture from the mountains. A forest of many-colored and multifarious trees, a spontaneous growth, surrounding the place, acts almost as a hedge to enclose it, so that even Calypso's isle, which Homer seems to have admired above all others for itself.... Adjoining my dwelling is another neck of land which supports at its summit a lofty ridge. so that from the former the plain below lies outspread before the eyes, and from the elevation we may gaze upon the encircling river, which in my mind at least furnishes no less pleasure than they who receive their first impression from the top of the Amphipolis.... Why need I mention the exhalations from the land, or the breezes from the river? Someone else might well marvel at the multitudes of the flowers or of the song of birds; but I have not leisure to turn my thoughts to these. The highest praise however which I can give to the place is that, although it is well adapted by its admirable situation to producing fruits of every kind, for me the most pleasing fruit it nourishes is tranquility, not only because it is far removed from the disturbances of the city, but also because it attracts not even a wayfarer, except the guests who join me. Besides its other excellencies, it abounds in game, not those of bears and wolves, but it feeds herds of deer and wild goats, hares and animals like these. Letters 14, translated by Roy Defarrari, Loeb Publ., London, 1926, and quoted by D. Wallace-Hadrill in The Greek Patristic View of Nature, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1968, pg. 87-88.

How God’s essence infuses the world For He is the Maker of all these things, filling all with His essence, containing all things, filling the world in His essence, yet incapable of being comprehended in His power by the world; good, upright, princely, by nature not by adoption; sanctifying, not sanctified; measuring, but not measured; shared, not sharing; filling, not filled; containing, not contained.... Oratio 31, pg. 327 A New Creation is coming to birth Today is the day of salvation for the world. Christ is risen from the dead: arise with him.... The old Adam is superseded, the new perfected. In Christ a new creation is coming to birth: therefore renew yourselves. 115

Oration 45, “For Easter,” 1:1 (PG 36: 624) Prayer to the Creator of creation You alone are unutterable, From the time you created all things that can be spoken of. You alone are unknowable, From the time you created all things that can be known. All things cry out about you; Those which speak and those which cannot speak. All things honor you; those which think, and those which cannot think. For there is one longing, one groaning, that all things have for you.... All things pray to you that comprehend your plan and offer you a silent hymn. In you, the One, all things abide, and all things endlessly run to you Who art the end of all. Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 14

Christ cleanses the entire world The great Son is the glory of the Father and shone out from him like light.... He assumed a body to bring help to suffering creatures.... He was both sacrifice and celebrant, sacrificial priest and God himself. He offered blood to God to cleanse the entire world. Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 81

The cosmos as inaccessible beauty The Maker-Logos joined everything in order that it be cosmos, as it is said, and inaccessible beauty; and nobody can create anything more brilliant or more magnificent. Oratio 6, Eirenikos, in P.G. 35,740C

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The animals reflect their Maker Who among men knows all the names of the wild beasts? Or who can accurately discern the physiology of each? But if of the wild beasts we know not even their names, how shall we comprehend the Maker of them? God’s command was but one which said, “Let the earth bring forth wild beasts, and cattle, and creeping things, after their kinds” (Gen. 1:24), and from one earth and from one command have sprung diverse natures, the gentle sheep and the carnivorous lion, and the various instincts of irrational animals, bearing resemblance to the various characters within men; the fox to manifest the craft that is in men, and the snake the venomous treachery of friends, and the neighing horse the wantonness of young men, and the laborious ant to arouse the sluggish and the dull: for when a man passes his youth in idleness, then he is instructed by the irrational animals, being reproved by the divine Scripture saying, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard, see and emulate her ways, and become wiser than she” (Proverbs 6:6). For w hen you see her treasuring up her food, imitate her and treasure up for yourself fruits of good works for the world to come.... Is not the Artificer worthy the rather to be glorified? For what? If you know not the nature of all things, do the things which have been made then become useless? Can you know the efficacy of all herbs? OR can you learn the benefits which derive from every animal? Even from venomous adders have come antidotes for the preservation of men. But you will say to me, “the poisonous snake is terrible.” Fear you the Lord and it will not be able to hurt you. “A scorpion stings.” Fear the Lord and it shall not sting you. “A lion is blood-thirsty.” Fear the Lord, and he shall lie down beside you, as by Daniel. But truly wonderful also is the action of the animals: how some, as the scorpion, have the sharpness of a sting; and others have power in their teeth; and others do battle with their claws; while the basilisk’s power is his gaze. So then from this varied workmanship, understand the Creator’s power. Catechetical Lectures, Lecture IX:13-14, in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 1893, 1989, p. 54.

Humanity is called to contemplate creation The great architect of the universe conceived and produced a being endowed with both natures, the visible and the invisible. God created the human being, bringing its body forth from the preexisting matter which he animated with His own Spirit.... Thus in some way a new universe was born, small and great at one and the same time. God set this “hybrid” worshiper on earth to contemplate the visible world, and to be initiated into the invisible; to reign over earth’s creatures, and to obey orders from on high. He created a being at once earthly and heavenly, insecure and immortal, visible and invisible, halfway between greatness and nothingness, flesh and spirit at the same time... an animal en route to another native land, and, most mysterious of all, made to resemble God by simple submission to the divine will. 117

Oration 45, For Easter 7 (PG 36:850) as quoted in Olivier Clement, The Roots of Christian Mysticism, New City Press, New York, NY, 1995, p. 77.

St. Gregory of Nyssa (330 - 395)
A brother of St. Basil, a monk and eventually a bishop, he served in the remote and obscure diocese of Nyssa near the Armenian border. There he composed inspired works on the ascetical life and the true Church of Christ. He describes human purpose as one of consecrating, even as transfiguring, creation into its full cosmological potential. He was given the titles of "Pillar of Orthodoxy" and "Father of the Fathers" by the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD. Gregory, an ardent student of Origen, is the first person to use the term, “the eternal now,” to describe our experience of God creating the cosmos with the human at the center. He sees the world as created in grace, and so nature is always infused with an interior spiritual supernature. Gregory also introduces into theology the concept of the infinitude of God and describes its consequences. Humanity and the whole cosmos participate in this infinity. In this scheme God is perfection freed from finite limits and made dynamic rather than static. Therefore he sees perfection in God as the infinite advance in the good, and as a never-ending process. His ecological significance encompasses all this but lies particularly in his ability to discern human spirituality extended beyond the realm of the individual soul and to see humanity and all creation as intertwined with each person having responsibility for the entire cosmos. He ardently affirms the spiritual value of nature and all things of this earth even though they reside in a subordinate position to the kingdom of God. Perception of God through nature The one who gazes on the physical universe and perceives the wisdom which is reflected in the beauty of created realities, can reason from the visible to the invisible beauty, the Source of Wisdom, whose influence established the nature of all reality. So also can one who looks upon this new universe of creation which is the Church see in it the one Who is all in all, and thus be led by our faith from things which are intelligible and understandable to a knowledge of the One who is beyond all knowledge. Quoted in Epiphany Journal, Fall, 1985, p. 84

How the Church recreates the world

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The establishment of the Church is a re-creation of the world. In the Church there is a new heaven... Here too there is a new firmament, which is, as Paul tells us, faith in Christ. A new earth is formed... Man is created once again, for by his rebirth from on high, he is renewed according to the image of his Creator. There is also a new light, of which He speaks: "You are the light of the world." On the New Creation, Sermon 13:10491050 Reflection on dominion Man was brought into the world last after the creation, not being rejected to the last as worthless, but as one whom it behooved to be king over his subjects at his very birth.... The Maker of All gives him as foundations the instincts of a two-fold organization, blending the Divine with the earthly, that by means of both he may be naturally and properly (to enjoy both) God by means of his more divine nature, and the good things of earth by the sense that is akin to them. ... He has a rank assigned to him before his genesis and possesses rule over the things that are before his coming into being. On the Making of Man II-IV

The meaning of dominion Man must acquire kingship (dominion) by his own effort. We see the royal stature of man best in those who have become really free by learning to control their own wills. When man wears the purple of virtue and the crown of justice, he becomes a living image of the King of kings, of God himself. On the Nature of God 151

A definition of nature Nature (or "physis") is that in which the existence of beings is comprehended. De Anima et Resurrectione, 46:53

Human nature in the New Creation We learn from scripture in the account of the first Creation, that first the earth brought forth "the green herb" and that then from this plant, seed was yielded, from which, when it was shed on the ground, the same form of the original plant again sprang up. The Apostle, it is to be observed, declares that this very same thing 119

happens in the Resurrection. And so we learn from him the fact, not only that our humanity will then be changed into something nobler, but also that what we have therein to expect is nothing else than that which was at the beginning. On the Soul and the Resurrection I Made in God's image refers to all of human nature For the name Adam... is not now given to a created object. For created man has no special name; he is universal man, encompassing in himself all of humanity. So then, by this designation of Adam's universal nature, we are led to understand that divine providence and energy embrace in primordial creation the whole human race. For God's image is not confined to one part of nature, nor grace to only one individual among those belonging to it.... There is no distinction between man formed at the beginning of the world's creation, and him who will come at the end: they bear in themselves the same image of God. Consequently, man, made in God's image, is nature understood as a whole, reflecting the likeness of God. God's image, proper to Adam's person, relates to all of humanity, to "universal man." On the Structure of Man XVI

The end of time and history When the formation of man is completed, time also should terminate. Then comes the total reconstitution of the whole universe; along with the transformation of the whole shall take place the reconstitution of human existence, from the earth-bound and corruptible to the unchangeable and eternal. De Hominis Opificio 16, PG 44:185b

Man as microcosm of the universe There is nothing remarkable in man being in the image and likeness of the universe. For the earth passes away, the sky changes, and all that is contained therein is as transient as that which contains it.... In thinking to exalt human nature through this imposing name..., they did not notice that man has found himself invested at the same time with the qualities of mosquitoes and mice. quoted in Vladimir Lossky, Orthodox Theology, SVS Press, 1979, pg. 70. 120

Man unites the spiritual and physical There is a connection between the physical and the spiritual; God has created both and rules over them. Therefore, nothing in creation is to be rejected, nor is anything excluded from the community of God. This union of spiritual and physical is embodied by God in man. "The Great Catechism," chapter 6 as quoted by Clarence Glacken in Traces on the Rhodian Shore, Univ. of Calif. Press, 1967, pg. 298.

The creation proclaims the Creator The creation proclaims outright the Creator. For the very heavens, as the Psalmist says, declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1)with their unutterable words. We see the universal harmony in the wondrous sky and on the wondrous earth; how elements essentially opposed to each other are all woven together in an ineffable union to serve one common end, each contributing its particular force to maintain the whole.... We see all this with the piercing eyes of mind, nor can we fail to be taught by means of such a spectacle that a Divine power, working with skill and method, is manifesting itself in this actual world, and, penetrating each portion, combines those portions with the whole and completes the whole by the portions, and encompasses the universe with a single all-controlling force, self-centered, never ceasing from its motion, yet never altering the position which it holds. On the Soul and the Resurrection 4

The Resurrection promises the restoration of paradise The resurrection promises us the restoration of the fallen to their ancient state; for the grace we look for is a certain return to the first life, bringing back again to Paradise him who was cast out from it. If then, the life of those restored is closely related to that of the angels, it is clear that the life before the transgression was a kind of angelic life, and hence also our return to the ancient condition of life is compared to the angels. On the Making of Man XVII

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Man is a little world in himself and contains within himself all the elements which make up the universe. On the Soul and the Resurrection, 4

In the image of God The fact of being created in the image of God means that humanity, right from the moment of creation, was endowed with a royal character.... The godhead is wisdom and logos [reason and meaning]; in yourself too you see intelligence and thought, images of the original intelligence and thought.... God is love and source of love: the divine Creator has drawn this feature on our faces too. On the Creation of Man, 44:136-137

Woman in the image of God Woman is in the image of God equally with man. The sexes are of equal worth. Their virtues are equal, their struggles are equal... Would a man be able to compete with a woman who lives her life to its fullness? Let us make man in our image and likeness, second discourse, (PG 44:276)

All that is God's good resides in man He who created human beings in order to make them share in his own fullness so disposed their nature that it contains the principle of all that is good, and each of these dispositions draws them to desire the corresponding divine attribute. So God could not have deprived them of the best and most precious of his attributes, self-determination, freedom. Catechetical Orations, 45:24

Nature is also in the image of God It is not in a part of human nature that the image of God is found, but nature in its totality is the image of God. On the Creation of Man, 44:185 123

The visible as springboard for spiritual contemplation When someone whose mind is but partially developed sees something clothed in some semblance of beauty, he believes that this thing is beautiful in its own nature. But someone who has purified the eyes of his soul and is trained to see beautiful things... makes use of the visible as a springboard to rise to the contemplation of the spiritual. On Virginity (PG 46:364)

How all creation becomes one body Since He is in all, He takes into Himself all who are united with Him by the participation of His body; He makes them all members of His body, in such wise that the many members are but one body. Having thus united us with Himself and Himself with us, and having become one with us in all things, He makes His own all that is ours. But the greatest of all our goods is submission to God, which brings all creation into harmony.... Thus all creation becomes one body, all are grafted one upon the other, and Christ speaks of the submission of His body to the Father as His own submission. In Illud: Tunc ipse filius subjicietur, PG, XL,1317

In God there is no past or future To the power of God, there is nothing that has passed nor anything that is yet to happen, but even that which is expected later on as well as that which is present are equally grasped by the all-embracing power. On the Making of Man, ch. XVI

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Belief in God rests on the art and wisdom displayed in the order of the world: the belief in the Unity of God, on the perfection that must belong to Him in respect of power, goodness, wisdom, etc. The Great Catechism, Prologue to ch. 1

Creation as evidence of the Creator For when he considers the universe, can anyone be so simple minded as not to believe that the Divine is present in everything, pervading, embracing, and penetrating it? For all things depend upon Him Who is, and nothing can exist which does not have its being in Him Who is. Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 8

Traversing time and space to know God For how can our understanding, traversing the diastemic (i.e., the vast separation caused by time-space) extension, comprehend the unextended nature? The inquiry, proceeding through temporal sequence by analysis, goes on to the antecedents of that which has been discovered. Even if diligent research were to traverse all that is known, it would discover no mechanism by which to traverse the very conception of time (Gr.: aion) itself, being unable to stand outside of itself and to surpass time which is the presupposition for all existents... So when language (reason or discourse, i.e., Logos) arrives at that which is beyond language, it is time to be silent (Eccles. 3:7), and to marvel at the wonder of this ineffable power, uninterpreted and forbidden to the understanding, realizing that it was only of the works of God and not of God himself that even the great ones (prophets) spoke: “Who shall declare the powers of the Lord?” (Psalm 105:2), and “I will narrate all thy works” (Psalm 9:2), and “Generations and generations shall praise thy works” (Psalm 144:4). Of these works they speak and of these they relate the details; to declare events which have happened, they lend their voices. But when discourse comes to that which concerns him who is above all conception, they prescribe utter silence. For they say, “For the majesty of the glory of His holiness there is no limit (Psalm 144:1-5). Ah! How marvelous! How the discourse fears to approach the vicinity of the knowledge of God’s nature! So much so, that it does not seek to comprehend even some of the external phenomena that we can apprehend about God. For the text does not say: “The “ousia” of God has no limits,” judging it too presumptuous to make even such a statement about the concept (of the ousia of God), but devotes the discourse merely to marveling at the magnificence in the glory that is seen around God. 125

In Ecclesiasen VII, Gregorii Nysseni Opera, Vol. V, pp 412-418, as quoted in The Human Presence: Ecological Spirituality in the Age of the Spirit, translation by Mar Paulos Gregorios, Amity House Press, Amity, NY, 1989, p. 58

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St. Ambrose is one of the four great fathers of the West and the teacher of Augustine. He was born in Treves (modern Trier, Germany) on the Roman frontier. He became governor of Northern Italy, residing in Milan, and there was influenced by the local Christians to became a catechumen. From catechumen he became priest, and then with great reluctance he accepted election as bishop of Milan. He took the Gospel literally and one of his first acts was to divest himself and the entire diocese of Milan of all extraneous possessions and to give them to the poor. He found great strength and inspiration in his rigorous application of Christ's commands and began to hear Christ's word within. With amazing eloquence, he cried out against the inequity between the status of the rich few and the numerous poor. He emphasized that creation and its resources were for all people. His pastoral emphasis was the independence of the Church from secular authority. Otherworldliness was a constant theme of his teaching. The earth and its goods belong to All Why do the injuries to nature delight you? For everyone has the world been created, which you few rich are trying to keep for yourselves. For not merely the earth, but the very sky, the air, and the sea are claimed for the use of the rich few. How many people can this air feed which you include within your widespread estate? De Nabuthe 3, The earth belongs to everyone and every living thing, not just to the rich; but fewer are they who do not use what belongs to all than those who do. Therefore in giving alms, you are paying a debt, you are not bestowing what is not due. Scripture says to you, "If a poor man speak to thee, lend him thy ear without grudging; give him his due, and let him have patient and friendly answer" (Eccles. 4:8). De Nabuthe 11 A possession ought to belong to the possessor, not the possessor to the possession. Whosoever, therefore, does not use his patrimony as a possession, who does not know how to give and distribute to the poor, he is a servant of his wealth, not its master... De Nabuthe 14 It is not from part of your own goods that you give to the poor, but rather from what belongs to them. This is because you have appropriated to yourself what was originally given for the use of everyone. The earth has been given for the whole world and not merely for use by the wealthy. De Nabuthe 12:53

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God rests in redeemed humanity, not nature I give thanks to our Lord God, who made a work of such a nature that he could find rest therein. He made the heavens. I do not read that He rested. He made the earth. I do not read that he rested. He made the sun, moon and stars. I do not read that He found rest there. But I do read that He made the human person and then found rest in one whose sins He would remit. Creation 6

The private usurpation of nature Nature has poured forth all things for the common use of all men. And God has ordained that all things should be produced that there might be food in common for all. Nature created common rights, but usurpation has transformed them into private rights. On the Duties of the Clergy

The earth is not cursed Again, consider the fact that it is the serpent and not man who is cursed. And the earth is not cursed in itself, but is "cursed in your work" (Genesis 3:17, John 6:50). This is said in reference to the soul. The earth is cursed if your works are earthly, that is, of this world. It is not cursed as a whole. It will merely bring forth thorns and thistles if it is not diligently cared for by the labor of human hands. Paradise

A lesson from the birds Look at the birds of the air... If there is enough produce from the abundance of harvest for the birds of the air who do not sow, yet nevertheless Divine Providence gives them unfailing nourishment, then indeed avarice must be the cause of our need.... We lose the things that are common when we claim things as our own.... Homily on the Gospel of Luke 7:124 129

The faithful replication of species In the pine cone nature seems to express an image of itself; it preserves its peculiar properties which it received from that divine and celestial command and it repeats in the succession and order of the years its generation until the end of time is fulfilled.... The Six Days of Creation III,16

The generation of species through the Word of God The Word of God permeates every creature in the constitution of the world. Hence, as God has ordained, all kinds of living creatures were quickly produced from the earth. In compliance with a fixed law they all succeed each other according to their aspect and species. The lion generates a lion; the tiger a tiger; the ox an ox; the swan a swan; and the eagle an eagle. What was once enjoined became in nature a pattern for all time. Hence the earth has not ceased to offer the homage of her service. The original species of living creatures is reproduced for future ages by successive generations of its kind. The Six Days of Creation VI,3

Each thing in creation has its own purpose Each and every thing which is produced from the earth has its own reason for existence, which as far as it can fulfills the general plan of creation. Some things are created for our consumption; other things serve other purposes. There is nothing without a purpose; there is nothing superfluous in what generates from the earth. What you may consider useless has other purposes.... The Creator, therefore, is not liable for blame on these matters; and actually His bounty is increased thereby, inasmuch as what you believed was created to bring danger to you is designed to bring you health-giving remedies. The Six Days of Creation III

The elements of creation are free gifts to all Although you may lack money, you are not therefore devoid of grace. Although your house is not commodious, your possessions are not limited. For the sky is open and the expanse of the world is free. The elements have been granted to all for their common use. Rich and poor alike enjoy the splendid ornaments of the universe. The Six Days of Creation III 130

The wisdom of God's plan of creation And perhaps some may wonder why sustenance for animals was provided before food for man was created. In this matter we ought to take note of the depths of God's wisdom in that He does not neglect the least of things. For the divine wisdom utters these words in the Gospel: "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of much more value than they?" If these have been given food through the kindness of God, then no one ought to pride himself on his own industry and natural ability. And one ought to give simple and natural foods precedence over the rest. The Six Days of Creation III

On paradise Ambrose reminds us that we must be very careful in discussing the "place" of Paradise and its nature. " On approaching this subject I seem to be possessed by an unusual eagerness in my quest to clarify the facts about Paradise, its place, and its nature to those who are desirous of this knowledge. This is all the more remarkable since the Apostle did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body, yet he says that he "was caught up to the third heaven" (II Cor. 12:2). And again he says: I know such a man-- whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows--that he was caught up into paradise and heard secret words that man may not repeat" (II Cor. 12:3-5).... If Paradise, then, is of such a nature that Paul alone, or one like Paul, could scarcely see it while alive, and still was unable to remember whether he saw it in the body or out of the body, and moreover, heard words that he was forbidden to reveal-- if this be true, how will it be possible for us to declare the position of Paradise which we have not been able to see, and even if we had succeeded in seeing it, we would be forbidden to share this information with others? And again, since Paul shrank from exalting himself by reason of the sublimity of the revelation, how much more ought we to strive not to be too anxious to disclose that which leads to danger by its very revelation! The subject of Paradise should not, therefore, be treated lightly. Paradise 1:287-288.

Why paradise existed on earth Take note that God placed man (in Paradise), not in respect to the image of God, but in respect to the body of man. The incorporeal does not exist in a place. He placed man in Paradise, just as He placed the sun in heaven. Paradise 1:289

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The beasts of the field The beasts of the field and the birds of the air which were brought to Adam are our irrational senses, because beasts and animals represent the diverse passions of the body, whether of the more violent kind or even of the more temperate.... God granted to you the power of being able to discern by the application of sober logic the species of each and every object, in order that you may be induced to form a judgement on all of them. God called them all to your attention, so that you might realize that your mind is superior to all of them. Paradise 11:329-330

The creation of Eve Woman was made out of the rib of Adam. She was not made of the same earth with which he was formed, in order that we might realize that the physical nature of both man and woman is identical and that there was one source for the propagation of the human race. For that reason, neither was man created together with a woman, nor were two men and two women created at the beginning, but first a man and after that a woman. God willed it that human nature be established as one. Thus, from the very inception of the human stock He eliminated the possibility that many disparate natures should arise.... Reflect on the fact that He did not take a part from Adam's soul but a rib from his body, that is to say, not soul from a soul, but "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh" will this woman be called. Paradise 10-11: 327,329

The world exemplifies the workings of God The world is an example of the workings of God, because while we observe the work, the Worker is brought before us. The Six Days of Creation, Book 1, Ch. 5, para. 17.

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God created heaven and earth.... Why then do some say that God created evil, although from principles contrary and opposed nothing whatsoever is generated? Light does not generate death nor does light give birth to darkness.... From what source did nature derive it [evil]? No rational being denies that evil exists in the world... in which accident and death are so frequent. Yet ... evil is not a living substance, but a deviation of mind and soul away from the path of true virtue, a deviation which frequently steals upon the souls of the unaware. The greater danger is not, therefore, from what is external to us, but from our own selves. Our adversary is within us, within us in the author of error, locked within our very selves. Look closely on your intentions; explore your disposition of mind and the cupidities of your heart. You yourself are the cause of your wickedness.... Why do you summon an alien nature to furnish an excuse for your sins. The Six Days of Creation, Book 1, Ch. 8:30-31

The value of natural foods Some may wonder why sustenance for animals was provided before food for man was created. In this manner we ought to take note of the depths of God's wisdom, in that He does not neglect the least of things. For the Divine Wisdom utters these words in the Gospel: "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you of much more value than they?" If these birds have their food through the kindness of God, then no one ought to pride himself on his own industry and natural ability. And no one ought to despise simple and natural food.... The former is the food of the temperate; the rest of foods contribute to delight and luxury. One is common to all living things; the other to a few. Hence, such a fact furnishes us with an example for frugal living, and is a wise injunction that we ought to be content to live on simple herbs, on cheap vegetables and fruits such as nature has presented to us and the generosity of God has offered to us. This sort of food is also wholesome and useful in that it wards off disease and prevents indigestion. The Six Days of Creation, Book 3, Ch. 7:28

Every thing in creation has a reason and purpose

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Each and every thing which is produced from the earth has its own reason for existence, which, as far as it can, fulfills the general plan for creation. Some things are created for our consumption; other things serve other uses. There is nothing without a purpose; there is nothing superfluous in what germinates from the earth. What you consider useless has use for others; as a matter of fact, it often is useful to you in another way. That which does not serve for food has medicinal qualities, and it often happens that what is harmful to you provides harmless food for birds or wild beasts. Thus starlings feed on the hemlock without any ill effects, since by their physical nature they are immune to its deadly and poisonous sap.... Those who are expert on the nature of hellebore say that it provides food and sustenance to quail and that through a certain natural composition of their bodies, these birds are immune to its harmful effects. The fact is that through medical science this plant frequently serves to preserve the health of the human body, to which it seems to be adverse. As a consequence, what the doctor's hand converts to the preservation of our health becomes even to a greater degree, through its natural qualities, a means for providing for others.... The Creator therefore is not liable to blame in these matters; actually His bounty is increased inasmuch as what you believed was created to bring danger is designed to bring you health-giving remedies. ... Sheep and goats learn to shun what is harmful and for this they make use of smell. Do they not go so far as to recognize a way of avoiding danger and of protecting their health? Do they not distinguish between what is noxious and what is beneficial? They also discern what herbs may be used as medicine in times of illness. Therefore, if irrational animals know what herbs may serve as medicine or what methods may bring assistance to them, can man, who is born with the faculty of reason, be ignorant of this? Or is he such a stranger to truth that he cannot perceive what are the uses especially designed for everything? The Six Days of Creation, Book 3, Ch. 9:39-41

We better know ourselves by knowing the creatures Enter with me into this mighty and wonderful theater of the whole of visible creation. Not slight is the service rendered to strangers by one who watches for their arrival with the intent to conduct them on a tour around the city and to point out to them the more notable monuments. How much more ought you to welcome one who, as I do, conducts you in this assembly by the guiding hand of my discourse through your own native land and who points out to you each and every species and genus, with the desire to show you from all these examples how the Creator of the universe has conferred more abundant benefits on you than on all the rest of His creatures.... While you share with the rest of creatures your corporeal weakness, you possess above and beyond all other creatures a faculty of the soul which in itself has nothing in common with the rest of created things.... [Some may say] How long are we to learn of other living creatures while we do not know ourselves? Tell me what is to be for my benefit, that I may know myself. That is 134

a just complaint. However, the order which Scripture laid down must however be retained. We cannot fully know ourselves without first knowing the nature of all living creatures. Six Days of Creation, Book VI: The Sixth Day, 1:2-2:3 Made in the image of God The image of God is virtue, not infirmity. The image of God is wisdom. The image of God is He alone who has said, "I and the Father are one," thus possessing the likeness of the Father so as to have a unity of divinity and of plentitude. Six Days of Creation, Book VI: The Sixth Day, The Ninth Homily, 7:41

The nature of God in creation God is of an uncompounded nature; nothing can be added to Him, and that alone which is divine has He in His nature; filling all things, yet nowhere Himself confounded with aught; penetrating all things, yet Himself nowhere to be penetrated; present in all His fullness at one and the same moment, in heaven, in earth, in the deepest depth of the sea; to sight invisible, by speech not to be declared; by feeling not to be measured; to be followed by faith; to be adorned with devotion; so that whatsoever title excels in depth of spiritual import, in setting forth glory and honor, in exalting power, this you may know to belong of right to God. Of the Christian Faith, Book 1, ch. 16, Nr. 106

The nature of God in creation God is of an uncompounded nature; nothing can be added to Him, and that alone which is divine has He in His nature; filling all things, yet nowhere Himself confounded with aught; penetrating all things, yet Himself nowhere to be penetrated; present in all His fullness at one and the same moment, in heaven, in earth, in the deepest depth of the sea; to sight invisible, by speech not to be declared; by feeling not to be measured; to be followed by faith; to be adorned with devotion; so that whatsoever title excels in depth of spiritual 135

import, in setting forth glory and honor, in exalting power, this you may know to belong of right to God. Of the Christian Faith, Book 1, ch. 16, Nr. 106

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The Holy Spirit is the Creator Who can doubt that the Holy Spirit gives life to all things? Since both He, as the Father and the Son, is the Creator of all things; and the Almighty Father is understood to have done nothing without the Holy Spirit; and since also in the beginning of creation the Spirit moved upon the water. So when the Spirit was moving upon the water, the creation was without grace; but after this world, being created, underwent the operation of the Spirit, it gained all the beauty of that grace, wherewith the world is illuminated. And because the grace of the universe cannot abide without the Holy Spirit the prophet declared when he said "Thou will take away Thy Spirit, and they will fail and be turned again into dust. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be made, and Thou wilt renew all the face of the earth." Not only, then, did he teach that no creature can stand without the Holy Spirit, but also that the Spirit is the Creator of the whole creation. And who can deny that the creation of the earth is the work of the Holy Spirit, Whose work it is that creation is renewed? For if they desire to deny that it was created by the Spirit, since they cannot deny that it must be renewed by the Spirit, they who desire to sever the Persons must maintain that the operation of the Holy Spirit is superior to that of the Father and the Son, which is far from the truth; for there is no doubt that the restored earth is better than it was created. Or if at first, without the operation of the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son made the earth, but the operation of the Holy Spirit was joined on afterwards, it will seem that that which was made required His aid, which was then added. But far be it from any one to think this, namely, that the divine work should be believed to have a change in the Creator, an error brought in by Manicheus. On the Holy Spirit, Book I, 5, 32-34

The nature of the Holy Spirit in creation Gentile writers have pointed out that the Spirit within nourishes heaven and earth, and even the glittering orbs of moon and stars. They do not deny that the strength of creatures exists through the Spirit. But you would think that they refer to a Spirit produced of the air. If they declared a Spirit of the air to be the Author of all things, do we doubt that the Spirit of God is the Creator of all things? On the Holy Spirit, Book I, 5, 36

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The causes of the beginnings of all things are in seeds. And the Apostle of the Gentiles has said that the human body is a seed. And so in succession after sowing there is the substance needful for the resurrection. But even if there were no substance and no cause, who could think it difficult for God to create man anew whence He will and as He wills. Who commanded the world to come into being out of no matter and no substance? Look at the heavens, behold the earth. Whence are the fires of the stars? Whence the orb and rays of the sun? Whence the globe of the moon? Whence the mountain heights or the woodland groves? Whence are the air diffused around, and the waters, whether enclosed or poured abroad? But if God made all these things out of nothing, for “He spake and they were made, He commanded and they were created” (Ps. 147:5), why should we wonder that that which has been should be brought to life again, since we see produced that which had not been. On Belief in the Resurrection, Book II, Nr. 64, in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second series, Vol. X, A. Cleveland Coxe translation, 1888, Eerdmans Printing, Co., 1989, p. 184.

Grace in creation So when the Spirit was moving upon the water, the creation was without grace; but after this world, being created, underwent the operation of the Spirit, it gained all the beauty of that grace, wherewith the world is illuminated. And because the grace of the universe cannot abide without the Holy Spirit the prophet declared when he said "Thou will take away Thy Spirit, and they will fail and be turned again into dust. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be made, and Thou wilt renew all the face of the earth." Not only, then, did he teach that no creature can stand without the Holy Spirit, but also that the Spirit is the Creator of the whole creation. And who can deny that the creation of the earth is the work of the Holy Spirit, Whose work it is that creation is renewed? For if they desire to deny that it was created by the Spirit, since they cannot deny that it must be renewed by the Spirit, they who desire to sever the Persons must maintain that the operation of the Holy Spirit is superior to that of the Father and the Son, which is far from the truth; for there is no doubt that the restored earth is better than it was created. Or if at first, without the operation of the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son made the earth, but the operation of the Holy Spirit was joined on afterwards, it will seem that that which was made required His aid, which was then added. But far be it from any one to think this, namely, that the divine work should be believed to have a change in the Creator, an error brought in by Manicheus. On the Holy Spirit, Book I, 5, 32-34

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One of the four western fathers, Saint Jerome is especially known for translating the Bible into Latin, which we know today as the Vulgate translation. Jerome chronicled the stories of the monks of the Egyptian desert and graphically related the amazing levels of spiritual development to which they attained. His ecological importance is primarily as a chronicler of fourth and early fifth century Christian experience and suppositions about wilderness and the animals. He describes in great detail the rapport and friendships which often developed between the desert monks and the wild animals which lived near their austere dwellings. These stories he provides us from the conventional understanding of his day which was shaped largely by monastic experience.

Why the saints go to wilderness places Jerome relates that the desert fathers and mothers went to wild places to flee the corruption of cities, to wage war with their passions, but especially to encounter the holy. He writes, "to me the town is a prison, and solitude is paradise." quoted in Keith Warmer, OFM, in "The Sacredness of Wilderness in Christian Thought," Green Cross magazine, Vol. 2, Nr. 2, Spring, 1996, pg. 8.

The serpent and the blessed monk Ammon One of the brothers of the monastery of the Blessed Apollo related to me this story:

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In the times which are past a certain holy man, whose name was Ammon, used to dwell in this monastery, and he it was who converted me. Thieves would sometimes vex him, for they stole his apparel and food, and by reason of their vexatious attacks he went forth and departed into the desert. And he returned with two great serpents and commanded them to guard the door of his abode. When the thieves returned, according to their custom, they saw the serpents and marveled, and, by reason of their fear, they fell down on their faces upon the ground. Then, having gone forth and seen the thieves, the blessed man spoke unto them, and reviled them, saying, “Observe how much more worse you are than the serpents! These creatures are, for God’s sake, obedient to our command, but you are neither afraid of God, nor do you hold His servants in respect. And he took them into his dwelling, and fed them, and admonished them, and told [them] that they ought to change their way of life. And straightway they repented and took up their habitation in a monastery, and they excelled more than many in spiritual works, until at length they also were able to work miracles. Accounts of the Desert Fathers, as quoted in Joanne Stefanatos, Animals and Man: A State of Blessedness, Life and Light Publishing Co., Minneapolis, 1992, p. 116.

The mind of Christ in animals We admire the Creator, not only as the framer of heaven and earth, of sun and ocean, of elephants, camels, horses, oxen, leopards, bears, and lions, but also as the maker of tiny creatures. Ants, gnats, flies, worms and the like – things whose shapes we know better than their names. And as in all creation we reverence His skill, so the mind that is given to Christ is equally earnest in small things as in great, knowing that an account must be given even for an idle word. Quoted by Jill Haak Adels, The Wisdom of the Saints, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1987, p. 120  

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An early monk and ascetical writer who lived near Sketis in the Egypt desert, his many texts on prayer and holiness are still used as guidance for monastic life. He lived in the harsh, hot desert and was renowned for his learning and austerity. His writing is abundant with references to nature as a storehouse of lessons which he considers crucial for the attainment of a spiritually whole life. Evagrius, following others before him, divided the spiritual journey into three stages, called theoriae: praktike, physike, and theologia. In the first stage, praktike, a person learns to practice virtue, becomes obedient to basic biblical commands, and finds purification of the passionate nature. This leads to the second stage, physike, during which a person learns a natural form of contemplation and becomes able to see created reality as it exists in God. In the final stage, theologia, the disciple is ready for contemplation of God and experiential knowledge of the Logos and the Trinity. The importance of Evagrius for modern ecology lies in his concise description of the interior attitudes necessary to achieve contemplation of nature and literacy regarding God’s lessons in creation.

Reading the works of God There came to St. Anthony in the desert one of the educated men of that time and he said, "Father, how can you endure to live here, deprived as you are of all consolation from books?" Anthony answered, "My book, philosopher, is the nature of created things, and whenever I wish, I can read in it the works of God." “Texts on Prayer,” Quoted in Sources Chretiennes, Cerf., Paris, 1971, p. 694.

Creation as a means for knowing God As for those who are far from God..., God has made it possible for them to come near to the knowledge of him and his love for them through the medium of creatures. These he has produced, as the letters of the alphabet, so to speak, by his power and his wisdom, that is to say, by his Son and by his Spirit. The whole of this ministry is performed by creatures for the benefit of those who are far from God. “Letter to Melania,” (in Hausherr, p. 84)

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Practice of the virtues We practice the virtues in order to achieve contemplation of the inner essences of created things, and from this we pass to contemplation of the Logos who gives them their being, and He manifests Himself when we are in a state of prayer. Philokalia 1:52

Preparation for seeing God in creation Evagrius says that a sign that a person is ready to move up the ladder of spiritual formation from the first stage of praktike [practice of the virtues which purifies] to the second stage of physike, or the ability to enter into contemplation of nature, is: “...when the spirit begins to see its own light.” Other signs which he lists are the ability of the person to pray at length without distraction and awareness of the powers that reside in the soul. “Only when these signs are present... can the world be seen as it truly exists — in God.” The Praktikos and Chapters on Prayer: Evagrius Ponticus, Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, 1981, pp. 3334.

Limits to discerning God in creation It is in the power of our spirit to gain a spiritual understanding of natural objects. But to understand the Holy Trinity is not only not in the power of our spirit, but it requires a superabundant grace from God. Centuries 1:79, as quoted in Olivier Clement, The Roots of Christian Mysticism, 1995, p. 230

Growth in learning from creation difficult

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To progress in thinking about creatures is painful and wearisome. The contemplation of the Holy Trinity is ineffable peace and silence. Centuries 1:65

St. John Chrysostom (347 - 407)
After receiving the best education which Constantinople could offer, St. John entered a monastic community. After eight years of prayer and austerities in a damp cave, he returned to the city where he worked as an assistant to the bishop. His first duty was to feed the poor and teach the gospel. St. John became an eloquent preacher ("Chrysostom" means golden-mouthed), and he became famous as the mightiest orator in Byzantine Christianity. Great crowds flocked to hear his inspired sermons. Eventually, against his wishes, he was elected Patriarch of Constantinople. Upon election, he stripped the excess and luxury from the bishop's palace and sold it all to establish hospitals and hostels for the poor. His preaching against ostentation and the lack of charity among the rich made fierce enemies. He was eventually deposed and sent into exile in Armenia where he wrote hundreds of letters and commentaries on Scripture and contemporary subjects. No other Greek father left so extensive a literary legacy. He became a revered authority on the content of faith, which makes his insights about creation important for establishing the authenticity of ecological concern in Church ministry. In Antioch, where he was born, he was given the title “Great Teacher of the Earth,” which Pope Celestine in Rome repeated. In the tenth century he was named, along with St. Basil and St. Gregory of Nazianzus, one of the three hierarchs of the Greek Church. He is considered by many to be the greatest saint of the Greek Church. Love for the creatures The saints are exceedingly loving and gentle to mankind, and even to the beasts.... Surely we ought to show them great kindness and gentleness for many reasons, but, above all, because they are of the same origin as ourselves. Homily XXXIX: 35 Comentary on Epistle to the Romans

The Two Trees of Paradise The tree of life was in the midst of Paradise as a reward; the tree of knowledge as an object of contest and struggle. Having kept the commandment regarding this tree, you will receive a reward. And behold the wondrous thing. Everywhere in Paradise every kind of tree blossoms, everywhere they are abundant in fruit; only in the center are there two trees as an object of battle and exercise. 147

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On the Creation of the World V, 7 Creation as a form of Doctrine God leaves them who are not minded to receive what comes from Him.... But consider this: He set before them a form of doctrine, which is the world; He gave them reason and an understanding capable of perceiving what was needful.... Homily III, verse 24 Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans

God gave the earth to everyone God never made some people rich and others poor. God gave the earth to everyone. The whole earth belongs to the Lord, and the fruits of the earth should be available to all. Homilies on Romans

God's dispensation of creation Mark the wise dispensation of God.... He has made certain things common, as the sun, air, earth, and water, the sky, the sea, the light, the stars, whose benefits are dispensed equally to all as brethren.... And mark, that concerning things that remain common there is no contention but all is peaceable. But when one attempts to possess himself of anything, to make it his own, then contention is introduced, as if nature herself were indignant. Tell me, then, how did you become rich? From whom did you receive it, and from whom he who transmitted it to you? And can you, ascending through many generations, show the acquisition as just? It cannot be. The root and origin of it must have been injustice. Why? Because God in the beginning did not make one man rich and another poor. Nor did He afterwards take and show to anyone treasures of gold, and deny to the others the right of searching for it. Rather, He left the earth free to all alike. Homilies on I Timothy

Creation as a means for knowing God One way of coming to knowledge of God is that which is provided by the whole of creation; and another, no less significant, is that which is offered by conscience, the whole of which we 149

have expounded upon at great length, showing how you have a self-taught knowledge of what is good and what is not so good, and how conscience urges all this upon you from within. Two teachers, then, are given you from the beginning: creation and conscience. Neither of them has voice to speak out; yet they teach men in silence. Homilies on Hannah, cited in Epiphany Journal, 6:1, Fall, 1985, p. 53

Not to share possessions is robbery This is robbery not to share one's resources. Perhaps what I am saying astonishes you. Yet be not astonished. For I shall offer you the testimony of the sacred scriptures, which say that not only to rob others' property, but also not to share your own with others, is robbery and greediness and theft... "for the robbery of the poor is in your houses" (Malachi 3:10). Because you have not made offerings, the prophet says, therefore have you robbed the things that belong to the poor. This he says by way of showing the rich that they are in possession of the property of the poor, even if it is a patrimony that they have received, even if they have gathered their money elsewhere. De Lazaro 2, 4, 48:987

The purpose of creation God created everything, not only for our use, but also that we, seeing the great wealth of his creations, might be astonished at the might of the Creator and might understand that all this was created with wisdom and unutterable goodness, for the honor of man, who was to appear. Homilies on Genesis VII, 5

"To till and keep" the Garden "To till." What was lacking in Paradise? And even if a tiller was needed, where was the plow? Where were the other implements of agriculture? The "tilling" (or "working") of God consisted in tilling and keeping the commandments of God, remaining faithful to the commandment.... Just as to believe in God is the work of God (John 6:29), so also it was a work to believe the commandments that if he touched (the forbidden tree) he would die, and if he did not touch it, he would live. The work was the keeping of the spiritual words.... "To till and to keep it," it is said. To keep it from whom? To keep it for oneself; not to lose it by transgressing the commandments; to keep Paradise for oneself, observing the commandment. 150

On the Creation of the World V, 5 Doing God's will on earth "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." ... For you must long, says He, for heaven; however, even before heaven, He has bidden us make the earth a heaven and do and say all things, even while we are continuing in it, as having our conversation there.... For there is nothing to hinder our reaching the perfection of the powers above, because we inhabit the earth; but it is possible even while abiding here, to do all, as though already placed on high. What He says, therefore is this: "As there all things are done without hindrance, and the angels are not partly obedient and partly disobedient, but in all things yield and obey; so vouchsafe that we men may not do Thy will by halves, but perform all things as Thou willest." Do you see how He has also taught us to be modest, by making it clear that virtue is not of our endeavors only, but also of the grace from above? And again, He has enjoined each one of us, who pray, to take upon himself the care of the whole world. For He did not at all say, "Thy will be done," in me, or in us, but everywhere on the earth; so that error may be destroyed, and truth implanted, and all wickedness cast out, and virtue return, and no difference in this respect be henceforth between heaven and earth. Commentary on St. Matthew, Homily 19:7

Creation is good Creation is not evil. It is both good and a pattern of God's wisdom, power and love of mankind.... It leads us to knowledge of God (and) makes us know the Master better. Homilies on the devil, ref. 1117, AD 386, in The Faith of the Early Fathers, vol. II, trans. by W. A. Jurgens, pg. 88.

How does creation declare the glory of God? “The heavens declare the glory of God.” How then, tell me, do they declare it? Voice have they none; mouth they do not possess; tongue is not theirs! How then do they declare? By means of the spectacle itself! For when you see the beauty, the breadth, the height, the position, the form, the stability thereof during so long a period; hearing as it were a voice, and being instructed by the spectacle itself, thou admires Him who created a body so fair and strange! The heavens may be silent, but the sight of them emits a voice that is louder than a trumpet’s sound. 151

On the Statutes 9.4 God holds creation together God not only produced the creation, but He holds together what He produced. Whether you are speaking about angels, archangels, the powers above, or simply about every creature both visible and invisible, they all enjoy the benefit of His providence. And if they are ever deprived of that providential action, they waste away, they perish, they are gone. The Incomprehensible Nature of God 12:51

From creation, learn to admire the Lord From the creation, learn to admire the Lord! And if any of the things which you see exceed your comprehension, and you are not able to find the reason for its existence, then for this reason, glorify the Creator that the wisdom of His works surpasses your own understanding. On the Statutes 12:7

Everything in creation has a purpose There is nothing that has been created [that is] without some reason, even if human nature is incapable to knowing precisely the reason for some parts of creation. Homilies on Genesis 7.14

God’s gifts are for everyone God generously gives all things that are much more necessary than money, such as air, water, fire, the sun – all such things. It is surely not true to say that the rich person enjoys the sun’s rays more than the poor person does. It is not correct to say that the rich person takes in a more abundant supply of air than the poor person does. No, all these things lie at the equal and common disposition of all.

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We shall give account for all that we have used We do all things ignoring the fact that we shall have to give account of everything that goes beyond our use, for we thus misuse the gifts of God. For He has not given us these things that we alone may use them, but that we may alleviate the need of our fellow human beings. Homilies on Genesis, 4

Nature is our best teacher Indeed the magnitude and beauty of creation, and also the very manner of it, display a God Who is the artificer of the universe. He has made the mode of this creation to be our best teacher, by compounding all things in a manner that transcends the course of nature. Concerning the Statutes

On being in the image of God “On the day God made Adam,” the text says, “in God’s image he made him.” This is to say, he appointed him ruler of all visible things. This is the meaning of “in his image” in respect both of his control and his lordship. You see, just as the God of all has control of all things both visible and invisible, being Creator of everything as he is, so too after creating this rational being he intended him to have control of all visible things. Hence he accorded him also a spiritual being in his wish that he not see death for ever; but since through indifference he fell and transgressed the command given him, out of fidelity to his own loving kindness he did not turn away at this but while stripping him of immortality he placed this creature he had condemned to death in almost the same position of control. Commentary on Genesis, ver. 5:1-3, Homily 21

Commentary on the death of the animals in the flood The Lord God said, “I will wipe off the face of the earth the human being I have made, everything from human being to cattle.” 153

Why is it that when human beings decline into evil, the wild animals endure the same punishment? Everything was brought into existence for human beings, so once they were removed from the circle, what need would there be of the animals? Hence they also share the punishment so that you may learn the degree of God’s anger. Just as in the beginning when the first formed person sinned, the earth received the curse, so too in this case when the human being was on the point of being blotted out, the wild animals also share the punishment. Just as on the other hand, when the human being is pleasing to God, creation also shares in the human beings prosperity (as Paul also says, Creation, too, will be set free from its servitude to decay WI th a view to the freedom of the children of God’s glory), so too, when the human being is about to be punished on account of the great number of sins and to be consigned to destruction, the cattle and the reptiles and birds are likewise caught up in the deluge that is due to overcome the whole world. Commentaries on Genesis, Ver. 6:7 Homily 22:17

The state of the creatures is determined by the state of humans Just as the creature became corruptible when your [human] body became corruptible, so also when your body will be incorrupt, the creature will also follow after it and become corresponding to it. Homily on Romans XIV:5

God’s covenant with Noah is also with all of the animals “God said to Noah and his sons with him, ‘Lo, I am making my covenant with you and with your offspring and with every living being that is with you, including both birds and cattle, and with all the wild beasts of the earth that are with you’” (Genesis 9:8-11). This promise he had in fact already made even before the blessing when He said, as you heard, “I will not proceed to curse the earth (Genesis 8:21). Even if people continue to display their wickedness, yet I no longer submit the human race to such terrible punishment. In other words, He shows His ineffable love by making the promise once again so that the good man [Noah] may be able to take heart [and not fear another calamity]. His [God’s] purpose, therefore, was to eliminate all apprehension from Noah’s thinking and for him to be quite assured that this would not happen again. He said, remember, just as I brought on the deluge out of love, so as to put a stop to their wickedness and prevent their going to further extremes, so in this case too it is out of love that I promise never to do it again, so that you may live free of all dread and in this way see your present life to its close....

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“I will keep my covenant with you: no more will all the creatures perish in the water of a deluge, and never again will there be a deluge to destroy the whole earth.” Do you see the extent of the agreement? Do you see the unspeakable generosity of the promises? Notice how He once again extends His generosity to the animals and wild beasts, and rightly so. Homily XXVIII, Commentary on Genesis 9:8-11, in Fathers of the Church, Vol. 82, CUA Press, Washington, DC, 1981, pp. 184-186

The earth will be transformed “Think not that I am come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Til heaven and earth pass, not one jot nor one tittle shall pass from the law until all comes to pass.” And here he [the Lord] signifies to us obscurely that the fashion of the whole world is being changed. Nor did he set it down without purpose, but... in order to introduce another discipline: if at least the works of creation are to be transformed, and mankind is to be called to another country and to a higher way of practicing how to live. Commentary of St. Matthew, chapter V, in Homily XVI:4 in The Nicene and PostNicene Fathers, First series, Vol. X, A. Cleveland Coxe translation, 1888, Eerdmans Printing, Co., 1989, p. 105-106.

  Wilderness as the mother of quiet For what purpose does He (Jesus) go up into the mountain? To teach us that loneliness and retirement is good when we are to pray to God. With this view, you see, He is continually withdrawing into the wilderness, and there often spends the whole night in prayer, teaching us earnestly to seek such quiet in our prayers, as the time and place may confer. For the wilderness is the mother of quiet; it is a calm and a harbor, delivering us from all turmoil. Commentary on Matthew 14, verses 23-24, in Eerdmans’ Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. X, 1888, trans. by Rev. Baronet, p. 310.

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The value of gold Let us not consider that wealth is anything great, nor that gold is any better than clay. The value of a substance does not come from its name but from what we think about it. For if we were to investigate the matter carefully, iron is far more necessary than gold. Gold brings nothing useful into our lives, but iron serves countless arts and supplies many of our needs. Baptismal Instructions

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One of the great Latin Fathers, St. Augustine was a black Numidean and convert from Manicheanism who became Bishop of North Africa. His writings depict the cosmos afire with a radiant beauty which everywhere portrays the fecund qualities of God. Nature is so transparent of the magnificence and "up-building" of God, says Augustine, that it can instruct those who are astute regarding the right conduct of human life. Augustine continually taught that creation is good, for he saw a trinitarian dimension permeating everything in the cosmos. The often quoted phrase, "vestigium Trinitatis," or the "vestiges of the Holy Trinity" originates in his writings. He is known for molding the structure of the Church in Africa as well as the mind of the Church in the West. The beauty of creation How can I tell you of the rest of creation with all of its beauty and utility, which the divine greatness has given to man to please his eyes and serve his purposes? ... Shall I speak of the manifold and various loveliness of sky and earth and sea; of the plentiful supply and wonderful qualities of light, of sun, moon and stars; of the shade of trees; of the colors and perfume and song; of the variety of animals, of which the smallest in size are often the most wonderful — the works of ants and bees astonishing us more than the huge bodies of whales? Shall I speak of the sea, which itself is so grand a spectacle, when it arrays itself as it were in vestures of various colors, now running through every shade of green, and again becoming purple or blue? Is it not delightful to look at the storm and experience the soothing complacency which it inspires...? What shall I say of the numberless foods to alleviate hunger, the variety of seasonings to stimulate the appetite which are scattered everywhere by nature, and for which we are not indebted to the art of cookery? How many natural herbs are there for preserving and restoring health? How graceful is the alteration of day and night! How pleasant the breezes that cool the air! How abundant the supply of clothing furnished us by plants, trees and animals! Can we enumerate all the blessings which we enjoy? The City of God, Book XXII, xxiv Catholic Univ. of America translation

God's governance of the world God's governance is not by domination and not by the exercise of heteronomous [subject to different laws of growth] might, but by allowing each creature and thing its own autonomy within law.... God's governance is not just spiritual, but physical and includes the most scorned creatures. He governs all things in such a way that he allows them to function and behave in ways proper to them. The City of God, Book VII, xxx The Book of Nature 158

Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Note it. Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that? Why, heaven and earth shout to you: "God made me!" De Civit. Dei, Book XVI, as quoted by Hugh Price, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Image Books, 1957, p. 227.

A utilitarian concern for nature misses its beauty They (the heretics and pagans) do not consider how admirable these things (of creation) are in their own places, how excellent in their own natures, how beautifully adjusted to the rest of creation, and how much grace they contribute to the universe by their own contributions, as to a commonwealth, and how serviceable they are to one another and even to ourselves, if we use them with a knowledge of fit adaptations. And thus divine providence admonishes us not to foolishly vituperate things, but to investigate their purpose with care, and where our mental capacity or infirmity is at fault, to believe that there is a purpose though hidden. Confessions XI:xxii

God's providence orchestrates creation God is the unchanging conductor as well as the unchanged Creator of all things that change. When he adds, abolishes, controls, increases or diminishes the rites of any age, He is ordering all events according to his Providence, until the beauty of the completed course of time, whose parts are the dispensations suitable to each different period, shall have played itself out, like the great melody of some ineffable composer. Letters 138:1

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New potentialities within creation (There are "seminal reasons" for new developments within creation, and these lie hidden, waiting to spring to life in their own time, Augustine says.) All these things indeed have originally and primarily already been created in a kind of web of the elements; but they make their appearance when they get the opportunity. For just as mothers are pregnant with their young, so the world is pregnant with things that are still to come into being.... On the Trinity III,ix

Why greed must be purged from the soul It is due to the greed of the soul that it wants to grasp and possess many things, and thus it lays hold of time and corporeality and multiplicity, and loses precisely what it possesses.... These things must come out if God is to enter.... cited by Georges Florovsky, Faith and Culture

Human possessions Whence does anyone possess what he or she has? Is it not from human law? For by divine law, the earth and its fullness are the Lord's; the poor and the rich God has made from one mud, and the poor and the rich He sustains on one earth. Nevertheless, by human law, one says, "This estate is mine, this house is mine, this servant is mine." This is by human law therefore -- by the law of emperors. In Ioann 6:25

The reasons for evil in the world Evils abound in the world in order that the world may not engage our love. But what is this evil in the world? For the sky and the earth and the waters and the things that are in them, the fishes and the birds and the trees are not evil. All these are good. It is the actions of men who make the world evil. 160

Sermones ad Populum, 1st sermon, 80:8 God's providence rules creation Many foolish men, unable to contemplate and discern creation, in its several places and rank, performing its movements at the nod and commandment of God, think that God does indeed rule all things above, but things below He despises, casts aside, abandons, so that He neither cares for them nor guides nor rules them; but that they are ruled by chance. What sort of Providence is this? they say. "If it were God that gave rain, would He rain into the sea? Getulia is thirsty and it rains into the sea." They think that they handle the matter cleverly. He that argues thusly is already satisfied. He thinks himself learned, but he is not willing to learn, and he would find that everything happens upon earth by God's Providence, and he would wonder at the arrangement of even the limbs of a flea. Attend to this, beloved. Who has arranged the limbs of a flea and a gnat that they should have their proper order, life, motion? Consider one little creature, even the very smallest. Consider the order of its limbs and the animation of its life and how it moves. How does it avoid death, love life, seek pleasure, avoid pain, exert diverse senses, vigorously use movements suitable to itself? Who gave the sting to the mosquito for it to suck blood with? How narrow is the stinger whereby it sucks? Who arranged all of this? If you are amazed at these smallest of things, praise Him who is great. Hold this, my brothers, let none shake you from your faith or from sound doctrine. He who made the Angel to dwell in heaven, the same also made the worm to dwell upon earth. He made not the angel to creep in the mud nor the worm to move in heaven. Observe then the whole, praise the whole. He then who ordered the limbs of the worm, does He not govern the clouds? Commentary on Psalm 148, 8

The mystery of “leviathan” in creation There is also in that sea something which transcends all creatures, great and small. What is this? Let us hear the Psalm: "There is that Leviathan, whom Thou has formed to make sport of him." This is a great mystery; and yet I am about utter what you already know. You know that a certain serpent is the enemy of the Church; you have not seen him with the eyes of the flesh, but you see him with the eyes of faith. This serpent, our ancient enemy, glowing with rage, cunning in his wiles, is in the mighty sea. "Here is that Leviathan, whom thou hast formed to make sport of him." Do thou now make sport of the serpent; for, for this end was this serpent made. He, falling by his own sin from the sublime realms of the heavens, and made devil instead of angel, received a certain region of his own in this mighty and spacious sea. What thou thinkest his kingdom, is his prison.... How much can he do? Unless by permission, he can do nothing. Do thou so act, that he may not be allowed to attack thee, or, if he be allowed to tempt thee, he may depart vanquished, and may not gain thee. Commentary on Psalm 104, v. 35-36 161

From the works of creation, love the Creator Learn in the creature to love the Creator, and in the work Him who made it. Let not that which was made by Him take hold of thee, so that thou lose Him by Whom thou also art thyself made. Commentary on Psalm 39

God’s presence fills the earth All things that grow and sustain animal life He produced.... He gave us the earth, the fertility of soil, and food for men and animals. ... The truth is that all of these actions and energies belong to one true God, who is wholly present everywhere, is confined to no frontiers and bound by no hindrances, is indivisible and immutable, and though His nature has no need of either heaven or of earth, He fills them both with His presence and His power. The City of God 7.30

Why creation is good The explanation, then, of the goodness of creation is in the goodness of God. This is a reasonable and sufficient explanation whether considered in the light of philosophy or of faith. It puts an end to all controversies concerning the origin of the world. The City of God 11.22

How man exercises dominion in creation Thus man is “renewed unto the knowledge of God, according to the image of his Creator,” and becoming “the spiritual man judges all things”.... Now, that he “judges all things,” — that means that he has dominion over the fish of the sea and fowl that fly in the heavens, and all domestic and wild animals, and every part of the earth, and all creeping creatures that move upon the earth. This he exercises by virtue of the understanding of 162

his mind, through which he “perceives the things that are of the Spirit of God.” Confessions 13:22-23

How God constructs the world “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him.” Do not imagine that He was in the world in such a way as the earth is in the world... or the trees, cattle and men are in the world. He was not in the world in such a way. But how was He? As the master builder who governs what He has made. For He did not make it in the way a craftsman makes a chest. The chest which he makes is external to him; and when it is constructed, it has been situated in another place. And however nearby he is, he who is constructing it sits in another place and is external to that which he is constructing. ... But God constructs while infused in the world. He constructs while situated everywhere. He does not withdraw from anywhere. He does not direct the structure which He constructs as someone on the outside. By the presence of His majesty, He makes what He makes; by His own presence He governs what He has made. Commentary on the Gospel of John 2.10

Every creature has a special beauty Every creature has a special beauty proper to its nature, and when a man ponders the matter well, these creatures are a cause of intense admiration and enthusiastic praise of their all-powerful Maker. For He has wrought them all in His wisdom. ... He creates them tiny in body, keen in sense, and full of life, so that we may feel a deeper wonder at the agility of the mosquito on the wing than at the size of a beast of burden on the hoof, and may admire more intensely the works of the smallest ants than the burdens of the camels. The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Book III, Ch. 14.

Look at His works I cannot show you my God, but I can show you his works. “Everything was made by him” (John 1:3). He created the world in its newness, he who has no beginning. He who is eternal created time. He who is unmoved made movement. Look at his works and praise their maker. 163

Sermon 261, 2 (PL 38: 1203) Knowledge of God through knowledge of creation Everywhere let the common water of God have the glory, not the private falsehoods of men. For it follows, “All the beasts of the wood shall drink” (Ps. 104:11). We indeed see this in the visible creation, that the beasts of the wood drink of springs, and of streams that run between the mountains. But since it has pleased God to hide his wisdom in the figures of such things (as animals and parts of creation), not to take it away from earnest seekers, but to close it to them who care not, and open it to them that knock. It has also pleased our Lord God Himself to exhort you by us to this, that in all these things which are said as if of the bodily and visible creation, we may seek something spiritually hidden, in which when found we may rejoice.... Holy Scripture witnesses this in many places... Commentary on Psalm 104:10-11

The whole earth is full of thy works “In wisdom hast thou made them all.” All therefore hast thou made in Christ.... The earth is full of the creation of Christ. And how so? We discern how: for what was not made by the Father through the Son? Whatever walketh and doth crawl on earth, whatever doth swim in the waters, whatever flieth in the air, whatever doth revolve in heaven, how much more then the earth, the whole universe, is the work of God. But he seems to me to speak here of some new creation, of which the Apostle saith, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God.” All who believe in Christ, who put off the old man and put on the new, are a new creature. “The earth is full of thy works.” On one spot of the earth He was crucified, in o ne small spot that seed feel into the earth, and died; but it brought forth great fruit.... Commentary on Psalm 104:24, Nr. 31

Contemplation increases knowledge of creation’s goodness

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“The earth is full of Thy creation.” Of what creation of Thine is the earth full? Of all trees and shrubs, of all animals and flocks, and of the whole of the human race; the earth is full of the creation of God. We see, now, read, recognize, praise and in these we preach of Him; yet we are not able to praise respecting these things, as fully as our heart doth abound with praise after the beautiful contemplation of them. Commentary on Psalm 104, Nr. 32

Commentary on the Earth is the Lord’s “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; the encompass of the world, and all they that dwell therein”; when the Lord, being glorified, is announced for the believing of all nations; the whole compass of the world becomes His Church. “He hath founded it above the seas.” He hath most firmly established it above the waves of this world, that they should be subdued by it, and should not hurt it. Commentary on Psalm 24:1-2

Ask the earth Ask the loveliness of the earth, ask the loveliness of the sea, ask the loveliness of the wide airy spaces, ask the loveliness of the sky, ask the order of the stars, ask the sun, making the daylight with its beams, ask the moon tempering the darkness of the night that follows, ask the living things which move in the waters, which tarry on the land, which fly in the air. Ask the souls that are hidden, the bodies that are perceptive, the visible things which must be governed, the invisible things that govern — ask these things, and they will all answer you. Yes, see we are lovely. Their loveliness is their confession. And all these lovely but mutable things, who has made them, but Beauty immutable. Sermons, Nr. 242.2

Defects in nature are part of creation’s harmony It would be ridiculous... to regard the defects of beasts, trees and other mutable and mortal things as deserving of condemnation. Such defects do indeed effect the decay of their nature, which is liable to dissolution; but these creatures have received their mode of being by the will of their Creator, whose purpose is that they should bring to perfection the beauty of the lower parts of the universe by their alteration and succession in the passage of the seasons; and this is 165

a beauty in its own kind, finding its place among the constituent parts of the world.... Therefore it is the nature of things considered in itself, without regard to our convenience or inconvenience, that gives glory to the Creator... And so all nature’s substances are good, because they exist and therefore have their own mode and kind of being, and, in their fashion, a peace and harmony among themselves. Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 9 God as beauty How late I came to love you, O Beauty so ancient and so fresh, how late I came to love you! You were within me, yet I had gone outside to seek you. Unlovely myself, I rushed toward all those lovely things you had made. And always you were with me, I was not with you. All these beauties kept me far from you — although they would not have existed at all unless they had their being in you. You called, you cried, you shattered my deafness. You sparkled, you blazed, you drove away my blindness. You shed your fragrance, and I drew in my breath and I pant for you. I tasted and now I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and now I burn with longing for your peace. Confessions, 10:27

The heavens as a book “For I shall see Thy heavens, the works of Thy fingers.” We read that the law was written by the finger of God, and given through Moses, His holy servant: by which finger of God many understand the Holy Spirit. We understand consistently with this that the books of both Testaments are called “the heavens.” Now it is said too of Moses, by the magicians of king Pharaoh, when they were conquered by him, “This is the finger of God.” ... Accordingly the heavens above may also be interpreted as books, where he says, “For thy glory has been raised above the heavens:” so that the complete meaning should be this, For thy glory hath exceeded the declarations of all the Scriptures. “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou has made perfect praise,” that they should begin by belief in the Scriptures, who would arrive at knowledge of Thy glory, which has been raised above the Scriptures, in that it passes by and transcends the announcements of all words and languages. Therefore hath God lowered the Scriptures even to the capacity of babes and sucklings as it is sung in another Psalm “And he lowered the heaven and came down” (Ps. 18:9). ... Hence, then is the rash and blind promiser of truth, who is the enemy, destroyed, when the heavens, the works of God’s fingers, are seen, that is, when the Scriptures, brought down even to the slowness of babes, are 166

understood.... For these heavens, that is, these books, are the works of God’s fingers; for by the operation of the Holy Spirit in the saints they were completed. Commentary on Psalm 8:3, nr. 7-8 A. Cleveland Coxe translation, 1888, Eerdmans Printing, Co., 1989, p. 29.

How the Holy Trinity is seen in creation “And God saw that it was good.” The assertion of the goodness of the created work corresponded with the goodness that was the reason for its creation. Now, if this goodness is rightly interpreted as the Holy Spirit, then the whole united Trinity is revealed to us in its works.... The visible and tangible signs... signify the invisible and intelligible God, not only the Father, but also the Son and the Holy Spirit, from whom are all things, through whom are all things, and in whom are all things. City of God, 11:24:457-458, and The Trinity, 2:15:25:81-82, quoted by Jame Schaefer, “Acting Reverently in God’s Sacramental World,” in Francis Eigo, editor, Ethical Dilemmas in the New Millennium, Villanova Univ. Press, 2001, p. 43.

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This extraordinarily gifted spiritual guide grew up in Roman Gaul (France) where he studied philosophy and astronomy before giving himself entirely over to the absorption of Holy Scripture and to a striving to fulfill Christ’s call to “be perfect.” John Cassian journeyed first to Bethlehem and then to Egypt where he lived with the monks of Scetis and embraced the practice of the virtues. After seven years in the desert in departed for Constantinople where he became a pupil of St. John Chrysostom; he was ordained by him into the diaconate. He then returned to the West and settled near Marseilles where he founded two monasteries. He exemplifies the ascetic striving for the self-denial of the spiritual athletes of Christ, and the deep care for creation alive in the monks of the Egyptian desert. He is numbered among the founders of monasticism in the West.

On knowing God from creation God is not only to be known in His blessed and incomprehensible being, for this is something which is reserved for His saints in the age to come. He is also to be known from the grandeur and beauty of His creatures, from His providence which governs the world day by day, from His righteousness and from the wonders which He shows to His saints in each generation.... When we consider that He numbers the raindrops, the sand of the sea and the stars of heaven, we are amazed at the grandeur of His nature and His wisdom. On the Holy Fathers of Sketis, The Philokalia, Vol. 1, trans. Palmer and Sherrard, pg. 97.

A rule for self control A clear rule for self-control handed down by the Fathers is this: stop eating while you are still hungry and do not continue until you are satisfied. When the Apostle said 'Make no provision to fulfill the desires of the flesh' (Romans 13:14), he was not forbidding us to provide for the needs of life; he was warning us against selfindulgence... self-esteem and pride.... "On the eight vices," The Philokalia, Vol. I, London, 1979, pg. 74.

St. Nilus of Ankyra (365? - 430)
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St. Nilus is a desert-dwelling monastic abbot and saint who was born near Constantinople and who writes lucidly on the ascetical life. Early commentaries indicate that he was probably a student of St. John Chrysostom before leaving the city for a life of wilderness prayer. His importance derives from his well-developed and often profound sense of the relationship between a spiritual director and his disciples as he addresses the challenges of developing the interior spiritual life. He is one of the first Christian writers to write at length on issues surrounding the practice of the Jesus prayer. His contribution to modern ecological understanding lies in his ability to articulate the intricacies of the spiritual-mental struggle which brings the soul to know the fullness of creation as a interior spiritual experience as well as an exterior intellectual understanding. This knowledge is important today as it forms the basis for addressing over-consumption and the consumer mentality.

The whole creation is within you You are a world within a world. Become quiet and look within yourself, and see there the whole creation. Do not look at exterior things but turn all your attention to that which lies within. Gather together your whole mind within the intellectual treasure-house of your soul, and make ready for the Lord a shrine free from images. Ascetic Discourses, Philokalia, Vol. 1.

Adhering to limits of consumption We should remain within the limits imposed by our basic needs and strive with all our power not to exceed them. For once we are carried a little beyond these limits in our desire for the pleasures of life, there is then no criterion by which to check our onward movement, since no bounds can be set to that which exceeds the necessary.... Once a man has passed beyond the limits of his natural needs, as he grows more materialistic, he wants to put jam on his bread; and to water he adds a modicum of wine required for his health, and then the most expensive vintages. He does not rest content with essential clothing.... Ascetic Discourses, Vol I, Philokalia, pg. 246

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The man who does not set limits on consumption acquires vessels of finer quality, of gold and silver.... What need is there to say more about such ostentation.... All this is contrary to nature.... The animals remain within the boundaries of nature, not altering what God has ordained; but we, who have been honored with the power of intelligence, have completely abandoned His original ordinance. Do animals demand a luxury diet? Do they not prefer the original simplicity, eating the herbs of the field, content with whatever is at hand. In this way they diminish sexual lust and do not inflame their desires. Ascetic Discourses

A proper diet as God intended All this is contrary to nature, for the Creator has ordained the same natural way of life for both us and the animals. "Behold," says God to man, "I have given you every herb of the field, to serve as food for you and for the beasts." Thus we have been given a common diet with the animals; but if we use our powers of invention to turn this into something extravagant, shall we not rightly be judged more unintelligent than they? Ascetic Discourses, Philokalia, Vol. 1, pg. 241.

Spiritual questions from agriculture Nilus, in a letter to monks, probes the motives of Christians and seeks a lesson from creation about why people behave as they do. “Why do we forsake the pursuit of spiritual wisdom, and engage in agriculture and commerce? What can be better than to entrust our anxieties to God, so that He may help us with the farming? The soil is tilled and the seeds are sown by human effort; then God sends the rain, watering the seeds in the soft womb of the earth and enabling them to develop roots. He makes the sun to rise, warming the soil, and with this warmth He stimulates the growth of the plants. He sends winds tempered to their development. When young shoots begin to come up, He fans them with gentle breezes, so that the crop is not scorched by hot streams of air. Then with steady winds He ripens the milky substance of the grains inside the husks. At threshing-time He provides fiery heat; for winnowing, suitable breezes. If one of these factors is missing, all our human toil is wasted; our efforts achieve nothing when they are not sealed by God’s gifts. Often, even when all of these factors are present, a violent and untimely storm of rain spoils the grain as it is being threshed or when it has been heaped up clean. Sometimes again it is destroyed by worms in the granary; the table, as it were, is 171

already laid and then the food is suddenly snatched from our very mouths. What, then, is the use of relying on our own efforts, since God controls the helm and directs all things as He wills?” “Ascetic Discourse,” translated by Philip Sherrard and Kallistos Ware, in Philokalia, Volume 1, Faber and Faber, London, 1979, p. 213.

Why monks seek the wilderness Nilus, writing to monks, says that the solution to the problems of a life with many uncertainties is to return to a way of being in which priorities are shaped by a spiritual integrity in which we do not seek to avoid sufferings at the expense of spiritual virtue or truth. Wilderness, he says, is the place where this can be found. Let us avoid staying in towns and villages. It is better for their inhabitants to come and visit us. Let us seek the wilderness and so draw after us the people who now shun us. For Scripture praises those who ‘leave the cities and dwell in the rocks, and are like the dove’ (Jeremiah 48:28). John the Baptist lived in the wilderness and the population of entire towns came out to him. Men dressed in garments of silk hastened to see his leather girdle; those who lived in houses with gilded ceilings chose to endure hardships in the open air; and rather than sleep on beds adorned with jewels they preferred to lie on the sand. All this they endured, although it was contrary to their usual habits; for in their desire to see John the Baptist and in their wonder at his holiness they did not notice the hardships and discomfort. For holiness is held in higher honor than wealth; and the life of stillness wins greater fame than fortune. How many rich men were there at that time, proud of their glory, and yet today they are quite forgotten; whereas the miraculous life of this humble desert-dweller is acclaimed until this day, and his memory is greatly revered by all. For the renown of holiness is eternal, and its intrinsic virtues proclaim its value.... “Ascetic Discourse,” translated by Philip Sherrard & Kallistos Ware, in Philokalia, Vol 1, Faber and Faber, London, 1979, p. 214

Other spiritual benefits from wilderness In order to escape vice, the saints fled from the towns and avoided meeting large numbers of people, for they knew that the company of corrupt men is more destructive than a plague. This is why, indifferent to gain, they let their estates become sheep-pastures, so as to avoid 172

distractions. This is why Elijah left Judaea and went to live on Mount Carmel (cf. 1 Kings 18:19) which was desolate and full of wild animals; and apart from what grew on trees and shrubs there was nothing to eat, so he kept himself alive on nuts and berries. Elisha followed the same mode of life, inheriting from his teacher, besides many other good things, a love for the wilderness (cf. 2 Kings 2:25). John too dwelt in the wilderness of Jordan, ‘eating locusts and wild honey’ (Mark 1:6); thus he showed us that our bodily needs can be satisfied without much trouble, and he reproached us for our elaborate pleasures. ... In short, this is why all the saints, ‘of whom the world was not worthy,’ left the inhabited regions and ‘wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth,’ going about ‘in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented (Hebrews 11:37-38). They fled from the sophisticated wickedness of men and from all the unnatural things of which the towns are full, not wishing to be swept off their feet and carried along with all the others into the whirlpool of confusion. They were glad to live with the wild beasts, judging them less harmful than their fellow men. They avoided men as being treacherous, while they trusted the animals as their friends; for animals do not teach us to sin, but revere and respect holiness. Thus men tried to kill Daniel, but the lions saved him, preserving him when he had been unjustly condemned out of malice (cf. Daniel 6:16-23); and when human justice had miscarried, the animals proclaimed his innocence. Whereas Daniel’s holiness gave rise to strife and envy among men, among the wild animals it evoked awe and veneration. “Ascetic Discourse,” translated by Philip Sherrard and Kallistos Ware, in Philokalia, Volume 1, Faber and Faber, London, 1979, p. 240-241

The weight of possessions Why do we try to make other people’s property our own, weighing ourselves down with material fetters, and paying no attention to the prophet’s imprecation: ‘Woe to him who gathers what is not his own, and heavily loads his yoke’ (cf. Habbakuk 2:6, LXX transl). Those who pursue us are, as Jeremiah says, ‘swifter than the eagles of heaven (Lam. 4:19); but we weigh ourselves down with worldly things, move slowly along the road, and so are easily overtaken by our pursuer, covetousness, which Paul taught us to flee (cf. Col. 3:5). Even if we are not heavily laden, we must still run as fast as we can, or else the enemy will overtake us. “Ascetic Discourse,” translated by Philip Sherrard and Kallistos Ware, Philokalia, Vol. 1, Faber & Faber, London, 1979, p. 207

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St. Patrick (385 - 471)
The patron saint of Ireland, his father was a deacon, his grandfather a priest (celibacy was not yet a rule for the Western clergy); his uncle the renowned St. Martin of Tours. For six years, Patrick was a slave in Ireland before he escaped to the continent. Around the year 432 Patrick returned to Ireland as a priest to begin the missionary work of conversion. He climbed the high conical mountain, now called Crough Patrick, over-looking the Atlantic Ocean and the islands of Clew Bay. He meditated there for forty days and prayed for the conversion of the Irish people amidst stormy winds and torrential rains. St. Patrick accomplished three great things: He organized the Christianity which already existed in Ireland; he converted the kingdoms which were still pagan; he taught a vision of Christ's presence in all things. His character and continual reliance upon Christ more than his words converted the Irish. He made entry into the religious life the supreme adventure for youth for it required a willingness to enter deep into a knowledge of the sacred mysteries and to sacrifice oneself for the glory of God and for the raising up of human society in the example of Christ. He is best known through his followers who continued with a fervency in invoking the Holy Trinity, and in desiring experiential knowledge of Christ. His ecological relevance stems from his unwavering emphasis of the Holy Trinity and its interpenetration with all parts of creation. For St. Patrick a holy intimacy existed between the human, the divine and the natural. Together these formed a sacramental universe in which birds, animals and natural phenomena often represented signs of supernatural grace.

The nature of our God When Patrick was sent to Ireland as a bishop, he was confronted by a Druidic society headed by kings and tribal chieftans. To reply to a question from a Druid's daughter about the nature of the Christian God, Patrick replied, "Our God is the God of all men, the God of Heaven and Earth, of sea and river, of sun and moon and stars, of the lofty mountain and the lowly valley, the God above Heaven, the God in Heaven, the God under Heaven. He has his dwelling round Heaven and Earth and the sea and all that in them is. He inspires all, he quickens all, he rules over all, he sustains all. He lights the light of the sun; he furnishes the light of the light; he has put springs in the dry land and has set stars to minister to the greater lights.... Tree of Life

God in all things He inspires all, He gives life to all, He dominates all, He supports all. He lights the light of the sun. He furnishes the light of the night. He has made springs in dry land. He is the God of heaven and earth, of sea and rivers, of sun, moon and stars, of the lofty mountain and the lowly valley, the God above heaven, 174

and in heaven and under heaven. Quoted in St. Patrick, Eerdmans, 1997, pg. 11

God of all things Our God is the God of all, the God of heaven and earth, of the sea and of the rivers. The God of the sun and of the moon and of all the stars; The God of the lofty mountains and of the lowly valleys. He has His dwelling around heaven and earth, and sea, and all that in them is. Quoted in St. Patrick, Eerdmans, 1997, pg. 10

A blessing on Munster God's blessing upon Munster, Its men, women, children! A blessing on the land which gives them fruit! A blessing on every wealth Which is brought forth on their marches! No one to be in want of help: God's blessings on Munster! A blessing on their peaks, On their bare flagstones, A blessing on their glens, A blessing on their ridges! Like sand of sea under ships Be the number of their hearths: On slopes, on plains, on mountain sides, on peaks. translated by Whitley Stokes and quoted by Alice-Boyd Proudfoot, Sixteen Centuries with Ireland's Patron Saint: Patrick, Macmillan Publishing Co., New York 1983, pg. 95

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A prayer, "The Deer's Cry" I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through belief in the Threeness, Through confession of the oneness Of the Creator of Creation. ... I arise today Through God's strength to pilot me: God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me, God's eye to look before me,... God's host to save me From snares and devils, From temptations and vices, From everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and near, Alone and in a multitude. I summon today all these powers between me and these evils: Against every cruel, merciless power that may oppose my body and soul: Against incantations of false prophets, Against black laws of pagandom, Against false laws of heretics, Against craft and idolatry, Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul. Christ to shield me today Against poison, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, So that there may come to me abundance of reward. Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me. Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me. Christ on my right side, Christ on my left side; Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me. Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me. Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Holy Trinity, Through a belief in the Threeness, Through a confession of the oneness Of the Creator of Creation. Confessions of St. Patrick 177

St. Benedict of Nursia (480 - 547)
The Father of Western monasticism, he was brought up in the small Italian town of Nursia. After entering into a solitary religious life, students and seekers soon flocked to him because of his reputation for sanctity, wisdom, wise counsel and miracles. He extended his ministry not just to those who sought his monastic haven, but also to the surrounding population: he cured their sick, relieved the distressed, distributed alms and fed the poor. His charity extended equally to animals and he always fed and befriended the creatures that came near his monastery at Monte Cassino.

How he loved the creatures His biographer writes, "Men like St. Benedict, always intent on the love of the Creator, could not withhold their love from the things He had created. Hence, they felt themselves bound by bonds of fraternal love with everything in God's universe.... These irrational animals, by divine ordination, often gave their services to these holy men, who, in the desert, far from human society, committed their lives into the hands of God alone. Wherefore, though defenseless and solitary, they never died from the violence of wild beasts. quoted in Ambrose Agias, The Ark, pg. 103-104.

Monastery tools should be treated as sacred vessels In the Rule of St. Benedict, there is a requirement to treat with the utmost of care the equipment which the monks product. A stewardship of barnyard implements is to be as careful as the implements of the altar. Look upon all the tools and all the property of the monastery as if they were sacred altar vessels. Rule of St. Benedict, Nr. XXI, 10

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Under this name, an unknown writer, claiming the name and authority of the first bishop of Athens, published a series of enormously influential treatises and public letters early in the sixth century. The unknown author brilliantly integrates an orthodox dogmatic theology, a Christological cosmology and a profound spirituality into a depiction of creation that is entirely grounded in tradition and Holy Scripture. His writing was important for Christianizing the ancient pagan world because it was couched in the language of platonic philosophy which he transformed into a vehicle for expressing a vision of God, man and creation that was Trinitarian, Christocentric and Biblical. He believed that every created thing was an expression of the Divine will, and that all nature fulfills its purpose by praising God and revealing His presence, each creature in its own way. In this vision of the universe, which was not merely his individualistic interpretation, but the vision of the ancient Church, Scripture and cosmos are two aspects of God's revelation. Just as every word and event of Scripture reveal something about God, so too every being and activity is also a revelation of God, worthy of respect and care. The awe-inspiring beauty, wisdom, power, life and being of nature reflect the incomparable Beauty, Wisdom, Power, Life and Being of God, which are the Names and cosmic and uncreated energies of God.

God's beauty infuses creation God is beauty. This beauty is the source of friendship and all mutual understanding. It is this Beauty... which moves all living things and preserves them while filling them with love and desire for their own particular sort of beauty. ... for it is by its likeness to beauty that everything is defined. Thus true Beauty and Goodness are mixed together because, whatever the force may be that moves living things, it tends always towards Beauty-and-Goodness, and there is nothing that does not have a share in Beauty-and-Goodness. ... By virtue of this reality, all creatures subsist, united and separate, identical and opposite, alike and unlike, contraries are united and the united elements are not confused. By virtue of Beauty-and-Goodness, everything is in communion with everything else, each in its own way; creatures love one another without losing themselves in one another, everything is in harmony, parts snugly fit into the whole... one generation succeeds another; spirits, souls and bodies remain at the same time steady and mobile; because for all of them, Beauty-and-Goodness is at once repose and movement, being itself beyond both. Divine Names IV:7, in PG 3:701

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Beauty reflects an invisible harmony For anyone who reflects, the appearances of beauty become the themes of an invisible harmony. Perfumes as they strike our senses represent spiritual illumination. Material lights point to that immaterial light of which they are the images. Celestial Hierarchy I:3 (PG 3:121)

Matter participates in the Good During the time of the Manichaeans a false but persistent understanding emerged which said that matter was evil, but spirit was good. Dionysius the Areopagite bluntly refutes this perverse and heretical notion. It is just as false to repeat the commonplace [notion] that it is in matter as such that evil resides. For to speak truly, matter itself also participates in the order, the beauty, and the form [of Good]... How, if it were not so, could Good be produced from something evil? How could that thing be evil when it is impregnated with good? ... If matter is evil, how can one explain its ability to engender and nourish nature? Evil as such engenders and nourishes nothing. It does not produce or preserve anything. If it be objected that matter... leads souls toward evil, how could that be true when many material creatures turn their gaze toward the Good? Divine Names IV:28 (PG 3:792), as quoted in Olivier Clement, The Roots of Christian Mysticism, New City Press, New York, NY, 1995, p. 218

The mysteries are hidden in the secret silence The simple, absolute and unchangeable mysteries of heavenly Truth lie hidden in the dazzling obscurity of the secret Silence, outshining all brilliance with the intensity of their darkness. On the Divine Names 181

St. David of Garesja (497 - 569?)
St. David was born in the rugged Caucasus mountains of Eastern Georgia, along the rim of the Mesopotamian valley of Assyria. He was baptized as a youth into the Syrian Church which is today part of the Georgian Orthodox Church. It is probable that St. David was a Monophysite as virtually all of his countrymen along with the neighboring Armenian and Caucasian Churches had rejected the Council of Chalcedon. He lived in dry and desolate places so that by ascetic striving he might win for himself eternal bliss and rest everlasting. St. David is revered as one of the Syrian Fathers, most of whom are distinguished by their keen love of animals. St. David epitomizes the character of Syrian Christian care for creation. He is know for befriending the local deer who learned to take refuge from predators in his wilderness cave and eventually allowed his monks to milk them for food. To the people of Georgia, he is their St. Francis.                     The Hunters and the Milking Deer Some hunters from Kakheti came near St. David's cave looking for wild goats and deer. The deer saw them first and scrambled up to the hermit's cave where they took refuge. The hunters were amazed that deer would run into a cave and climbed up the hill after them to catch them in the close confines of the cave. When they reached the cave entrance, they saw the deer behind St. David and his disciple, Lucian, was milking them. The hunters were amazed and struck with fear. They asked him, "How is it, holy father, that these deer, wild animals of the field, are so tame and more peaceful than sheep brought up from a domestic farmyard?" St. David said to them, "Why are you so astonished at the glories of God? Do you not know that He tamed lions for the Prophet Daniel and saved the three children from the fiery furnace? So what is so wonderful about these deer? Now go and hunt other game, for these animals are granted by God for our feeble flesh." Quoted by David Marshall Lang, Lives and Legends of the Georgian Saints, St. Vladimir Seminary Press, 1956. pg. 86-87.

The Hawk and the Partridge One morning when St. David was praying in front of his cave, he saw a barbarian from the district of Rustavi out hunting. The barbarian's falcon brought down a partridge which fell to the ground near St. David, and the partridge took refuge by the hermit and perched at his feet and the falcon landed and also perched nearby. The story says that this was by divine intent so 182

that the hunter should himself be hunted by the grace of God. Then the hunter hurried up the hillside to take the partridge from the falcon. When he saw the saint standing in prayer, and the partridge sitting by his feet, he was amazed, and said, "Who are you?" David replied in the Armenian language, "I am a sinful man, a servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I am imploring His mercy, to forgive me all of my sins, so that I may leave this transitory life in peace and quietness." The hunter asked again, "Who looks after you and feeds you here?" David replied, "He whom I believe in and worship looks after and feeds all His creatures, to whom He has given birth. By Him are brought up all men and all animals and all plants, the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea. Behold, this partridge which was fleeing from your falcon has taken refuge with me, the sinful servant of God. Now go away and hunt other game, for today the partridge has found a haven with me, so that it may be saved from death." The barbarian replied, "I intend to kill you, so how do you expect to save the partridge from death." But St. David replied, "You can neither kill me nor the partridge, for my God is with me and He is powerful to protect." At this word of the saint the barbarian, who was on horseback, drew his sword to strike St. David on the neck. When he raised his arm, suddenly it became withered and stiff like wood. Then the barbarian realized his wickedness, and got down from the horse and fell at the hermit's feet and begged to be rescued from the error of his ways. St. David had pity on him and besought the Lord, saying, "Lord Jesus Christ, our God, who didst come down to give life to the human race, Kind and Merciful One who didst cure the hand that was withered, likewise, O Heavenly King, so cure the arm of this barbarian that he may understand and recognize Thee and glorify Thy name." Quoted by David Marshall Lang, Lives and Legends of the Georgian Saints, St. Vladimir Seminary Press, 1956, pg. 88-89.

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John Climacus entered monastic struggle as a young teenager and spent most of his life in a monastery on the slopes of Mt. Sinai. He is best known as the author of a famous text on spiritual attainment, The Ladder of Divine Ascent. In this text based upon inspiration from prayer and the wisdom gained from decades of ascetic labors, St. John lays out a step-by-step approach to Godliness based upon the acquisition of the virtues and the purging of the vices. His works have ecological relevance because they deal with the struggle to attain harmlessness, service, spiritual insight and all of the other virtues. These taken together represent the qualities of Christ in human form, and therefore epitomize a right relationship to God and neighbor. and have the effect of helping to open the lessons of creation for the one who would read it as a book of wisdom.

Dispassion before the world and the senses The firmament has the stars for its beauty, and dispassion has the virtues for its adornment. For by dispassion I mean nothing other than the Heaven of the mind within the heart, which regards the wiles of the demons as mere pranks. And so he is preeminently dispassionate who has made his flesh incorruptible, who has raised his mind above creatures and has subdued all his senses to it, and who keeps his soul before the face of the Lord, ever reaching out to Him even beyond his strength. The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Holy Transfiguration Monastery Press, Boston, 1978, Step 29:2-3

Each animal bears the wisdom of the Creator Nothing is without order and purpose in the animal kingdom; each animal bears the wisdom of the Creator and testifies of Him. God granted man and animals many natural attributes, such as compassion, love, feelings... for even dumb animals bewail the loss of one of their own.” The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Paulist Press, New York, 1982, p. 238.

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St. Kevin of Glendalough (513 - 618)
Kevin was born to a noble Leinster family which was ousted from rulership. As a child he was educated by monastics and chose to dedicate his life to God in prayer and adoration. He survived on a frugal diet and slept on stones at the water’s edge. Despite his austere way of life, he lived to a ripe old age of 105. According to one early version of his life, he is reported to have said that “the branches and leaves of the trees sang sweet songs to him, and heavenly music alleviated the severity of his life.” Saint Kevin is known as one of the first advocates of wilderness preservation when he refused an angel's offer to level the land around his collection of crude huts and to build elaborate monastic facilities. By this act, he demonstrated that human pursuit of the holy should not destroy the rest of God's created order. Because Kevin would not expand his congregation if it meant degrading the pristine mountains as God created them, he demonstrates the importance of respecting the natural features of the land as a spiritual priority higher than development. His care for animals was legendary and early artists depicted him with his hand out-stretched and an egg on the flat of his palm which a bird laid while he was in the ecstasy of prayer. He is said to have held the egg until it hatched. Numerous legends of Kevin survive, but few of his writings.   A response to an angel on behalf of the animals While praying in the rugged Wicklow mountains, about thirty miles from Dublin, an angel appeared to Kevin and offers to make his life more comfortable. The angel says, "I would sweep away these hills and crags and rocks and wooded dells where little grows and no one dwells; I'll give you pastures lush and green for kine to graze, a winding stream, and gentle fields to grow your grain in place of this uncouth domain." Kevin declines this offer, replying, "I pray you humbly, let them stand, the rugged hills, the broken land. For I do love like any child the hunted creatures of the wild; and every bird that climbs the sky is free to wander just as I, or dwell in peace beside the lake, to make them homeless for my sake would grieve me sorely night and day." Rev. Kevin Daley, speech at the Annual General Meeting, Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, Nov. 4, 1969, Dublin, Ireland, and quoted by the Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, London

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The old Celtic manuscripts frequently tell of saints who intentionally went to the forests to conduct prayers and special devotions. Kevin however went further in his protection of the forests. “[He] promised hell and a short life to anyone who should burn either green wood or dry from this wood (where he had a special experience in which the trees bowed down at his prayers) till the day of doom.” Charles Plummer, Bethada naem Erenn, Lives of the Irish Saints, Oxford Univ. Press, London, Vol. 1, 1968, p. 123

The hunters and the wild boar Another time some hunters were chasing a wild boar with their dogs in hot pursuit. As soon as the boar saw the dogs near him, he raced down the slope to the glen where Kevin was in prayer, to seek the saint’s protection. Kevin protected the boar and commanded the dogs to stop chasing him. As he did so, the feet of the dogs became stuck firmly to the ground, so that they could not move from that spot in any direction. Shortly after that the hunters came running up and into Kevin’s presence. On seeing their dogs fastened to the ground and the boar under Kevin’s protection, they were astonished and filled with wonder. Humbly and penitently they asked Kevin to please release their dogs and they promised him that they would never again hunt this boar. So Kevin let the boar run back into the forest, and the name of God was glorified. Edward Sellner, The Wisdom of the Celtic Saints, “Kevin of Glendalough,” Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, 1993, p. 165

The lesson of the missing otter There was a monastery in Cell Eithfin to which an otter used to bring a salmon every day. One day when Cellach, son of Dimma, saw the otter coming with a salmon in his mouth, he thought that the otter’s skin would be profitable to the monks, and therefore thought that he would kill the otter for its pelt. The otter immediately perceived the monk’s intention and dropped the salmon in his mouth, dived into the river, and never showed himself again to the monks. As a consequence the monks experienced a scarcity of food, so much so that they decided they must go in different directions. When Kevin saw this, he prayed earnestly to God to reveal why the otter had forsaken the monastery. God then influenced Cellach to go to Kevin and confess, with regret and penitence, that he was to blame. He told how he had the thought of killing the otter, and that it was at that moment when the otter sensed his intention and dived into the river and permanently left the monks. When Kevin heard this, he sent Cellach away to do penance for the evil intention that had caused so much harm. 149

Edward Sellner, The Wisdom of the Celtic Saints, “Kevin of Glendalough,” Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, 1993, p. 163

St. Columba (521 - 597)
A poet, prophet and monk of royal Irish lineage, Columba went to Scotland to evangelize the pagan Picts. He was a student of Finnian of Clonard. His name means “dove of the Church.” Columba was born into a royal clan in Donegal, Ireland. He called Christ “his druid,” or teacher. Columcille, his Irish name, or Columba, as he is known in Latin Britain, founded numerous monasteries across the Irish land. All of these had oak groves, the favorite trees of the druids. He was a scholar and writer who found great joy in solitude. A sixth century poem describes him as a gentle sage “with faith in Christ,” and states that “being a priest was but one of his callings.” Adamnan, an early biographer, writes, "Angelic in appearance, elegant in address, holy in work, he would never spend the space of even one hour without study or prayer or writing." He radiated a divine and celestial light, and is known for the booming power of his voice, and for his amazing authority over the winds and seas and all the natural world. He had such a deep love for the woods and for all of God's creation that he made sure that his monastery was built without a tree being cut down. In one of his poems, he wrote that he was more afraid of the sound of an axe in Derrywood, a nearby forest, than he was of the voice of hell itself. He founded what is reputed to be the largest monastery in Christendom on the coastal island of Iona which became a great center of learning and from which monasticism spread throughout Northern Europe. The character of the monasticism which he built was marked by a commitment to community and keen appreciation for the natural world as the vesture of the Holy Spirit.

The power of God rules over all the Land The Almighty power of God rules over all things, and in His Name all our movements are directed, Himself being our governor. Encounter with the Druid

The will of God What is the will of God for us in this world? That we should do what he has ordered, that is, that we should live in righteousness and seek devotedly those things which are eternal. How do we arrive at this? By study. We must therefore study devotedly and righteously. What is our best help in maintaining this study? The Intellect, which probes everything and, finding none of 150

the world's goods in which it can permanently rest, is converted by reason toward the one good which is that which is eternal. Life of Columba

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True adoration in the world I adore not the voice of the birds, nor sneezing, nor lots in this world: My druid is Christ, the son of God, Christ, the son of Mary, the Great Abbot, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Song of Trust

The delights of the world Delightful would it be to me to be in Uchd Ailiun (an Irish headland over the sea) On the pinnacle of a rock, That I might often see the face of the ocean; That I might see its heaving waves over the wide ocean, When they chant music to their Father upon the world's course; That I might see its level of sparkling strand, it would be no cause of sorrow; That I might see the sea-monsters, the greatest of all wonders.... That contrition might come upon my heart upon looking at her; That I might bewail my evils all, though it were difficult to compute them; That I might bless the Lord Who conserves all, Heaven with its countless bright orders, land, strand and flood; That I might search the books all, that would be good for my soul; At times kneeling to beloved Heaven; At times psalm singing; At times contemplating the King of Heaven, Holy the Chief; At times at work without compulsion, That would be delightful. Songs of Columba

My fear of the sound of an axe Celtic monks left the forest standing at the sites of their monasteries rather than cut them. Adaman, Columba’s biographer, tells the story of how the Irish King Aedh gave a plot of land in Doire to Columba: 152

And he [Columba] had so great a love for Doire, and the cutting of the oak trees went so greatly against him, that he could not find a place for his church the time he was building it that would let the front of it be to the east.... And he left it upon those that came after him not to cut a tree that fell of itself or was blown down by the wind in that place to the end of nine days, and then to share it between the people of the townland, bad and good, a third of it to the great house, and tenth to be given to the poor. And he put a verse in a hymn after he was gone away to Scotland that shows there was nothing worse to him than the cutting of that oakwood: “Though there is fear in me of death and of hell, I will not hide it that I have more fear of the sound of an axe over in Doire.” Commentary by Adamnan, as quoted in Lady Isabella Gregory, A Book of Saints and Wonders put down here by Lady Gregory according to the Old Writings and Memory of the People of Ireland, Irish University Press, Shannon, 1971, p. 17-18

Why I love the oakwood of Doire It is the reason I love Doire, for its quietness for its purity; it is quite full of white angels from the one end to the other. It is the reason I love Doire, for its quietness for its purity; quite full of white angels is every leaf of the oaks of Doire. My Doire, my little oakwood, my dwellings and my white cell; O living God in heaven, it is a pity for him who harms it. Commentary by Adamnan, as quoted in Lady Isabella Gregory, A Book of Saints and Wonders put down here by Lady Gregory according to the Old Writings and Memory of the People of Ireland, Irish University Press, Shannon, 1971, p. 20

A feathered stranger guest, tired and weary 153

St. Columba showed great kindness for the birds. On one occasion, it befell, while the saint was living on Iona, that he called to a brother to go and sit by the shore and watch “for a stranger guest, a crane, wind tossed and driven far from her course in the high air: tired out and weary.... The crane will fall to the beach at thy feet and lie there, her strength nigh gone.” Columba told the brother, “tenderly lift the bird and carry it to the steading near by; make her welcome there and cherish her with all care for three days and nights...,” and then release her. Three days later as the saint had said, the brother, stood as he was bidden, and when he saw the crane, he did as Columba had instructed him. And on his return that evening to the monastery, the Saint spoke to him, not as one questioning, but as one speaks of a thing past, “May God bless thee, my son, for the kind tending of this pilgrim guest: that shall make no long stay in her exile, but when three suns have set, [she] shall turn back to her own land.” And the thing fell out even as the Saint had foretold. “For when her three day housing was ended, and as her host stood by, she rose from earth into high heaven, and after a while at gaze to spy out her aerial way, took her straight flight above the quiet sea, and so to Ireland through the tranquil weather.” Helen Waddell, ed. and trans., Beasts and Saints, Constable and Co., London, 1949, p. 44-45.

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St. Gregory the Great (540 - 604)
Pope Saint Gregory I was born in Rome of noble and wealthy parents. After lengthy reflection on the moral conflicts associated with government and power, he renounced worldly ambitions, distributed his substantial wealth and goods to the poor and retired to a monastery. He administered the needs of his monastery so admirably that he was called to serve the Pope as the papal ambassador to Constantinople. He is known first for his holiness and insight, and then for his masterful rebuilding of the Western Church from the rubble of barbarian invasions which completed the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. His writings portray creation as everywhere filled with the glorious presence of Christ Who made all things translucent and transparent to the illumined mind. God is equally in all things God is within all, over all, under all, is both above with His power and beneath with His support, exterior in respect to magnitude and interior in respect to subtlety, extending from the heights to the depths, encompassing the outside and penetrating the inside; but He is not in one part above, in another beneath, nor in one part exterior and in another interior. Rather, one and the same wholly and everywhere, He supports in presiding and presides in supporting, penetrates in encompassing and encompasses in penetrating. Moral Teachings from Job 2:12

Why human perspective of creation can vary While the monks were still sleeping, Benedict, the man of God, was keeping vigil. Standing in front of his window in the dead of night he was praying to the Lord when suddenly he was filled with an extraordinarily bright blazing light, and it dispelled the darkness and radiated with such brilliance that it would have outshone the light of day. While he was caught up in this light, something extraordinary happened. As he described it later, the whole world was gathered up before his eyes as if in a ray of sunlight....

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How is it possible for the whole world to be seen in this way by a human being? ... For a soul who beholds the Creator, all creation is narrow in compass. For when a person views the Creator's light, no matter how little of it, all creation becomes small by comparison in his eyes. By the light of interior contemplation or inner vision, the inner recesses of the mind are opened up and so expanded in God that they are above the universe. In fact, the soul of the beholder rises even above itself. When it is caught up above itself, it is made ampler within. As it looks down from its height, it grasps the smallness of what it could not take in its lowly state. Therefore, as Benedict gazed at the fiery globe, he saw angels too returning to heaven.... To say that the world was gathered together before his eyes does not mean that heaven and earth shrank, but that the mind of the beholder was expanded so that he could easily see everything below God since he himself was caught up in God. Dialogues II:35

The Bible as a river [The Bible] is, as it were, a kind of river, if I may so liken it, which is both shallow and deep, wherein both the lamb may find a footing and the elephant may float at large. “Magna Moralia” (584)

God as the necessity for all created things All things would tend to nothing in virtue of their nature if they were not governed by God. Commentary On the Book of Job, 16, 37,45 (PL 75,1144).

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St. Columbanus (543? - 615)
A flaming red-haired Irish abbot from Leinster, he set out to continental Europe to teach the strict Irish style of monasticism among the Franks. In his youth Columbanus was blessed with great teachers and studied with some of the greatest of the Irish saints. He became known for his miracle-working cures, for his wilderness adventures and particularly for an amazing rapport with animals. Many stories tell of his experiences in the deep forests of the Vosges and the Swiss Alps where he encountered wolves, bears, birds, rabbits and many other denizens of the primeval European wilderness. His first monastery was built in the Vosges Mountains near the present Swiss-German border. While traveling, he asked his monks to sing special hymns which hastened their journey and framed a natural theology. Like many in the Celtic Church, he taught that personal holiness and the qualities in prayer intimately shape creation as well as the response of the animals to humans. He built his monasteries on places of previous pagan worship so that a respect and a religious continuity were demonstrated to the local culture. His understanding of the monastery was as a place for community service and a center for learning, healing, popular education and social care. He vigorously insisted that the Irish Church had maintained the pure Christian tradition from ancient times. He is considered the greatest of the Irish missionaries to the European continent.

Attitudes toward the world The man to whom a little is not enough, he will not benefit from more. He who tramples upon the world, tramples upon himself. Sayings

The monks’ rowing hymn Ho, the driven keel passes along the stream, the divide in the forests. Of twin-horned Rhine, And it glides as if anointed upon the flood. Ho, my men! Let ringing echo the sound of our Ho! The winds raise their blasts, the dread rain works its woe, But men's ready strength conquers and routs the storm. Ho, my men! Let ringing echo sound our Ho! For the clouds yield to endurance, and the storm yields, Effort tames them all, unwearied toil conquers all things. Ho, my men! Let ringing echo sound our Ho! 159

Thus the hated foe deals as he wearies our hearts, And by ill temptation shakes the inward hearts with rage. Let your mind, my men, recalling Christ, sound Ho! quoted in Jakob Streit, Sun and Cross, Floris Books, Edinburgh, 1984, pg. 186.

The world is but a road A road to life art thou, not life itself. And as there is no man who makes his dwelling in the road, but walks there: and those who fare along the road have their dwelling in the fatherland. So thou art naught, O mortal life, naught but a road, a fleeting ghost, an emptiness, a cloud uncertain and frail, a shadow and a dream. Sermons

Know the Creator through the creation If you want to understand the Creator, seek to understand created things. Quoted in David Adam, The Wisdom of the Celts, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 1997, pg. 13.

Encounters with wild animals Columbanus was walking alone through the forest as night began to fall. He carried only a small satchel and somehow began to reflect on what he would chose if he had a choice between suffering death at the hands of thieves and robbers, or being devoured by savage wild beasts. After some reflection, he concluded that he would prefer to suffer the ferocity of wild beasts because that was not sin on their parts. Just as he came to this conclusion, he heard a pack of wolves running through the dense forest. They quickly spotted him and came right toward him and soon stood about him on the right and left sides, and he could only stand motionless in their midst, saying, “O God, look to my help, and make haste to help me!” 160

The wolves put their muzzles on his clothes, sniffed him, and while he stood unshaken, ready to face death, if need be, they abruptly turned and left him here and continued on their forest ranging. Vita St. Columbae, C.15, as retold by Helen Waddell, Beasts and Saints, Constable & Co., Toronto, 1934.

The bear cave On another occasion, he left the monastery and wandered deep into the forest solitudes, where he came upon a great rock outcropping, its flanks broken into small cliffs and its crest broken into jagged points of rock, untrodden by man. And there up the side of the rock he spied a secret hollow cave. He came up closer to examine the hiding place, and found inside the cave of a bear’s den, and the bear himself inside. He gently told the bear it was better for him to leave, and the bear did, never to return to that place. And this was about seven miles from the Abbey of Annegrey in the Vosges mountains. Vita St. Columbae, C.15, as retold by Helen Waddell, Beasts and Saints, Constable & Co., Toronto, 1934.

Friend of woodland creatures Bishop Chamnoald from the Cathedral of Lyons who studied for some time with St. Columbanus relates that we should not marvel at the way the birds and beasts responded to this man of God. He often told those in the city that when Columbanus walked into the forest to fast or pray, how he would call the creatures of the wild, birds or beasts to him, and how they would come quickly at his call. Then he would stroke them with his hand and caress them; and the wild things and the birds would leap and frisk about him for sheer happiness, jumping up on him as young dogs jump on their masters. Even the usually fearful little squirrels would come down from the tree-tops at his call, and the saint would take the creature in his hand and let it scamper up onto his shoulder, and it would play running in and out of the folds on his cowl; and this the bishop said he had often seen with his own eyes. “The Life of Saint Columban,” by the Monk Jonas, in Migne, Patrilogiae Latinae cursus completus, Vol. 87, cols. 10141016, quoted in Dana Munro, “The Life of Saint Columban,” Llanerch Publishers, The 161

Original Sources of European History, Phila, 1895, Nr. 30, p. 52.

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St. Leontios of Cyprus (556 - 634)
A monk and one of the lesser known Greek Fathers, St. Leontios provides an eloquent and unusual commentary on how creation gives glory to God. He was a vigorous defender of the holy icons and his writings reflect a sense of the centrality of the human in creation as essential for the completion of creation. His contribution regarding creation and a modern understanding of a theology of the environment lies in his assessments about the numinous in creation which makes it transparent to the handiwork of God.

How creation gives glory to God Through heaven and earth and sea, through wood and stone, through all creation visible and invisible, I offer veneration to the Creator and Master and Maker of all things. For the creation does not venerate the Maker directly and by itself, but it is through me that the heavens declare the glory of God, through me the moon worships God, through me the stars glorify Him, through me the waters and showers of rain, the dews and all creation, venerate God and give Him glory. Minutes of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (787 A. D.), (Mansi 13:48-49)

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St. Maximus the Confessor (580 - 662)
One of the greatest fathers of the Church, St. Maximus represents the summit and synthesis of early Christianity thought on creation. He grew up in Constantinople; received the finest education of the day in the humanities, philosophy and science; and served as the secretary to the Imperial Court of Emperor Heraclius. He soon abandoned the empty pomp of courtly life for the physical austerity but spiritual richness of monastic life where he flourished under the guidance of St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem. St. Maximus is known for the sublimity of his theology of the unity of all creation in Christ. Every created thing, from stone to seagull to the stars of heaven is an expression of the creative thought and will of the Triune God. Creation is at once, a word, or many words in a “book” of God, a gift of God, a symbol of God, and a song of God. Thus for St. Maximus the universe is a vast “cosmic liturgy,” composed of word, gift, song and symbol in which heaven and earth are joined in a sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving and worship. Human nature, created in the image and likeness of God, is intended by God to be both microcosm and mediator of, in and through this cosmic liturgy. This means, according to Maximus, that human salvation and the transfiguration of the cosmos are inextricably linked. Just as all things are recapitulated in human nature as microcosmos, so too the human being is meant to bear the responsibility of mediator of creation, that is, to be the one in whom all things created are lifted up to God.

Creation as cosmic Church The Church is one and the same in and throughout each section. The wise thus glimpse the universe of things brought into existence by God's creation, divided between the spiritual world, containing incorporeal intelligent substances, and the corporeal world, the object of sense (so marvelously woven together from many natures and kinds of things) as if they were all another church, not built by hands, but suggested by the ones we build; its sanctuary in the world above, allotted to the powers above, its nave the world below, assigned to those whose lot it is to live in the senses.

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The universe too is one, not split between its visible and invisible parts; on the contrary, but the force of their reference to its own unity and indivisibility, it circumscribes their differences in character. It shows itself to be the same, in the visible and invisible mutually joined without confusion with each other. Each is wholly fixed in the whole of the other. As parts of the whole, both make up the world, and as parts in the whole, both are completed and fulfilled in a single form. For the whole intelligible world of thought is visible to those who have eyes to see, spiritually expressed in symbolic form by the whole sensible universe. And the sensible world is mentally present in the whole intelligible universe when it is verbally expressed in the mind. For this visible world is verbally present in the world of thought; the world of thought is present in its visible images. Their end result or work is all one, "as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel," says Ezekiel (1:16), that wonderful spectator of wonders, speaking, I think, about these two worlds. And the divine Apostle says, "The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" (Romans 1:20). If visible things can be observed through sense data, as it is written, visible phenomena will often be understood spiritually through the medium of what is sensibly imperceptible, by persons who devote themselves to spiritual contemplation. The contemplation of objects of thought symbolized through the objects of sight means the spiritual understanding of the seen through the unseen. Things which are significative of each other are bound to contain clear and perfectly true expressions of each other, and a flawless relation to them. The Mystagogia

The Church is an image of the material world The holy Church of God is an image of the sensible world by itself; the sanctuary reminds one of the sky, the dignity of the nave reflects the earth. Likewise the world can be thought of as a church: the sky seems like a sanctuary, and the cultivation of the land can make it resemble a temple. The Mystagogia

The human role in creation Man was introduced last among existent things, as a natural bond between the extremes of the whole through his own parts, and bringing into unity in his own person those things which by nature are far distinct from each other. Drawing all things out of their former division and bringing them united to God by means available in the right sequence and order, he finally reaches the goal of the sublime ascent which is achieved through the union of all things, attaining God in Whom there is no division. First, through his utterly dispassionate relationship to divine virtue he frees the whole of nature from the attributes of male and female... Next by uniting paradise with the inhabited land through holiness of life, he makes a single earth, not 166

divided into different parts, but rather brought together, since he is not dominated by any passionate attraction toward any of its parts....

Christ's mediations in creation And with us and for us, Christ embraced the whole creation through what is in the center, the extremes as being part of Himself, and He wrapped them around Himself, insolubly united with one another: Paradise and the inhabited world, heaven and earth, the sensible and the intelligible, having Himself like us a body and sensibility showing that the whole creation is one, as if it were also a man, achieved through the coming together of all its members, according to the unique, simple, undefined and indifferent principle, stating the whole creation can have one and the same, absolutely indistinguishable logos: that of having the "non-being" before the being. Ambigua 41:91

Creation as a mirror for God We do not know God in His essence. We know Him rather from the grandeur of his creation and from His providential care for all creatures. By this means, as if using a mirror, we attain insight into His infinite goodness, wisdom and power. Philokalia, Vol. II, First Century on Love, Nr. 96, Faber and Faber, London, pg. 64

The transfiguration of nature The shining vestments of the transfigured Christ symbolize the fact that when God, the son of Righteousness, reveals Himself to the human soul, then all the "logoi" of things intelligible and sensible in scripture and nature appear as if they were with him. Wholeness and Transfiguration

How the human soul differs from that of plants and animals The Human Soul has three powers, first, the power of nourishment and growth; second, that of imagination and instinct; third, that of intelligence and intellect. 167

Plants share only in the first of these powers; animals share in the first and second only; and men share in all three. Philokalia 2:88

Death and resurrection are for all creation It is necessary that this world of things dies, just as a man dies, in order that it may rise again, young instead of old as it was before death....

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And we who are man will also rise up, as part of the whole, as a small world within the big universe. (Humanity and the universe) shall receive the definitive quality of incorruptibility, the body receiving a new form identical with that of the soul, and sensible things will have a form identical with spiritual things, as the divine power, which is beyond all things, in a manifest and efficacious presence will spread its force on each thing according to its capacity and hold all things together in its divine embrace, in an inseparable union, for all eternity. The Mystagogia 7

Humans are part of creation in order to raise it up Man is not a being isolated from the rest of creation. By his very nature, he is bound up with the whole of the universe.... In his way to union with God, man in no way leaves creatures aside, but gathers together in his love the whole cosmos disordered by sin, that it may be transfigured by grace. Wholeness and Transfiguration, pg. 5

How the saints will inherit the earth It is clear that the kingdom of God the Father belongs to the humble and gentle. "For blessed are the gentle, for they will inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). It is not this physical earth, which by nature occupies a middle place in the universe, that God promises as an inheritance for those who love Him -- not, at least, if He is speaking truly when He says, "In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels in heaven" (Matthew 22:30).... Since these things have been promised to those who love the Lord, what man prompted by intelligence and wishing to serve it would ever say, from a literal reading of scripture alone, that heaven, and the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, and the mystically hidden joy of the Lord... are to be identified with the earth? In this text (Matt. 5:5) ... the word "earth" signifies the resolution and strength of the inner stability, immovably rooted in goodness, that is possessed by gentle people. This state of stability exists eternally with the Lord, contains unfailing joy, enables the gentle to attain the kingdom prepared from the beginning, and has its station and dignity in heaven. The Philokalia, Vol. II, pg. 292.

The unreality of evil in creation

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As a reality in itself evil never has been and never will be in existence; for it does not in any way whatsoever possess being, or reality, or substance or power, or activity among existent things. It is neither a quantity, nor a quality, nor a relationship, nor a place, nor time, nor position. It is not a making, or an activity, or a habitude, or a passion, such as may naturally characterize certain beings, nor has it acquired any existence in its own right in any of these things.

Creatures participate in God's joy God, full beyond all fullness, brought creatures into being, not because He had need of anything, but so that they might participate in Him in proportion to their capacity and that He Himself might rejoice in His works, through seeing them joyful and ever filled to overflowing with His inexhaustible gifts. "Third Century on Love," The Philokalia, Vol. II, Nr. 46, pg. 90

Contemplating the inner essence of creatures If, instead of stopping short at the outward appearance which visible things present to the senses, you seek with your intellect to contemplate their inner essences, seeing them as images of spiritual realities or as the inward principles of sensible objects, you will be taught that nothing belonging to the visible world is unclean. For by nature all things were created good. Maximus the Confessor, "First Century of Various Texts," in The Philokalia, Vol. II, Nr. 92, Faber & Faber, Ltd., 1981, pg. 185.

Symbols in the physical world The (physical and spiritual) worlds are one. For the spiritual world in its totality is manifested in the totality of the perceptible world, mystically expressed in symbolic pictures for those who have eyes to see. And the perceptible world in its entirety is secretly fathomable by the spiritual world in its entirety.... The former is embodied in the latter through the realities; the latter in the former through the symbols. The operation of the two is one. St. Maximus the Confessor, in Charles Upton, Who is the Earth: How to See God 170

in the Natural World, San Rafael, 1997, pg. 45. Using symbols to see the Invisible If invisible things are seen by means of the visible, the visible things are perceived in far greater measure through the invisible by those who devote themselves to contemplation. For the symbolic contemplation of spiritual things by means of the visible is nothing other than the understanding in the Spirit of visible things by means of the invisible. St. Maximus the Confessor in Charles Upton, ibid, pg. 67.

The cosmos as Scripture and Scripture as a cosmos Creation is a bible whose letters and syllables are the particular aspects of all creatures and whose words are the more universal aspects of creation. Conversely, Scripture is like a cosmos constituted of heaven and earth and things in between; that is, the ethical, the natural, the theological dimension.

The unity of the spiritual and perceptible worlds The world is one.... for the spiritual world in its totality is manifested in the totality of the perceptible world, mystically expressed in the symbolic pictures for those who have eyes to see. And the perceptible world in its entirety is secretly fathomable by the spiritual world in its entirety, when it has been simplified and amalgamated by means of the spiritual realities. The former is embodied in the latter through the realities; the latter in the former through the symbols. The operation of the two is one.

The contemplation of spiritual things by means of the visible The divine apostle says: “Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature... has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20). If the invisible things are seen by means of visible, the visible things are perceived in a far greater measure through the invisible by those who devote themselves to contemplation. For the symbolic contemplation of spiritual things by means of the visible is nothing other than the understanding in the Spirit of visible things by means of the invisible. Attaining knowledge of the mysteries of creation 171

Those who have been followers and ministers of the Logos have been directly initiated into a knowledge of created things. They have received the continuous tradition from the ancient and holy writers who have found all beings divided into five different categories. ... Man comes at the end of all creatures as a natural link joining through his own members himself with the other creatures, and joining in himself those things which naturally are very distinct from one another. By union with God Who is the universal cause Who made creatures distinct from one another in the beginning, man can then gradually and orderly progress through means to the end in a sublime ascension. This union of all things is found in God in Whom there is no distinction, as we said above, such as that which exists in man according to male and female. In God this category does not exist, but man is represented in his true essence, not distinguished by being male or female, and not insofar as he is divided into parts, but rather man exists in God in his perfection that makes him truly man, namely his reason (logos) from which comes knowledge. Then man makes one earth by uniting paradise with his inhabited world through caste conversation. His united world then becomes no longer distinct by reason of the diversity of so many parts, but rather it is brought together into a synthesis so that man no longer suffers proliferation into separated parts. Then heaven and earth are united through a virtuous life similar to that of angels. Man no longer is bound down by his bodily condition, but rises through an elevation of his soul to the invisible presence of God. Ambigua, PG XCI, 1304D-1307

In Christ all creation is illumined Just as the sun, when it rises up and lights up the world, manifests both itself and the things lit up by it, so the Sun of Justice, rising upon a pure mind, manifests itself and the essences of all things that have been and will brought to pass by it. on Charity, Nr. 95

The purpose of creatures God, full beyond measure, brought creatures into being, not because He had need of anything, but so that they might participate in Him in proportion to their capacity, and that He Himself might rejoice in His works, through seeing them joyful and ever filled to overflowing with His inexhaustible gifts. Four Hundred Centuries on Love, Third Century, Nr. 46, p. 90.

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Knowing the mysteries brings knowledge of meaning The mystery of the Incarnation of the Word contains in itself the meaning of all the symbols and all the enigmas of Scripture, as well as the hidden meaning of all sensible and intelligible creation. But he, who knows the mystery of the Cross and the Tomb, knows also the essential principle of all things. Finally, he who penetrates yet further and finds himself initiated into the mystery of the Resurrection, apprehends the end for which God created all things from the beginning. Capita Theologica et Oecomnomica, PG, XC, 1108a-b

Contemplation of creation How can the intellect not marvel when it contemplates that immense and more than astonishing sea of goodness [which is creation]? Or how is it not astounded when it reflects on how and from what source there have come into being both nature endowed with intelligence and intellect, and the four elements which compose physical bodies...? What kind of potentiality was it which, once actualized, brought these things into being? ... God is the Creator from all eternity.... When the Creator willed, He gave being to and manifested that knowledge of created things which already existed in Him from all eternity.... Try to learn why God created; for that is true knowledge. But do not try to learn how He created or why He did so comparatively recently; for that does not come within the compass of your intellect. Of divine realities some may be apprehended by men and others may not. Unbridled speculation, as one of the saints has said, can drive one headlong over the precipice. Philokalia, Vol. II, Fourth Century on Love, Nrs. 2-5, Faber & Faber, London, pg. 100-101

The key to understanding creation The mystery of the Incarnation of the Word contains within itself the whole meaning of the created world. He who understands the mystery of the Cross and the Tomb knows the meaning of all things, and he who is initiated into the hidden meaning of the Resurrection understands the goal for which God created everything from the very beginning. Quoted in Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch, “A Theology of Creation,” Sourozh magazine, Cambridge, England, Nr. 38, November, 1989. 173

How creation instructs us in virtue Creation is the accuser of the ungodly. For through its inherent spiritual principles, creation proclaims its Maker; and through the natural laws intrinsic to each individual species it instructs us in virtue. The spiritual principles may be recognized in the unremitting continuance of each individual species, the laws in the consistency of its natural activity. If we do not ponder on these things, we remain ignorant of the cause of created being and we cling to all the passions which are contrary to nature. Philokalia, Vol. II, Various Texts on Theology: Third Century, Nr. 6, Faber and Faber, London, pg. 211

God reveals Himself according to a person’s concepts God reveals Himself to each person according to each person’s mode of conceiving Him. To those whose aspiration transcends the complex structure of matter, and whose psychic powers are fully integrated in a single unceasing gyration around God, He reveals Himself as Unity and Trinity. In this way He both shows forth His own existence and mystically makes known the mode in which that existence subsists. To those whose aspiration is limited to the complex structure of matter, and whose psychic powers are not integrated, He reveals Himself, not as He is, but as they are, showing that they are completely caught in the material dualism whereby the physical world is conceived as composed of matter and form. First Century of Various Texts, Nr. 95, translated by Kallistos Ware and Philip Sherrard, Philokalia, vol. II, p. 186.

What hinders the contemplation of created things? When a sparrow tied by the leg tries to fly, it is held back by the string and pulled down to the earth. Similarly, when the intellect that has not yet attained dispassion flies up towards heavenly knowledge, it is held back by the passions and pulled down to earth.

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The intellect, once totally free from passions, proceeds undistracted to the contemplation of created beings, making its way towards knowledge of the Holy Trinity. ...

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He who has succeeded in attaining the virtues and is enriched with spiritual knowledge sees things clearly in their true nature. Consequently, he both acts and speaks with regard to all things in a manner which is fitting, and he is never deluded. For according to whether we use things rightly or wrongly, we become either good or bad. Philokalia, Vol. II, First Century on Love, Nrs 85-86, 92, Faber & Faber, London, pg. 63

Christ hidden in creation About the Scriptures we say the words are the clothes of Christ. The words veil, the meaning reveals. It is the same in the world where the forms of visible things are like the clothing, and the ideas according to which they were created are like the flesh. The former conceal, the latter reveal. For the universal Creator and Law-maker, the Word, both hides himself in his self-revelation and reveals himself in his hiding of himself.

Learning from the law of nature So long as [a human being’s] will is stubborn and raw, [God] abandons him to the domination of evil; for he has chosen the shameful passions of which the devil is the sower, in preference to nature, of which God is the creator. God leaves him free to incline, if he so wishes, towards the passions of the flesh, and actually to satisfy that inclination. Valuing the insubstantial passions more highly than nature, in his concern for these passions he has become ignorant of the principle of nature. Had he followed that principle, he would have known what constitutes the law of nature and what constitutes the tyranny of the passions--a tyranny brought about, not by nature, but by deliberate choice. He would then have accepted the law of nature that is maintained through activities which are natural; and he would have expelled the tyranny of the passions completely from his will. He would have obeyed nature with his intelligence, for nature in itself is pure and undefiled, faultless, free from hatred and alienation, and he would have made his will once more a companion of nature, totally stripped of everything not bestowed by the principle of nature. In this way he would have eradicated all hatred for and all alienation from what is by nature akin to him.” Commentary on the Lord’s Prayer, The Philokalia, vol. II, Palmer, Sherrard, Ware, eds. (London: Faber & Faber, 1981), p. 303. 176

The Incarnation as the key to understand Creation The mystery of the Incarnation of the Logos is the key to all the arcane symbolism and typology of the Scriptures, and in addition gives us knowledge of created things, both visible and intelligible. He who apprehends the mystery of the cross and the burial apprehends the inward essences of created things; while he who is initiated into the inexpressible power of the resurrection apprehends the purpose for which God first established everything. All visible realities need the cross, that is, the state in which they are cut off from things acting upon them through the senses. All intelligible realities need burial, that is, the total quiescence of the things which act upon them through the intellect. When all relationship with such things is severed, and their natural ability and stimulus is cut off, then the Logos, who exists alone in Himself, appears as if risen from the dead. He encompasses all that comes from Him, but nothing enjoys kinship with Him by virtue of natural relationship. For the salvation of the saved is by grace and not by nature (cf. Eph. 2:5). Philokalia, Vol. II, “First Century on Theology,” Nrs. 66-67, pg. 127

The Logos: hidden but revealed in the visible world About the scriptures we say the words are the clothes of Christ. The words veil: the meaning reveals. It is the same in the world where the forms of visible things are like the clothing, and the ideas according to which they were created are like the flesh. The former conceal, the latter reveal. For the universal creator and law-maker, the word, both hides himself in his self-revelation and reveals himself in his hiding of himself." Ambigua, (P.G. 91,1129)

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St. Isaac the Syrian (640? - eighth century)
As a hermit and bishop of Ninevah in Syria, St. Isaac is one of the greatest figures of the Christian East. His influence has always been strong from Lebanon to South India and throughout the Monophysite (non-Chalcedonian) Churches from Armenia to Ethiopia. In the Churches of Greece and Russia his writings have been a source of inspiration and study, even to this century. He was born at Beth-Katrage in modern Qatar on the shores of the Persian Gulf. Isaac is known as a spiritual master and as a powerful and prolific writer who reflects the Syrian emphasis upon rigorous spiritual formation leading to a deep and continual love for all people and all creatures. This, he says, cultivates a “cosmic love” which enables one to perceive the divine fire which indwells all things. Through the one who submits to the cross and follows Christ into the crucifixion, a transfiguration takes place so that the peace of paradise radiates forth. Within this radiance wild beasts and even people become changed. He authored over ninety texts of which only about half have been translated into Greek; few exist in English. For modern ecology, St. Isaac epitomizes the heart-felt love for God and His creation which the ascetics of the Eastern desert bring to Christian vision, thought and practice. A charitable heart What is a charitable heart? It is a heart which is burning with a loving charity for the whole of creation, for men, for the birds, for the beasts, for the demons -- for all creatures. He who has such a heart cannot see or call to mind a creature without his eyes being filled with tears by reason of the immense compassion which seizes his heart; a heart which is so softened and can no longer bear to hear or learn from others of any suffering, even the smallest pain, being inflicted upon any creature. This is why such a man never ceases to pray also for the animals, for the enemies of truth, and for those who do him evil, that they may be preserved and purified. He will pray even for the lizards and reptiles, moved by the infinite pity which reigns in the hearts of those who are becoming united with God. Mystic Treatises XXIII

Perspective on the world The world is an arena and a running place... and this (our time in this earthly life) is a time of struggle.... In order to overcome in this struggle, our attention must be constantly directed toward God: for the Lord is... the omnipotent, the almighty, the victorious at all times, whenever he descends into the body of mortals to fight for them. But it is manifest that those who are defeated... are those whose will is stripped of Him because of their injustice. Homily LXIII Peace with the world through peace with God 178

Be at peace with your soul; then heaven and earth will be at peace with you. Enter eagerly into the treasure house that is within you, and so you will see the things that are in heaven; for there is but one single entry to them both. The ladder that leads to the kingdom is hidden within your soul. Flee from sin, dive into yourself, and in your soul you will discover the stairs by which to ascend. Mystic Treatises

Silent praise for creation's grandeur From henceforth you will gaze at all times upon the spectacle of God's continual loving care for his handiwork. Your mind will be swallowed up in awestruck wonder, your senses will be silent, and you, O feeble man, will lie prostrate on your face in prayer, your tongue unable to speak, and your heart incapable of praying; for in wonder at these divine acts of the Creator even prayer becomes inactive. This is the inactivity which is superior to work, when a person is completely still in his senses and thoughts, and he lies continually prostrate before his Lord. Then even his bones in their silence will offer up praise to God during this apparent inactivity, as the prophet says, "All my bones shall say, O Lord, who is like you? (Psalm 34:10). Ascetical Homilies 391

The response of animals to humility Everyone who has truly been clothed in humility becomes like him who came down from his exalted place and hid the splendor of his majesty, concealing his glory in lowliness, so that the created world should not be utterly consumed at the sight of him.... Creation could not behold him unless he took part of it to himself and thus conversed with it; only thus was creation able to hear the words of his mouth face to face.... No one ever hates, or wounds with words, or despises the person who is humble; and because his Lord loves him, he is dear to all. Everyone loves him, everyone cherishes him, and wherever he approaches, people look on him as an angel of light and accord honor to him....

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The humble man approaches wild animals, and the moment they catch sight of him their ferocity is tamed. They come up and cling to him as to their Master, wagging their tails and licking his hands and feet. They scent as coming from him the same fragrance that came from Adam before the transgression, the time when they were gathered together before him and he gave them names in Paradise. This scent was taken away from us, but Christ has renewed it and given it back to us at his coming. It is this which has sweetened the fragrance of humanity. Even the demons with their malice and fierceness, with the pride of their minds, become like dust once they have encountered a humble person. Ascetical Homilies 77: 381-382

Faith as a doorway of perception and spiritual sight Faith is the doorway to the mysteries. What the eyes of the body are for physical objects, faith is for the hidden eyes of the soul. Just as we have two bodily eyes, so we have two spiritual eyes, and each has its own way of seeing. With one we see the glory of God hidden in creatures; with the other we contemplate the glory of God’s holy nature when we deigns to give us access to the mysteries. Ascetic Treatises 72, in Olivier Clement, p. 213.

The secrets of God’s glory are in creation Faith is the doorway to the mysteries. What the eyes of the body are for physical objects, faith is for the hidden eyes of the soul. Just as we have two bodily eyes, so we have two spiritual eyes, and each has its own way of seeing. With one we see the glory of God hidden in creatures; with the other we contemplate the glory of God’s holy nature when he deigns to give us access to the mysteries.   Ascetic Treatises, 72, pg. 281

Two sets of eyes Faith is the doorway to the mysteries. What the eyes of the body are for physical objects, faith is for the hidden eyes of the soul. Just as we have two bodily eyes, so we have two spiritual eyes, and each has its own way of seeing. With one we 180

see the glory of God hidden in creatures; with the other we contemplate the glory of God’s holy nature when he deigns to give us access to the mysteries. Ascetic Treatises, 72 (pg. 281) How saints tame the wild beasts The humble man confronts murderous wild beasts. From the moment they see him, their savagery is tamed, and they approach him as if he were their owner, nodding their heads and licking his hands and feet. They actually scent coming from him the fragrance that Adam breathed before the Fall when they came to him in paradise and he gave them their names. Treatises, 20, translated by Spanos, pg. 78

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St. Hubertus (650 - 727)
The German patron saint of hunters and all those involved in game management, Saint Hubertus spread the message of wildlife conservation after he encountered an image of Jesus Christ shining on a brilliant crucifix between the antlers of an albino red stag. The deer spoke to him and conveyed a message that became the basis for conservation programs throughout Germany and much of Central Europe. After this moving experience, he entered religious life and eventually became a bishop. In addition to preaching about the spiritual life, he taught that a right attitude toward the animals was part of what Christ taught him in his forest encounter.

God's revelation about respect for the deer Shortly after the death of his wife, St. Hubertus relates that he went out hunting, and deep in the woods he encountered a beautiful red deer stag. With a glowing cross appearing between its broad antlers, the deer spoke to him, asking, "Why do you shoot only the best stags?" Awe struck, St. Hubertus could not answer. The stag warned Hubertus that because he and the other royal hunters shot only the healthiest and strongest of animals, there were not enough strong stags to breed a healthy herd. The deer said that hunters should exercise restraint in their hunting and also take weaker stags to help make a more vigorous herd. St. Hubertus was ordained a priest and eventually a bishop, and he told his story to other hunters who joined in practicing this vision of conservation. As his message spread, many hunters altered their way of hunting and the herds of red deer flourished. St. Hubertus' attitude toward animals as "beings" rather than just sporting targets for hunters is still reflected in Germany. At his death, Hubertus' last words were, "Stretch the "pallium" (a clerical vestment) over my mouth, for I am going to give back to God the soul which I received from Him." Today, hunters in Germany still place a small branch of an oak or evergreen in the mouth of the fallen game. That is an offering of the "last bite," signifying a final salute to the animal and symbolically giving back to God the life which it received from Him. The Story of St. Hubert

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St. Guthlac (673 - 714)
A British monk who lived on a small island near Lincolnshire, Saint Guthlack is one of England's two most popular saints (along with St. Cuthbert). He was rather unpopular in his early years because of his example of abstinence from mead and other intoxicating drink, but as his healing abilities became known, he soon became a popular and respected figure. He is warmly regarded for his special affinity for the animals and the affection which the birds and waterfowl exhibited toward him.

Holiness tames the beasts Brother, hast thou never learned in Holy Writ, that with him who has led his life after God's will, the wild beasts and wild birds are tame? Felix's Life of St. Guthlac

We lose dominion by failing to serve God Too often we lose dominion over the creation which is subject to us precisely because we neglect to serve the Lord of all creation, as it is written, "If you be willing, and will harken unto me, you shall eat the good things of the land," and so forth (Isaiah 1:19).... Felix, Life of St. Guthlac, quoted in Clinton Albertson, SJ, Anglo-Saxon Saints and Heroes, pg. 197.

All things join together in God When asked by a worthy man named Wilfrid how the birds were so trusting of him and came so near, since they were from the wild swampland and not at all used to being around human beings, St. Guthlac answered, "Have you not read that with him who is united with God in a pure spirit, all things are joined together in God?" Felix, Life of Guthlac, ch. xxxix 185

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The song of Guthlac Cynewulf, the first great Anglo-Saxon poet, called Guthlac "the hero of our time." The following lines are extracted from his "Song of Guthlac." Triumphant came he [Guthlac] to the hill; And many living things did bless his coming. With bursting chorus and with other signs The wild birds of the hill made known their joy Because this well-loved friend had now returned. Oft had he given them food when hungry, even starving, they had come Straight to his hand and from it ate their fill. Bright was the glorious plain and his new home; Sweet the birds sang; earth blossomed forth; Cuckoos heralded the year... Cynewulf, "About St. Guthlac," quoted by Virginia Holmgren, Bird Walk through the Bible, Seabury Press, New York, 1972, pg. 13-14.

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St. John lived among the early Islamic people of Damascus in what is modern Syria. His work is often compared within the Eastern Church to what St. Thomas Aquinas accomplished in the Western Church. He is distinguished particularly by his voluminous work, "The Exposition of the True Orthodox Faith," which lays out the parameters for a comprehensive Christian theology. His writings gather together the wisdom of the past and summarize the best and highest insights of the doctrinal, ascetical, exegetical and historical works of the Greek and Arabic Fathers. He undertook to mirror in his writings the tradition of the Greek Church of former centuries. His works especially deal with acquiring the virtues and renouncing the vices, and they have the ability to make the sharp distinctions necessary to differentiate between a right relationship of people to material things, to the world as well as to God. Worship God and honor the creation I do not worship matter. I worship the Creator of matter who became matter for my sake, who willed to take His abode in matter, who worked out my salvation through matter. Never will I cease honoring the matter which wrought my salvation! I honor it, but not as God.... Because of this I salute all remaining matter with reverence, because God has filled it with his grace and power. Through it my salvation has come to me. On the Divine Images 1:16

The Creation as a Reflection of the Creator The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God. Treatise

The Unique Quality of Each Creature and Plant At the bidding of the Creator, (the earth) produced all manner of living creatures, creeping things, and wild beasts and cattle. All indeed are for the seasonable use of man. Some of them are for food...; others are for service...; and others for enjoyment. Again amongst plants and herbs, some are fruit bearing, others edible, others fragrant and flowery. For there is not a single animal or plant in which the Creator has not implanted some form of energy capable of being used to satisfy man's needs. For He Who knew all things before they were, saw that in the future man would go forward in the strength of his own will, and would be subject to corruption, and therefore He created all things for his seasonable use. 189

Exposition of the Orthodox Faith X

The place of paradise The present "location" of Paradise, which has remained unchanged in its nature, is in this higher realm, which also seems to correspond to a literal "elevation" from the earth; indeed, some Holy Fathers state that even before the fall, Paradise was in an elevated place, being higher than all the rest of the earth. The Orthodox Faith II, 11

The dual nature of paradise Some have imagined Paradise to have been material while others have imagined it to have been spiritual. However, it appears to me that, just as man was created both sensitive and intellectual, so did this most sacred domain of his have the twofold aspect of being perceptible both to the senses and to the mind. For while in his body he dwelt in this most sacred and superbly beautiful place, spiritually he resided in a loftier and far more beautiful place. There he had the indwelling God as a dwelling place and wore Him as a glorious garment. He was wrapped about with His grace, and, like some one of the angels, he rejoiced in the enjoyment of that one most sweet fruit which is the contemplation of God, and by this he was nourished. Now this is indeed what is fittingly called the tree of life, for the sweetness of divine contemplation communicates a life uninterrupted by death to them that partake of it. The Orthodox Faith, II, 11.

Trees It is possible to understand by every tree the knowledge of the divine power derived from created things. In the words of the divine apostle, The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, "Concerning Paradise," ch. 11.

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The fruit of the Tree of Life God says, "Of every tree of Paradise thou shalt eat," meaning, I think: By means of all created things be thou drawn up to Me, their Creator, and from them reap the one fruit which is Myself, Who am the true Life. Let all things be fruitful life to thee and make participation in Me to be the substance of thy own existence; for thus thou shalt be immortal.... He made him a living being to be governed here according to this present life, and then to be removed elsewhere, that is, to the world to come, and so to complete the mystery by becoming divine through reversion to God – this however not by being transformed into the Divine substance, but by participation in the Divine illumination. The Orthodox Faith, II, 11-12

There is usefulness in every plant Among plants and herbs, some are fruit bearing, others edible, others fragrant and flowery, given to us for our enjoyment, such as the rose. Others have healing properties. For there is not a single animal or plant in which the Creator has not implanted some form of energy capable of being used to satisfy man's needs. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, "Concerning Earth and its Products," ch. 10.

The heavens declare the glory of God through people In the cosmogony of the universe, we accept the creation of a heaven.... But when we say, "The heavens declare the glory of God," this does not mean that they send forth a voice that can be heard by bodily ears, but that from their own greatness they bring before our minds the power of the Creator: and when we contemplate their beauty we praise their Maker as the Master Craftsman. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book II, "Concerning the heaven," ch. 6.

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The divine nature penetrates all creation The divine nature has the property of penetrating all things without mixing with them and of being itself impenetrable by anything else. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, "The Properties of the Divine Nature," Book 1, ch. 14.

Creation is not derived directly from God The creation, even though it originated later, is nevertheless not derived from the essence of God, but is brought into existence out of nothing by His will and power, and change does not touch God's nature. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, "Concerning the Holy Trinity," Book II, ch. 8

Man is a microcosm of the community of life Man, it is to be noted, has community with things inanimate and participates in the life of the unreasoning creatures, and shares in the mental processes of those endowed with reason. For the bond of union between man and inanimate things is the body and its composition out of the four elements: and the bond between man and plants consists, in addition to these things, of their powers of nourishment and growth and seeding, that is, generation: and finally, over and above these links, man is connected with unreasoning animals by appetite, that is anger and desire, and sense and impulsive movement. ... plus the five physical senses.... Lastly, man's reason unites him to incorporeal and intelligent natures, for he applies his reason and mind and judgement to everything and pursues after virtues and eagerly follows after piety, which is the crown of the virtues. And so man is a microcosm. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book II, "Concerning Man," ch. 12.

The origin of evil There is but one kingdom delivered from evil. From whence comes evil? For it is quite impossible that evil should originate from goodness. We answer, then, that evil is no thing else 192

than absence of goodness and a lapsing from what is natural into what is unnatural: for nothing evil is natural. For all things, whatsoever God made, are very good.... By nature therefore, all things are servants of the Creator and obdy Him. Whenever then, any of His creatures voluntarily rebels and becomes disobedient to his Maker, he introduces evil into himself. For evil is not any essence nor a property of essence, but an accident, that is, a voluntary deviation from what is natural into what is unnatural, which is sin. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, "That there are not two kingdoms," ch. 20.

How the heavens reveal the glory of God “The heavens show forth the glory of God,” not by speaking in voice audible to the sensible ears, but by manifesting to us through their own greatness, the power of the Creator, and when we remark on their beauty, we give glory to their Maker as the best of all Artificers. Early Fathers, Eerdmans, vol. IX

Criteria for a healthy intelligence The intelligence is healthy when, restrained and enlightened when it has the passions under control, when it perceives the inner essences of God’s creatures spiritually, and when it is raised up toward the Blessed and Holy Trinity. “On the virtues and vices,” as translated by Kallistos Ware and Philip Sherrard, The Philokalia, Vol. II, section on St. John of Damaskos, 1981, London, p. 339.

Life is energy We hold that there are two energies in our Lord Jesus Christ. For He possesses on the one hand, as God and being of like essence with the Father, the divine energy, and likewise, since He became man and of life essence to us, the energy proper to human nature. But observe that energy and capacity for energy, and the product of energy, and the agent of energy, are all different. Energy is the efficient and essential activity of nature: the 193

capacity for energy is the nature from which proceeds energy; the product of energy is that which is effected by energy; and the agent of energy is the person or substance which uses the energy.... Life itself, it should be observed, is energy, yea, the primal energy of the living creature: and so is the whole economy of the living creature, its functions of nutrition and growth, that is, the vegetative side of its nature, and the movement stirred by impulse, that is, the sentient side, and its activity of intellect and free-will. Energy, moreover, is the perfect realization of power. If, then, we contemplate all these in Christ, surely we must also hold that He possesses human energy. The first thought that arises in us is called energy.... Again the revelation and unfolding of thought by means of articulate speech is said to be energy.... And so in connection with our Lord Jesus Christ, the power of miracles is the energy of His divinity, while the work of His hands and the willing and the saying, “I will, be thou clean,” are the energy of His humanity. And again, if the providence that embraces all creation is not only of the Father and the Holy Spirit, but also of the Son, even after the incarnation, assuredly since that is energy, He must have even after the incarnation the same energy as the Father. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, tr. S. Salmond, 1898, reprinted by Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1989, Book III, chapter XV:15,7

Why we worship facing toward the East It is not without reason or by chance that we worship towards the East.... Since God is spiritual light, and Christ is called in the Scriptures the Sun of Righteousness and Dayspring, the East is the direction that must be assigned to His worship. For everything good must be assigned to Him from Whom every good thing arises.... The Scripture also says, “And God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed; and when he had transgressed His command, He expelled him and made him to dwell over against the delights of Paradise, which clearly is the West. So then we worship God seeking and striving after our old fatherland. Moreover the tent of Moses had its veil and mercy seat towards the East. Also in the celebrated temple of Solomon the gate of the Lord was placed eastward. Moreover Christ, when He hung on the cross, had His face towards the West, and so we worship, striving after Him. And when He was received again into Heaven, He was borne towards the East, and thus His Apostles worship Him... So then in expectation of His coming we worship towards the East. But this tradition of the Apostles is unwritten. For much that has been handed down to us by tradition is unwritten.

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Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, tr. S. Salmond, 1898, reprinted by Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1989, Book IV, chapter XII:1-3

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The properties of the divine nature Uncreate, without beginning, immortal, infinite, eternal, immaterial, good, creative, just, enlightening, immutable, passionless, uncircumscribed, immeasureable, unlimited, unseen, unthinkable, wanting in nothing, being His own rule and authority, all-ruling, life-giving, omnipotent, of infinite power, containing and maintaining the universe and making provision for all: all these and such like attributes the Deity possesses by nature, not having received them from elsewhere, but Himself imparting all good to His own creations according to the capacity of each. The divine nature has the property of penetrating all things without mixing with them and of being itself impenetrable by anything else. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book 1, ch. XIV, Eerdmans, Vol. IX, pg. 17

God creates by thought Since God, Who is good and more than good, did not find satisfaction in self-contemplation, but in His exceeding goodness wished certain things to come into existence which would enjoy His benefits and share in His goodness. He brought all things out of nothing into being and created them, both what is invisible and what is visible. And it is by thought that He creates, and thought is the basis of the work, the Word filling it and the Spirit perfecting it. Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book II, ch. II, Eerdmans, Vol. IX, pg. 18

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A Cloud of Witnesses
The Deep Ecological Legacy of Christianity

The Medieval Church
John Scotus Eriugena (810 - 877)
John Eriugena is the father of medieval philosophy and the most important medieval Irish scholar. John "The Scot" Eriugena was trained at a monastery school from an early age and while still in his youth he became a lay advisor to the court of Charles the Bald. He was never ordained and never tonsured into monasticism, yet as a layman he was known as Sanctus Sophista Johannes (“the holy sage John”). He saw deep meaning in the cyclical nature of creation and maintained that the whole of nature could be understood as "unfolding within the Trinity." Christ wears two “shoes” in the world, he says, “scripture and nature.” Both are necessary to understand the Lord, he says, and at no stage "can creation be seen as separated from God." For him nature is not merely the elements of the cosmos, but the totality of all processes and beings, including God, humanity and the world all intertwined together — in eternity and time. He saw “Nature” as continually being born and growing, and says that this process would not cease until it achieved perfection in Christ. He was strongly influenced by Maximos the Confessor, Gregory of Nyssa and particularly Dionysius the Areopagite, whose works he translated from Greek into Latin. John "the Scot" appears to be the first person to use the concept of "theophany" as an expression for the presence of God scattered everywhere in creation.   God and His creatures We ought not to understand God and the creatures as two things distinct from one another, but as one and the same. For both the creature, by subsisting, is in God; and God, by manifesting himself, in a marvelous and ineffable manner, creates himself in creatures.
Nature, Man and God

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Every creature is a manifestation of God Every visible or invisible creature is a “theophany” or appearance of God. The Christian is the one who, wherever he looks, sees God everywhere and rejoices in Him.... Man is the microcosm in the strictest sense of the word. He is the summary of all existence. There is no creature that is not recapitulated in man. There is nothing in the universe that is lower than body or higher than soul.
De Divisione Naturae

The universe is permeated with divine goodness So a grant of the Divine Goodness is the establishment of the universe and the distribution of all creatures according to general and special reasons, a distribution which the Super-essential Goodness, God, lavishes universally upon all from the highest down, i.e., from the intellectual nature, the highest of all creatures, to corporeal, which holds the last and lowest place in the universe.
De Divisione Naturae 307

The cycles of nature To those who contemplate the nature of things with both spiritual insight and the judgement of the senses, it is clearer than light itself that this recurrence takes place in the heavens, the continually moving spheres returning always in their courses to their point of origin. The sun and moon are examples; none need be given of the planets, for such knowledge is known to all who know astronomy ("astrologia").
De Divisione Naturae, V,3,866A-D

God exists in creatures God and the creation are one. We ought not to think of God and the creature as two and different from one another. The creature exists in God while God Himself in a wonderful and ineffable way is created in the creature.
De Divisione Naturae, III, 17, 678C

God as the cause of all goodness Let us take our examples from nature. This goodness is like a river which, rising at its source, flows in its bed ever downward uninterruptedly to the sea. In the same way, divine goodness, being, life, wisdom — everything which is in the primordial source of all — flows downward like a stream, first into the primordial causes, ineffable in their workings, but still in harmony with them, they flow from higher to lower, finally reaching
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the lowest ranks of the All. The return flow is through the most secret pores of nature by a concealed path to the source.
quoted in Clarence Glacken, Traces on the Rhodian Shore, University of California Press, 1967, pg. 211

The reasons for divisions in nature The division of nature signifies that act by which God expresses himself and makes known himself in a hierarchy of beings which are other than, and inferior to him.
De Divisione Naturae, I, 1-2, 441B

Understanding the Creator from the creation Learn to know the Maker from those things which are made in him and by him. “For the invisible things of Him,” as the Apostle says, “are clearly understood by the intelligence, being understood from the things which are made”... All things, therefore, which were made by the Word, live in Him unchangeably and are life. In him all things exist neither by temporal intervals or places, nor as what is to come; but all are one in him, above all times and places, and subsist in him eternally.
The Voice of the Eagle, Homily X

A contemplation of creation Consider the infinite, multiple power of the seed – how many grasses, fruits and animals are contained in each kind of seed; and how there surges from each a beautiful, innumerable multiplicity of forms. Contemplate with your inner eye how in a master the many laws of an art or science are one; how they live in a spirit that disposes them. Contemplate how an infinite number of lines may cross through a single point, and other similar examples drawn from nature.

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From the contemplation of such examples as these, raised above all things by the wings of natural contemplation, illumined and supported by divine grace, you will be able to penetrate by the keenness of your mind the secrets of the Word and, to the extent that it is granted to the human being who seeks signs of his God, you will see how all things made by the Word live in the Word and are life: “For in him,” as the sacred Scripture says, “we live and move and have our being.”
The Voice of the Eagle, Homily X

Two ways of knowing the divine light When humanity abandoned God, the light of divine knowledge receded from the world. Since then, the eternal light reveals itself in a twofold manner through Scripture and through creation. Divine knowledge may be renewed in us in no other way, but through the letters of Scripture and the species of creature. Learn, therefore, to understand these divine modes of expression and to conceive of their meanings in your soul, for therein you will know the Word. Observe the forms and beauties of sensible things, and comprehend the Word of God in them. If you do so, the truth will reveal to you in all such things only he who made them, outside of whom you have nothing to contemplate, for he himself is all things. For whatever truly is, in all things which are, is he. Indeed, just as no substantial good exists outside of him, so no essence or substance exists that is not he.
The Voice of the Eagle, Homily XI

All things always existed in God All things always were in the Word of God, causally, in force and potency, beyond all places and times... beyond all forms and species known by sense and understanding.... But before they flowed forth... they were not in generation, they were not in space nor in time, nor in the proper forms and species to which accidents happen.
The Division of Nature

God is the essence of all things When we hear that God made everything, we ought to understand nothing other than God is in all things – i.e., that He subsists as the essence of all things.
The Division of Nature, 867

God sustains creation All things flow constantly from God, as water flows from a spring, and tends ever to return to Him as water tends ever to return to its level.
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The Division of Nature, 867

What God punishes in creation I think you have not yet quite grasped the fact that God punishes no nature created by Him, whether human or demonic; but He punishes what He has not created, i.e., the irrational motions of the perverse will.
Periphyseon, Book V, 927C

Uses of the word “world” in the Bible Let us remark that the blessed evangelist uses the word “world” four times (i.e., in John 1:9-10); but he teaches us that there are three worlds, of which the first is absolutely and exclusively constituted of invisible, spiritual powers. To come into this world is to have full participation in the true light. The second is the complete opposite of this world, and is constituted absolutely of visible, corporeal natures. And, through this second world has been placed at the lowest level of the universe, the Logos was in it, and by the Logos was it made. And it is the first level to climb for those who would know the truth through the senses, for it is through recognition of the visible that the rational soul is attracted to the knowledge of the invisible. The third world is that which, as a mediating term, conjoins in itself the superior spiritual world and the inferior corporeal world, and makes the two one. It is only in man, through whom the whole creation is united, that we encounter this third world. Man thus is composed of body and soul. Uniting a body from this world and a soul from the other, he makes of them a cosmos.
Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, prologue  

 

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St. Symeon the New Theologian (949 - 1022)
One of the greatest of the Byzantine mystics and theologians, St. Symeon began his career in the Royal Court of the Eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople. He soon became disenchanted with courtly life and left to join the Studit monastery where a gifted “staretz,” or spiritual teacher, dwelled. Symeon eventually became more a spiritual master than a systematic theologian. Among his emphases is the accessibility of spiritual experience, especially connection to the Divine Light, which he describes as the personal, visible experience of the light of Christ within. His biographer Nicetas Stephanos wrote: “Having arrived at a high degree of union with the Holy Spirit, he has become for the people of Israel, the monks, ʻthe river of God, filled with the water of the Spirit.ʼ” Again, he writes, “He was entirely possessed by the Holy Spirit. His thought was equal to that of the Apostles for the Divine Spirit inspired his every movement.” A central theme of Symeonʼs teaching is that the things of the world belong to everyone and that it is a sin to appropriate them or hoard them for oneʼs private purposes without sharing and equitable distribution. He taught the need for the freshness of authentic spiritual experience and not merely a dependence upon the outward forms of Church life, which are not soul-saving in themselves. Symeon was instrumental in the revival of early Christian methods of prayer and spiritual practice which cultivate a direct experience of the brilliant light of Christ. He describes creation as a gift from God which is to be spiritualized through the rebirth and growth of Christ within each person. As the individual is renewed in Christ, so the creation which "awaits the manifestation of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19), is transformed with him. “Thus he transforms creation, making it sing the praises of the divine Majesty.”

A prayer of thanksgiving For before the world came into being from thee (John 17:5), Thou didst have me wholly in Thyself and glorified me by giving me reason, and honored me with Thy image. For no other reason but for my sake, who Thou didst create according to Thine image and likeness (Genesis 1:26), has Thou brought forth all things out of nothing, and made me to be king of all earthly things for the glory of Thy mighty work and Thy goodness. From whence could I have known, O Master, that Thou, who are invisible and without limit, yet may be seen and contained within us? From whence was I able to think that Thou, the Master who hast created the universe, unites Thyself to men whom Thou hast formed, making them bearers of God and Thy sons?
The Discourses, "On Works of Mercy"

The things of the world belong to all people The things and possessions that are in the world are common to all, like the light and this air that we breathe, as well as the pasture for the dumb animals on the plains and on the mountains. All these things were made for all in common solely for use and enjoyment; in terms of ownership they belong to no one.
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But covetousness, like a tyrant, has intruded into life, so that its slaves and underlings have in various ways divided up that which the Master gave to be common to all. She has enclosed them by fences and made them secure by means of watchtowers, bolts and gates. She has deprived all other men of the enjoyment of the Master's good gifts, shamelessly pretending to own them, contending that she has wronged no one. But this tyrant's underlings and slaves in turn become, each one of them, evil slaves and keepers of the properties and monies entrusted to them. Even if they are moved by the threat of punishments... and take a few or even all of these things to give to those who are in poverty and distress whom they have hitherto ignored, how can they be accounted merciful? Have they fed Christ? Have they done a deed that is worthy of a reward? By no means! I tell you that they owe a debt of penitence to their dying day for all that they so long have kept back and deprived their brothers from using.
Catechesis 9:107-116

Distributing possessions is to set one's heart free Cheerfulness consists in not regarding these things (such things as we may possess) as our own, but as entrusted to us by God for the benefit of our fellow servants. It consists in scattering them abroad generously with joy and magnanimity, not reluctantly nor under compulsion (cf. II Corinthians 9:7ff).
The Discourses, "On Works of Mercy"

The new man brings the New Creation When man again (will) be renewed and become spiritual, incorrupt and immortal, then also the whole creation, which has been subjected by God to man to serve him, (will) be delivered from servitude, (will) be renewed together with him, and become incorrupt, and, as it were, spiritual. All this the All-Merciful God foreordained before the creation of the world.
The Sin of Adam, 69

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The root cause of failure to share the goods of the world Through greed we fall under a double accusation and thus are subject to eternal punishment and condemnation — the one, the accusation of lacking mercy, the other, of putting our hope in stored treasures instead of in God. For the one who has hoarded possessions cannot hope in God, as is clear from what Christ our God told us: "there where your treasure is, there also will be your heart!" He who lets the whole world profit from the wealth he had put aside is not therefore entitled to a reward. On the contrary, he is guilty for unjustly depriving others. And even more than this, he is responsible for all those who perished through hunger and thirst, for all those he could have fed up till then, but did not. He is guilty of burying the share of the poor and letting them cruelly die of hunger and cold. He has murdered as many victims as he could have fed.
Catechesis 9:196-213

The purpose and destiny of creation Only for me, [created] in your image and likeness, did You bring forth all creatures from nothing. You made me ruler of all things on earth for the glory of Your magnificence and Your goodness. What then does God do, the Maker of the universe, who also fashioned Adam? As God knew before the beginning of the world that His commands would be disobeyed, and as He had predetermined that Adam's birth into a new life and his restoration would be subordinated to the fleshly birth of His only Son — what does God do? Creation has been given over to man, and it was for man that creation was made. Creation having become corruptible for corruptible (man), when man would be restored and be spiritual, incorruptible and immortal, God wishes that then creation itself would be freed from servitude and would be incorruptible and spiritual.
The First and Second Thanksgiving 1:2

All creation is within I know that the Immovable comes down; I know that the Invisible appears to me; I know that He who is far outside the whole creation takes me within Himself and hides me in His arms, And then I find myself outside the whole world. I, a frail, small mortal in the world, Behold the Creator of the world, all of Him, within myself; And I know that I shall not die, for I am within the Life, I have the whole of life springing up as a fountain within me.

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He is in my heart, he is in heaven: Both there and here He shows Himself to me with equal glory.
Hymns of Divine Love

Awakening to God's presence We awaken in Christ's body as Christ awakens our bodies, and my poor hand is Christ; He enters my foot and is infinitely me. I move my hand, and wonderfuly my hand becomes Christ, becomes all of Him (for God is indivisibly whole, seamless in His Godhood). I move my foot, and at once He appears like a flash of lightning. Do my words seem blasphemous? Then open your heart to Him, and let yourself receive the one who is opening to you so deeply. For if we genuinely love Him, we wake up inside Christ's body where all our body, all over, every most hidden part of it, is realized in joy as Him, and He makes us utterly real, and everything that is hurt, everything that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful, maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged, is in Him transformed and recognized as whole, as lovely, and radiant in His light. We awaken as the Beloved in every part of our body.
quoted by Stephen Mitchell, The Enlightened Heart, Harper and Row, Publ., San Francisco, 1989, pg. 38-39.

Searching for God When men search for God with their bodily eyes, they can find Him nowhere. ... But for those who ponder in the Spirit, He is present everywhere.
The Practical and Theological chapters, 1:1

Contemplating reality No man can use his visual sense alone and properly comprehend the greatness of the heavens, or the extent of the earth, or the order of all things. How could bodily eyes ever manage to grasp things that transcend mind and understandings? It is only with difficulty that the mind can gain a true contemplation of existing reality, and only then after it has been purified of its own opinions, freed of its prejudices, and illumined by the grace and mercy of God. Even then, it only perceives insofar as it has been illumined.
The Practical and Theological chapters, 1:34

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The nature of “will” in creatures A man who does His will, even unto death, is thereby left completely without his own will. Yet no living and moving creature is without will, but only those that have neither senses nor power to move. Plants possess a certain inner movement and growth; but it cannot be said that this movement and growth are the result of the natural will — for they have no soul. But every creature with a soul by nature also possesses a will. Thus, whoever kills his own will by effort, with attention and zeal especially towards this end, and becomes devoid of will, has obviously transcended his nature and is outside of it. Such a man no longer himself wishes anything since he has no wishes of his own, and does nothing of himself, either good or evil. Those who with the help of the Holy Spirit have been vouchsafed union with God and have tasted of His ineffable blessings, no longer delight in empty — I would even say dishonorable and worthless — glory from men. Neither do they wish for money, costly garments, or precious stones, as the foolish call them. ... Neither do they aspire to be close to any famous or renowned men of the world, since no man cares to exchange riches for poverty....
“Practical and Theological Precepts,” Nr. 179180, in Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart, Faber and Faber, London, 1951.

Two suns for two bodies From the first, God created two worlds, the visible and the invisible, and has made a king to reign over the visible who bears within himself the characteristic features of both worlds — one in his visible half and the other in his invisible half — in his soul and his body. Two suns shine in these worlds, one visible and the other intellectual. In the visible world of the senses, there is the sun, and in the invisible world of the intellect, there is God, Who is called the sun of truth [or righteousness]. The physical world is illumined by the physical and visible sun; but the world of the intellect and those in it are illumined by the sun of truth in the intellect. Moreover, physical things are illumined by the physical sun, and things of the intellect by the sun of the intellect separately from one another, for they are not mixed with or merged into one another — neither the physical with the intellectual nor the intellectual with the physical. Of all the visible and invisible creation man alone is created dual. He has a body composed of the four elements, the senses and breath; and he has a soul, invisible, incorporeal, joined to the body in an ineffable manner; they interpenetrate and yet are not compounded, combine and yet do not coalesce. This is what man is: an animal both mortal and immortal, both visible and invisible, both sensory and intellectual, capable of seeing the visible and knowing the invisible creation. As each of the two suns influences his own world separately, so they affect separately each side of man: one illumines the body and the other the soul, each giving of its o wn light to its own side, whether richly or sparingly according to what it can receive.
“Practical & Theological Precepts,” Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart, London, 1951, 151-152

Adam in the paradise of this world God in the beginning, before He planted Paradise and gave it over to the first-created ones, in five days set in order the earth and what is on it, and the heaven and what is in it. And on the sixth day He created Adam and placed him as lord and king of the whole visible creation. Then there was not yet paradise. But this world was from God as a kind of paradise, although it was material and sensuous. God gave it over to the
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authority of Adam and all his descendants, as the Scripture says (Genesis 1:26-30). God gave over to man at the beginning this whole world as a kind of paradise....
Homily 45, The First Created Man, pg. 87

Glimpsing the Creator through creation We see the Creator by analogy. That is, by the greatness and the beauty of His creation.
The Practical and Theological chapters, 1:33

God and the laws of nature The words and decrees of God become the law of nature. Therefore the decree which God uttered as a result of the disobedience of the first Adam, the decree of death and corruption, became a law of nature eternal and unchanging. For the abolition of this decree, the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, was crucified and died, offering Himself as a sacrifice for the redemption of man from death.
The Sin of Adam, translation by Theophan the Recluse, Moscow, 1892, “The Fall of Adam and the Decrees of God,” Homily 38.3-4

The redemption of creation The whole creation is to be renewed and delivered from the bondage of corruption, and these elements together with us will become partakers of the brightness proceeding from the Divine fire. Just as a bronze vessel that has become old and useless, becomes new again when a metal worker melts it in fire and recasts it, in the same way creation, having become old and useless because of our sins, will be, as it were, melted in fire by God the Creator and recast, and will appear new, incomparably brighter than it is now. Do you see how all creatures are to be renewed by fire?
The Sin of Adam, trans. by Theophan the Recluse, Moscow 1892, “How is the whole Creation again to be renewed?” Homily 45:4

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The bright condition of the future creation The whole creation, after it will be renewed and become spiritual, will become a dwelling which is immaterial, incorruptible, unchanging, and eternal. The heaven will become incomparably more brilliant and bright than it appears now; it will become completely new. The earth will receive a new unutterable beauty, being clothed in many-formed, unfading flowers, bright and spiritual. The sun will shine more powerfully than now, and the whole world will become more perfect than any word can describe. Having become spiritual and divine, it will become united with the noetic world; it will be a paradise, a heavenly Jerusalem, the inalienable inheritance of the sons of God.... But when the earthly will be united with the heavenly, then also the righteous will inherit that already-renewed earth whose inheritors are to be those meek ones who are blessed by the Lord.
“The Sin of Adam,” translation by Theophan the Recluse, 1892, “How is the whole creation again to be renewed?” Homily 45:5

Paradise is for the whole earth God did not grant man paradise only, but the whole earth. “All things visible, those on the earth and those on the sea, He gave to Adam and to us, his descendants, for our enjoyment.
Catechetical Oration 19, 194

What is meant by the term “the world”? But what is 'the world'? What are 'the things that are in the world'? Listen! It is not gold, silver, or horses, or mules. All these things that serve our physical needs we ourselves possess. It is not meat, nor bread, nor wine, for we ourselves partake of these things and eat them in moderation. It is not houses, nor fields, nor vineyards, nor properties...So what is the world? It is sin, brethren, and attachment to things and passions. Let John, the disciple beloved by Christ, speak of 'the things that are in the world.' He says: 'Do not love the world or the things in the world...for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world' (I John 2:15 f.).
The Discourses, V: “On Penitence,” no. 17,

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Sanctifying the temple of the world When man finds his destiny, which is to glorify God, he also leads the whole of creation to its destiny, which is to glorify God. As he sanctifies the temple of his being, man also sanctifies the temple of the entire world. Thus he transforms creation, making it sing the praises of the divine Majesty.
Anestis Kesolopoulos, quoting St. Symeon the New Theologian, Man and the Environment: A Study of St. Symeon the New Theologian, trans. E. Theokritoff, St. Vladimirʼs Seminary Press, Crestwood, 2001, p. 66.

The sequence of renewal At the creation, the pristine earth was formed first and then human beings were created; but in the re-creation and renewal, which follows from the Incarnation and Cross of our Lord Jesus, the human being is first restored and creation follows.
Ethical Discourses 2.7, SC 122, pp. 372-74; "On the Mystical Life," vol. 1, SVS Press, p. 109.

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St. Peter of Damaskos (1027? - 1107?)
A Syrian monk who writes primarily for other monks. St. Peter lived in a small skete (a monastic village) in the Syrian desert. He tells us that he does not know what he will write until he picks up his writing implement and it is actually touching paper.... He never owned any books. His writings depict a cosmos infused with the presence of God and he finds everywhere the love of God dwelling in all things. St. Peter of Damascus is important for ecological awareness because he reflects a cosmological vision in which “Godʼs providence embraces the whole of creation.” This becomes accessible to us, he writes, as we mold ourselves into the likeness of God through the acquisition of the virtues and contemplation. From St. Peter of Damascus we learn that the world is a manifestation of divinity; that through creation we can discern the Word which sustains every creature; that through examination of both the little things and the large, we find the continuing work of our Lord Jesus Christ while still in this world. In accordance with the monastic style of his time, his writing is deliberately asystematic which requires the reader to restore the original internal harmony to arrive at his or her own view of their place in spiritual formation. The wonder of creation Godʼs providence embraces the whole universe.... By contemplating the beauty and use of each thing, (one who has acquired the habit of detachment) is filled with love for the Creator. He surveys all visible things: the sky, the sun, moon, stars and clouds, rain, snow and hail... thunder, lightening, the winds and breezes and the way they change, the seasons, the years...; the four-legged animals, the wild beasts and animals and reptiles, all the birds, the springs and rivers, the many varieties of plants and herbs, both wild and cultivated. He sees in all things the order, the equilibrium, the proportion, the beauty, the rhythm, the union, the harmony, the usefulness, the variety, the motion, the colours, the shapes, the reversion of things to their source, permanence in the midst of corruption. Contemplating thus all created realities, he is filled with wonder.
Philokalia, Vol. III, “The Sixth Stage of Contemplation,” trans. by Philip Sherrard, Faber and Faber, London, p. 136-137.

Contemplation of Godʼs qualities in creation

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Contemplating the visible things of Godʼs power and providence, His goodness and wisdom, as St. Paul says (cf. Romans 1:20-21), and perceiving the mysteries hidden in the divine Scriptures, [the one whose intellect has been purified] is given the grace to ascend with Christ through the contemplation of intelligible realities.... Perceiving the invisible through the visible, and the eternal through the transitory, he realizes that if this ephemeral world... is so beautiful, how much more beautiful must be the eternal, inconceivable blessings “that God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Cor.2:9)
Philokalia, Vol. III, A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, Book 1, trans. by Philip Sherrard, Faber and Faber, London, p. 99

The wonder of creationʼs processes Contemplating all created realities, the individual is filled with wonder. He marvels how the Creator by a simple command brought the four elements out of nothing; how, by virtue of His wisdom, opposites do not destroy one another; and how out of the four elements God made all things....
Philokalia, Vol. III, “The Sixth Stage of Contemplation,” trans. by Philip Sherrard, Faber and Faber, London, p. 137.

There is nothing incidental or evil in creation St. Gregory the Theologian says these things [of the magnificence and wo nder of creation] are insignificant in comparison with Christʼs incarnation and with the blessings to come. He perceives too how Godʼs goodness and wisdom, His strength and forethought, which are concealed in created things, are brought to light by m anʼs artistic powers. ... Whoever is aware of all this recognizes that there is nothing incidental or evil in creation, and that even what takes place against Godʼs will is miraculously changed by God into something good.
Philokalia, Vol. III, “The Sixth Stage of Contemplation,” trans. by Philip Sherrard, Faber and Faber, London, p. 137.

Moderation in contemplation For what one cannot understand, one should give silent thanks, as St. Isaac (the Syrian) says, but should not presumptuously assume that one has understood it. And St. Isaac, borrowing his words from Sirach, also says, “When you find honey, eat moderately, lest by over-indulging you make yourself sick. As St. Gregory the Theologian says, “Uncontrolled contemplation may well push us over the edge, when we seek for what is beyond our strength and are unwilling to say, “God knows this, but who am I?” And as St. Basil observes, we must believe that He who made the mountains and the great sea monsters has also hollowed out the sting of the bee.
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Philokalia, Vol. III, “The Sixth Stage of Contemplation,” trans. by Philip Sherrard, Faber and Faber, London, pp. 140-141.

Give thanks to God for all things As it is said, “In everything gives thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18).... No matter what you do, you should keep in mind the Creator of all things.... When you see the sky, the earth, the sea and all that is in them, marvel at these things and glorify their Creator. When you put on clothing, acknowledge whose gift it is and praise Him who in His providence has given you life. In short, if everything you do becomes for you an occasion for glorifying God, you will be praying unceasingly. And in this way your soul will always rejoice (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:16; Psalm 77:3. LXX).
Philokalia, Vol. III, “Godʼs Universal and Particular Gifts,” trans. by Philip Sherrard, Faber and Faber, London, pp. 173.

Spiritual sight Spiritual insight is characterized first by awareness of oneʼs own failings before they issue in outward signs... and second by the knowledge of the mysteries hidden in the divine Scriptures and in the sensible creation.
Philokalia, Vol. III, “True Discrimination,” trans. Philip Sherrard, Faber & Faber, London, p 159

The great value of stillness If we are to attain the humility and spiritual knowledge necessary for the understanding of the mysteries hidden in the divine Scriptures and in all creation, we need devotion and stillness, total or partial.... Stillness is the highest gift of all, and without it, we cannot be purified and come to know our weakness and the trickery of demons; neither will we be able to understand the power of God and His providence from the divine words that we read and sing.
Philokalia, Vol. III, “Spurious Knowledge,” trans. by Philip Sherrard, Faber and Faber, London, p. 194

Lessons from the night For those who practice the virtues and have reached a stage of spiritual progress where they can contemplate creation, he says there are valuable lessons in the night. Where the contemplative life is concerned, the night supplies us with many themes for contemplation. First of all, it reminds us of the creation of the world, since all creation becomes invisible because of the
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darkness, as it was before it came into existence. This in turn prompts us to reflect how the sky was empty then and without stars, as happens now when they become invisible because of the clouds. When we see only darkness, we are reminded of the darkness that was over the abyss, and when suddenly the sky becomes clear again [and day returns] and we are struck by wonder at the world above, and offer praise to God, just as did the angels are said to have praised God when they saw the stars (cf. Job 37:7).
Philokalia, Vol. III, Book II, “Twenty Four Discourses,” Nr. XXII, as translated by Philip Sherrard, Faber and Faber, London, p. 262.

Godʼs marvelous care for creation Peter addresses the insights which emerge as one experiences the illuminating light of Jesus Christ and how it opens up a deeper, more profound understanding of creation. He finds nothing in all creation that can harm him. Illumined by the knowledge of God he rejoices in the Lord on account of all the things that He has created, marvelling at the care He shows for His creatures. The person who has attained spiritual knowledge not only marvels at visible things, but also is astonished by his perception of many essential things invisible to those who lack experience of this knowledge.
Philokalia, Vol. III, Book II, “Twenty Four Discourses,” Nr. XXII, as translated by Philip Sherrard, Faber and Faber, London, p. 261

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Hildebert of Lavardin (1056 - 1133)
Bishop of Le Mans, Archbishop of Tours, and celebrated medieval poet, Hildebert was born in the Castle of Lavardin near Montoir on the Loire river. As Archbishop, he strenuously defended the rights of the Church against the encroachments of King Louis VI of France who arrogated to himself the right to appoint officials for the Church. Hildebert was learned and pious and always had the well-being of the Church at heart. St. Bernard of Clairvaux calls him a great “pillar of the Church.” Hildebertʼs contribution to ecological awareness lies in his continual insistence that Godʼs presence is always with us and with every other aspect of life in creation. Therefore every act ought to be done with reverence for it is done in and before God. He is also known as one of the greatest hymnologists of the Middle Ages.

God is always present God is over all things, under all things, outside all; within but not enclosed; without but not excluded; above but not raised up; below but not depressed; wholly above, presiding; wholly beneath, sustaining; wholly without, embracing; wholly within, filling.
As quoted in Christianity Today September 16, 1991

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St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 - 1153)
A reformer of monastic life and counselor to kings and popes, St. Bernard led the early attack by the Church against the movement toward rationalism. He helped stop ethnic pogroms, advised the rulers of empires, and shaped the course of European history. His knowledge of natural processes was detailed and he found great charm in what he called the "sweet scenes" of the French countryside. These scenes delighted him and he reports on the consolation which he found in reflection upon the mysteries hidden within it. His great tool for accomplishment was prayer, and because he commended his every action into the hands of God, he never had a sense of personal accomplishment, knowing that the credit always belonged to His Creator. He does not write extensively about creation, but when he does, his insights are profound and reflect the great depth of insight which underlies his understanding of the place of creation in the Christian world view. His particular emphasis is upon respect for the body and its senses because these serve as gateways for our ascent to understanding God.

A stream through the meadow That spot (in the meadow below the Clairvaux monastery) has much charm; it greatly soothes weary minds, relieves anxieties and cares, helps souls who seek the Lord greatly to devotion, and recalls to them the thought of the heavenly sweetness to which they aspire. The smiling countenance of the earth is painted with varying colors, the blooming verdure of spring satisfies the eyes, and its sweet odor salutes the nostrils. While I am charmed without by the sweet influence of the beauty of the country, I have not less delight within in reflecting on the mysteries which are hidden beneath it.
The Works of Bernard, Vol. II, pg. 464-465

Learning from creation Believe one who knows: You will find something greater in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.
Letter to Heinrich Murdach, quoted in The Letters of Bernard 106:107

A contemporary view of Bernard An eleventh century biographer of St. Bernard, William of St. Thierry, writes,

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"Indeed, to this day, he confesses that whatever competence he has in the scriptures, whatever spiritual sensitivity he has for them, stems mainly from his meditating or praying in woodland or field. And among his friends, he jokes merrily of having no other masters for such lessons but the oaks and beeches."
Quoted in Martinus Cawley, Bernard of Clairvaux: Early Biographies, Lafayette, 1990, Vol. 1, pg. 31.

The effect of prayer on the land The cloister is a "true paradise," and the surrounding countryside shares in its dignity.... A wild spot, not hallowed by prayer and asceticism and which is not the scene of any spiritual life is, as it were, in the state of original sin. But once it has become fertile and purposeful, it takes on the utmost significance.
quoted by Clarence Glacken, in Traces on the Rhodian Shore, University of California Press, 1967, pg. 303.

Human valuation of possessions It is our nature's law that makes a man set higher value on the things he has not got than upon those he has, so that he loathes his actual possessions in longing for the things that are not his.
“On the Love of God,” quoted in The Harper Religious and

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The road to God Theirs is an endless road, yea, even a hopeless maze, who seek for goods before they seek for God.
quoted in The Harper Religious and Inspirational Quotation Companion, pg. 445.

Healing remedies in nature St. Bernard describes the healing properties of the plants and herbs in the area around Clairvaux. He describes how sick monks find solace and pleasure within the pastoral scenes of the valley because it is a place suitable for healing. See how, in order to cure one's sickness, the goodness of God multiplies remedies, causes the clear air to shine in serenity, the earth to breathe forth fruitfulness, and the sick man himself to inhale through eyes and ears and nostrils the delights of colors, of songs, and of odours.
quoted from Clarence Glacken, Traces on the Rhodian Shore, University of California Press, 1967, pg. 213.

How stones are holy Be not like horses and mules which have no understanding. What sanctity can these stones have that we should celebrate their feast? Yet they are indeed holy, but because of your bodies.... Holy are your souls because the Holy Spirit dwells in them: holy are your bodies because of your souls; and holy is this house because of your bodies.
Sermon 1, in Dedicatione Eccles., nr. 1, PL, 183:518

Recreating Paradise It is the duty of monks to work as partners of God in improving His creation.... Labor is like a prayer which helps in recreating paradise out of chaotic wilderness.
As quoted by Clarence Glacken and requoted by Rene Dubos in A God Within, Scribners, New York, 1972, p. 171

Hugh of St. Victor (1096 - 1141)
An Augustinian monk who served as master of the Abbey School of Paris, he is known for restoring the mystical tradition of an earlier Christianity and for inspiring concern for spiritual transformation. His spiritual discipline caused him to shine like a beacon of
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spiritual renewal to the twelfth century. For Hugh knowledge of the world introduces contemplation of the Creator. “Reflection on creation,” he writes, “should cause one to cry out in amazement with the Psalmist, ʻHow great are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you have made them all.” For Hugh, only foolish people will not know God from creation, and “stupid people will not understand” their spiritualizing potential. “Only spiritual people, who seek to better know God, will perceive the wisdom of God from the beauty of creation.” The most prominent themes about care of creation in Hugh of St. Victorʼs writings are the wisdom and rationality of the world, the ability to know God through contemplation of his works, and the importance of using the senses prayerfully so that they may apprehend the beauty of God everywhere in creation. The book of nature The whole sensible world is like a book written by the finger of God, that is, created by the divine power, and individual creatures are like certain characters invented not by human judgement, but by divine choice to manifest and to signify in some way the invisible wisdom of God. But just as when unlettered people see an open book, they see the characters, but do not know the letters, so foolish people and natural human beings, w ho do not perceive the things of God, see the external appearances in these visible creatures, but do not understand their inner meaning. But those who are spiritual persons can judge all things insofar as they consider the beauty of the work externally, but grasp within them how much the wisdom of the Creator is to be admired.
The Three Days of Invisible Light, p. 4

All nature speaks of God Nothing in the universe that God created lacks fecundity. By contemplating what God has made, human beings should also recognize the way they ought to behave.
Didascalicon 6.4, as quoted in Jame Schaefer, “Acting Reverently in Godʼs Sacramental World,” in Francis Eigo, OSA, Ethical Dilemmas in the New Millennium, Villanova University Press, 2001, p. 55.

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The light of the wisdom of God in creation He says that the beautiful features of creation attest to the wisdom of God. Anyone able to investigate these [features] could find in them the marvelous light of the wisdom of God. Would that I could as subtly see them and as competently tell of them as I am able ardently to love them. For I am delighted because it is very sweet and pleasant frequently to deal with these topics in which the senses are educated by reason and love is roused by emulation.
The Three Days of Invisible Light, translated by Roland Teske, SJ, Marquette University Press, 1996, p. 4

The wisdom in the structure of creation Hugh writes extensively on the beauty of creatures through which Godʼs wisdom can be perceived. Their beauty can be found in their “arrangement, motion, appearance, and quality.” Their arrangement is seen in their composition and order; their order is found in place and time and propriety. Motion is fourfold: local, natural, animal and rational. Local motion is forward and backward.... Natural motion is found in increase and decrease.... Animal motion is seen in the senses and appetites. Rational motion is found in actions and plans. Appearance is the visible form which is discerned by the eye, such as the colors and shapes of bodies. Quality is an interior property, which is perceived by the other senses, such as a melody in sound by the hearing of the ears, sweetness in savor by the taste of the mouth, fragrance in scent by the smelling of the nose, or softness in a body by the touch of the hands.
The Three Days of Invisible Light, translated by Roland Teske, SJ, Marquette University Press, 1996, p. 4

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St. Hildegard of Bingen, (1098 - 1179)
A visionary and prophet in the Old Testament tradition, Hildegard was awed by the audacity of the tasks given to her as she listened to the Word of God. She submitted to her interior guidance and served as a Benedictine nun and abess of a medieval German convent. In the processes of the earth she sensed "divinity everywhere." She combined Christian theology with ethics and cosmology; produced an encyclopedia of medicine and natural science; authored liturgical hymns; and wrote the first Christian morality play. Beginning at the age of sixty, she undertook four lengthy missionary tours of Europe. Her contemporaries called her “the Sibyl of the Rhine,” and she ministered as an oracle of inspired counsel on topics from marital troubles to health problems and the ultimate fate of souls. Today herbalists have rediscovered the benefits of her medical prescriptions and have applied her remedies in homeopathy. She saw things which were invisible to those around her; she foretold the future; and those who knew her said there was a continual “luminosity” around her head which she called “the reflection of the living light.” She wrote eloquently about God's blessings through the world and proclaimed that sin and corruption destroy the harmony of the cosmos and besmirch the grandeur of God's gift of creation. For her, nature evokes joy, wonder, praise, thanksgiving, and especially love. Hildegard's legacy to the modern world is that only a transformed heart, following Christ wherever He leads and willing to die to all idols, brings healing to the earth.

The love of God for creation s the Creator loves His creation, so creation loves the Creator. Creation, of course, was fashioned to be adorned, to be gifted with the love of the Creator, and the entire world has been embraced by this kiss.
Meditations

Earth as an all-encompassing vessel All that the earth issues forth... is connected and bound to God.... The earth is at the same time mother. She is mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all. The earth of humankind contains all moistness, all verdancy, all germinating power. It is in so many ways fruitful. All the other parts of creation come from it. Yet it forms not only the basic raw material for humankind, but also the substance of the incarnation of God's son.
Letters

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God gives creation to humanity The high and the low of all creation, God gives to humankind to use. If this privilege is misused, God's justice permits creation to punish humanity.
quoted in Elizabeth Roberts, Earth Prayers, Harper and Row, SF, 1991, pg. 69.

The effect of sin on the world I heard how the elements of the world cried out.... We cannot run anymore to finish the race as our Master wills it. People with their evil deeds reverse our course like a mill that turns everything upside down. We already reek like the pest and hunger for the fullness of justice.
Letters

The Holy Spirit moves creation Holy Spirit, giving life to all life, moving all creatures, root of all things, washing them clean, wiping out their mistakes, healing their wounds, you are our true life, luminous, wonderful, awakening the heart from its ancient sleep.
quoted in Stephen Mitchell, The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, Harper and Row, 1989, pg. 42

God's Word in creation is indivisible from God Without the Word of God, no creature has meaning. God's Word is in all creation, visible and invisible. The Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. The Word manifests in every creature. Now this is how the Spirit is in the flesh -- the Word is indivisible from God.
quoted in "The Episcopal Church in Communion with Creation: Toward a Theological Vision," Episcopal Church publication, New York, 1991, pg. 10.

The future of creation resides in our hearts The future of creation and of history is decided in the hearts of people willing to die to all idols as they follow Jesus Christ and open to the immediacy of the Holy Spirit who
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sets their hearts aflame... and who empowers their actions to sprout with "viriditas," (or "greening power," as Hildegard calls it).
"Letters," as quoted by Renate Craine, in "Hildegard of Bingen: A Sign for our Times," in Christian Ecology: Building an Environmental Ethic for the 21st Century, NACCE publications, San Francisco, 1988, pg. 25.

Creatures are sparks of Godʼs radiance All living creatures are, so to speak, sparks from the radiation of Godʼs brilliance, and these sparks emerge from God likes the rays of the sun.
The Book of Divine Works, quoted in Timothy Ware, “Through the Creation to the Creator,” paper at the Third Marco Pallis Memorial Lecture, London, October 9, 1996, p. 11.

Godʼs fiery life in creation The following words, Hildegard says, were dictated to her by the Holy Spirit: I, the highest and fiery power, have kindled every living spark, and I have breathed out nothing that can die.... I am the fiery life of the divine essence — the flame above the beauty of the fields; I shine in the waters; in the sun, the moon and the stars. I burn. And by means of the airy wind, I stir everything into quickness with certain invisible life which sustains all. For the air lives in its “green” power and its blossoming; the waters flow as if they were alive. Even the sun is alive in its own light. I, the fiery power, lie hidden in these things and they blaze from Me, just as m an is continually moved by his breath, and as the fire contains the nimble flame. All these things live in their own essence and are without death, since I am life.... I am the whole of life -- life was not torn from stones; it did not bud from branches; nor is it rooted in the generative power of the male. Rather, every living thing is rooted in Me.
The Book of Divine Works, quoted in Kallistos Ware, “Through the Creation to the Creator,” paper at the Third Marco Pallis Memorial Lecture, London, October 9, 1996, p. 11.

At one with God and creation I, the fiery life of divine essence, am aflame beyond the beauty of the meadows. I gleam in the waters, and I burn in the sun, moon and stars.... I awaken everything to life.
Hildegard. as quoted in Roger Gottlieb, The Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature and the Environment, Routledge Press, New York, 1996, p. 46 212

The visible and the temporal And again I heard the voice from heaven, saying to me: “The visible and the temporal is a manifestation of the invisible and the eternal.
Scivias, “The Universe and its Symbolism,” Book one, Vision three

Godʼs power made the world Hildegard sees a vision which she describes in these terms: “And the atmosphere suddenly rises up in a dark sphere of great magnitude.” With this image, she hears a voice from on high, saying, “This is the material of creation while still formless and imperfect, not yet full of creatures; it is a sphere, for it is under the incomprehensible power of God, which is never absent from it, and by the Supernal Will, it rises up in Godʼs great power in the twinkling of an eye.
Scivias, Book Two, Vision One: The Redeemer, #6

The Creator loves his creation As the Creator loves his creation, so creation loves the Creator. Creation was fashioned to be adorned, to be showered, to be gifted with the love of the Creator. The entire world has been embraced by this kiss. God has gifted creation with everything that is necessary.
Quoted in Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen, trans. by Gabriele Uhlein, Bear and Co., 1983, pg. 51

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Man is part of creation Of all the strengths of Godʼs creation, Manʼs is the most profound, made in a wondrous way with great glory from the dust of the earth, and so entangled with the strengths of the rest of creation that he can never be separated from them....
Scivias, Book One, Vision Three, #16

The visible is a manifestation of the invisible God, Who made all things by His will, created them so that His Name would be known and glorified, showing in them not just the things that are visible and temporal, but also the things that are invisible and eternal.
Scivias, Book One, Vision three, #1

All creation is good Do not denigrate anything God has created. All creation is simple, plain and good. And God is present throughout his creation. Why do you ever consider things beneath your notice? God's justice is to be found in every detail of what he has made. The human race alone is capable of injustice. Human beings alone are capable of disobeying God's laws, because they try to be wiser than God. ... The rest of Creation cries out against the evil and perversity of the human species. Other creatures fulfil the commandments of God; they honor his laws. And other creatures do not grumble and complain about those laws. But human beings rebel against those laws, defying them in word and action. And in doing so they inflict terrible cruelty on the rest of God's creation.
Scivias 1.2.29-30

A pattern of service in nature The plants give off the fragrance of their flowers. The precious stones reflect their brilliance to others. Every creature yearns for a loving embrace. The whole of nature serves humanity, and in this service offers all her bounty.
Quoted in Roger Gottlieb, This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment, Routledge Press, New York, 1996, p. 16

Signs of God in the world Hildegard urges all the faithful to “recognize all the divine wonders and symbols” that can be found in the world and to see them as signs of God. She writes:
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All living creatures are, so to speak, sparks from the radiation of Godʼs brilliance, and these sparks emerge from God like the rays of the sun.
Book of Divine Works, 4.11: 86-87

Godʼs justice fills creation Do not mock anything God has created. All creation is simple, plain and good. And God is present throughout his creation. Why do you ever consider things beneath your notice? God's justice is to be found in every detail of what he has made. The human race alone is capable of injustice. Human beings alone are capable of disobeying God's laws, because they try to be wiser than God. The rest of Creation cries out against the evil and perversity of the human species. Other creatures fulfil the commandments of God; they honor his laws. And other creatures do not grumble and complain at those laws. But human beings rebel against those laws, defying them in word and action. And in doing so they inflict terrible cruelty on the rest of God's creation.
Scivias 1.2.29

Honor God by honoring the earth The power of God is to be honored through the earth, since she preserves humankind in all its bodily needs.... All things having the form and life of terrestrial creatures shall have arisen from her [the earth], since even mankind, who is animated by reason and the spirit of understanding, is made from earth. For earth is the material of Godʼs work in mankind, who is the material of the humanity of the Son of God; since from earth that work was performed
Book of Lifeʼs Merits, 4:20-21, in Sabrina Flanagan, translator and editor, Secrets of God: Writings of Hildegard of Bingen, Shambhala books, London, 1996, p. 53.

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St. Aelred of Rievaulx (1110 - 1167)
An English Cistercian monk who was strongly influenced by the Irish missionaries and their Celtic tradition, Aelred became abbot of the monastery at Rievaulx at the age of 33. Under his holiness, example and leadership, Rievaulx became the largest monastery in twelfth century England with more than 650 monks. He is especially known for his sensitive spiritual direction and the gentle holiness which he radiated. Great throngs of people were attracted to hear him preach and teach. He was also known for his Celtic sense of nature as a theophany, for love of the animals, and for cultivating a strong emphasis on charity within the Cistercian Order.

God's goodness dwells in every creature If you were to look at every creature from the beginning of creation to the end of time, whether it were the most radiant angel or the tiniest worm, you would see in it signs of God's goodness and His overflowing love.
Mirror of Charity, Nr. 13

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St. Francis of Assisi (1182 - 1226)
The founder of the Franciscan Order, he exhorted his brothers to love of God, to love of holy poverty which frees the spirit, and to love of the Gospel before all other things. Because he sought Christ so fervently, he found Him in every person and every creature. He gave sermons in the woods and the birds flocked to him. He called all creatures “brother,” and he discerned the secrets of people and animals alike with his sensitive heart. He possessed an exceeding love which embraced and touched all creatures. Even the wild wolf of Gubbio which devoured the people was no match for his holiness and became tame in his presence. To Francis, the whole creation was alive and close to his heart. According to those who were closest to him, Francis was “wholly caught up in the love of God.” Thus he saw in every creature the goodness of God, which caused him to be possessed with an extraordinary love for created things, particularly those which as living symbols reminded him of God.” Every single thing to him was symbolic of something yet higher, and so all created things had sacred meaning beyond their physical appearance and even their intrinsic value. In the oldest accounts of Francis, the creatures were to him “a song of Godʼs love.” Francis' life is important because he demonstrates how praise of the natural world can lead upward to an ecstatic praise of the Lord, and culminate in a glorious and transforming vision of God. For Roman Catholics he is the patron saint of ecologists.   Love of creation When the brothers were out cutting wood, he would forbid them to cut down the whole tree so that it might grow up again. He also ordered the gardeners not to dig up the edges of the gardens so that wild flowers and green grasses could grow and glorify the Father of all things.... He picked up worms so they would not be trampled on and had honey and wine set out for the bees in the winter season. He called by the name of brother all animals....
Thomas Celano, Vita Prima, as quoted by Loren Wilkinson, Earthkeeping, Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1987

A loving attitude toward flowers and all nature When he found many flowers growing together, it might happen that he would speak to them and encourage them, as though they could understand, to praise the Lord. It was the same with the fields of corn and the vineyards, the stones of the earth and in the woods, all the beauteous meadows, the tinkling brooks, the sprouting gardens, earth, fire, air and wind -- all these he exhorted in his pure childlike spirit to love God and to serve Him joyfully. He was wont to call all things his brothers and sisters, and in a wonderful manner inaccessible to others he would enter into the secret things as one to whom "the glorious liberty of the children of God" had been given.
Thomas Celano, Vita Prima 80-81

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Instruction to the birds My little sisters, the birds, many are the bonds that unite us to God. And your duty is to praise Him everywhere and always.... Praise Him likewise for the food He provides you without your working for it, for the songs He has taught you, for the numbers that His blessing has multiplied, for your species which He preserved at the time of the Ark of olden time, and for the realm of the air which He has reserved for you. God sustains you without having to sow or reap. He gives you fountains and streams to drink from, mountains and hills in which to take refuge, and tall trees in which to build your nests. Although you do not know how to sew or spin, He gives you and your little ones the clothing you need. How the Creator must love you to grant you such favors! So, my sister birds, do not be ungrateful, but continually praise Him who showers blessings upon you.
Thomas Celano, Vita Prima, 56f

Our sister, the cricket Francis loved the creatures, but would not let attachments to them develop. When a small cricket came near the evening fire and began to chirp and amuse the brothers, it was kept to provide continuing entertainment. Francis however saw that the cricket could become a source for self-indulgence or pride, and after some days announced, Let us give our sister cricket leave to go now, for it has made us sufficiently happy. We do not want our flesh to glory vainly over things of this kind.
Thomas Celano, Vita Secunda, 171.

The creatures minister to human needs Francis taught that people have a duty to be grateful for the many services which creation provides toward our sustenance and to appreciate the beauty and benefits of the material world.

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These creatures minister to our needs every day: without them we could not live; and through them the human race greatly offends the Creator. Every day we fail to appreciate so great a blessing by not praising as we should the Creator and Dispenser of all these gifts.
The Legend of Perugia 43, as quoted by Roger Sorrell, St. Francis of Assisi and Nature, Oxford Univ. Press, 1988, pg. 35.

Dominion through Holy Obedience Holy obedience puts to shame all natural and selfish desires. It mortifies our lower nature and makes it obey the Holy Spirit and our fellow men. Obedience subjects a man to everyone on earth, and not only to men, but to all the beasts as well, and the wild animals, so that they can do what they like with him, as far as God allows them.
Salute to the Virtues, as quoted in Robert Murray, SJ, The Cosmic Covenant, Sheed and Ward, London, 1993, pg. 156.

A vision in the night In the middle of the night, Francis received a vision which informed him that he should "be glad and joyful in the midst of your infirmities and tribulations." He related to his companions, Therefore, for His glory, for my consolation, and the edification of my neighbor, I wish to compose a new 'Praises of the Lord' concerning His creatures. These creatures minister to our needs every day; without them we could not live; and through them the human race greatly offends the Creator. Every day we fail to appreciate so great a blessing by not praising as we should the Creator and Dispenser of all these gifts.
The Legend of Perugia 43, as quoted in Roger Sorrell, St. Francis of Assisi and Nature, Oxford Univ. Press, 1988, p. 119.

Plots of flowers St. Francis ordered a plot to be set aside for the cultivation of flowers when the convent garden was made, in order that all who saw them might remember the Eternal Sweetness.
Thomas of Celano, Life of St. Francis, in The Harper Religious and Inspirational Quotation Companion, pg. 456.

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Canticle of the Sun O Most High, Almighty, Good Lord God, to Thee belongs all praise, glory, honor and blessing! Praised be my Lord God with all His creatures; and especially our brother the sun, who brings us the day, and who brings us the light; fair is he, and shining with a very great splendor; O Lord, to us he signifies Thee! Praised be my Lord for our sister, the moon, and for the stars, the which He has set clear and lovely in the heavens. Praised be my Lord for our brother the wind, and for air and cloud, calms and all weather, by the which Thou upholdest in life all creatures. Praised be my Lord for our sister water, who is very serviceable unto us, and humble and precious and clean. Praised be my Lord for our brother fire, through whom Thou givest us light in the darkness, and he is bright, and pleasant and very mighty and strong. Praised be my Lord for our mother the earth, which doth sustain us and keep us, and bringeth forth divers fruits, and flowers of many colors, and grass. Praise be my Lord, for all those who pardon one another for His love's sake, and who endure, for Thou, O Most High, shalt give them a crown! Praised be my Lord for our sister, the death of the body, from whom no man escapeth. Woe to him who dieth in mortal sin! Blessed are they who are found walking by Thy most holy will, for the second death shall have no power to do them harm. Praise ye, and bless ye the Lord, and give thanks unto Him, and serve Him with great humility.
Canticle of the Sun

Sermons to the birds My brothers, birds, you should praise your Creator very much and always love Him; He gave you feathers to clothe you, wings so that you could fly, and whatever else was necessary for you. God made you noble among His creatures, and He gave you a home in the purity of the air; though you neither sow nor reap, he nevertheless protects and governs you without any solicitude on your part.
Vita Prima 58, Omnibus translation

The abundant blessing of God for my sisters, the birds My little bird sisters, you owe much to God, your Creator, and you must always and everywhere praise Him, because He has given you freedom to fly anywhere -- also He has given you a double and triple covering, and your pretty and colorful clothing, and your food is ready without your working for it, and your singing that was taught to you
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by the Creator, and your numbers that have been multiplied by the grace of God -- and because He preserved your species in Noahʼs ark so that your race would not disappear from the earth. And you are indebted to Him for the realm of the air which He assigned to you. Moreover, you neither sow nor reap, yet God nourishes you, and He gives you the rivers and springs to drink from. He gives you high mountains and hills, rocks and crags as refuges, and lofty trees in which to make your nests. So the Creator loves you very much since He gives you so m any good things. Therefore, my little bird sisters, be careful not to be ungrateful, but strive always to praise God.
Actus Fioretti 16

For the love of God and larks If I were to speak to the Emperor, I would, supplicating and persuading him, tell him for the love of God and me to make a special law that no man should take and kill sister Larks, nor do them any harm. Likewise, that all the Podestas of the towns, and the Lords of castles and villages, should be bound every year on Christmas day to compel men to throw wheat and other grains outside the cities and castles, that our sister Larks may have something to eat, and also the other birds, on a day of such solemnity. And... whoever shall have an Ox or an Ass shall be bound to provide for them on that night the best of good fodder. Likewise on that day, all poor men should be satisfied by the rich with good food.
Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 43

Human need for the creatures In discussing why he composed the “Canticle of the Creatures,” Francis says, “These creatures minister to our needs every day. Without them we could not live; and through them the human race greatly offends the Creator. Every day we fail to appreciate so great a blessing by not praising as we should the Creator and Dispenser of these gifts.”
“Legend of Perugia,” Nr. 43, as quoted in Roger Sorrell, St. Francis of Assisi and Nature, Oxford University Press, New York, 1988, p. 119.

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The creatures as teachers of obedience Try to realize the dignity which God has conferred on you. He created and formed your body in the image of His beloved Son, and you are made in His own likeness. And yet every creature under heaven serves and acknowledges and obeys its Creator in its own way better than you do.
Admonition 5

Treat the animals with kindness Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission – to be of service to them wherever they require it.
St. Francis of Assisi, in Saint Bonaventura, Life, as quoted in Ingrid Newkirk, Save the Animals, Time-Warner Book, New York, 1990, p. 33.

How obedience shapes our attitude toward creation Holy obedience puts to shame all natural and selfish desires.... Obedience subjects a man to everyone on earth, and not only to men, but all the beasts as well and to the wild animals, so that they can do what they like with him, as far as God allows them.
“Salute to the Virtues,” quoted in Roger Sorrell, St. Francis of Assisi and Nature, Oxford University Press, New York, 1988, p. 74.

A ladder to heaven through creation No human language could describe the passionate love with which Francis burned for Christ.... He sought to love God in everything. He delighted in all the works of Godʼs hands and from the vision of joy on earth his mind soared aloft to the life-giving Source and Cause of all. In everything beautiful he saw him who is beauty itself, and he followed his beloved everywhere by his likeness imprinted on creation; of all creation he made a ladder by which he might mount up and embrace Him who is all-desirable. He seemed to perceive a divine harmony in the interplay of powers and faculties given by God to his creatures.
Quoted about St. Francis by St. Bonaventure, Major Life, in Br. Ramon, SSF, The Wisdom of Saint Francis, Eerdman, Grand Rapids, 1997, p. 13

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Albert the Great (1193 - 1280)
A monk of the mendicant Dominican order, Albertus Magnus began his religious life journeying on foot from monastic cloister to cloister, praying and begging for food. His travels through rural areas inspired the beginnings of a natural theology. His work, "De Natura Locorum," represented the first elaborate discussion of geographical theory and its relationship to human culture since the time of Hippocrates. Albert said that every place differs in some manner from every other place. The basis for Albertʼs conclusions regarding places and nature was a detailed study and knowledge of the variety of locations and a detailed identification and examination of the factors which contribute to each placeʼs uniqueness, without which, he says, one cannot have a true natural science. Albert achieved a well-ordered system of thought on the effects of nature on human development. He showed how human settlements change the natural environment and improve upon it. He saw the finger of Providence in a designed earth; nature as a book revealing the artisanry of God; and the need to know nature for religious and practical purposes. Albert wrote numerous texts on chemistry, physiology, geography and astronomy. He was fascinated by human ability to domesticate and change plants, to work the soil, to cultivate fields and orchards with a variety of influences. For his pioneering work in horticulture and his acute observations of nature, he is considered the patron saint of students of the natural sciences. Creatures and the likeness of God No single creature can express in full manner the likeness of God: it cannot be equal to God. The presence of multiplicity and variety among created things was therefore necessary that a perfect likeness to God be found in them according to their manner of being.
Works, Book I, ch. 45.

Knowledge of nature as craft and art Although nature may appear imperfect, its study takes us into a realm worth knowing for its own sake and because it is useful knowledge. To learn through nature study is not only a pleasurable experience, it is also useful for life and the welfare of a country. Everything which is susceptible to change can be changed, for better or worse, through art and cultivation. Men can effect great changes in plants, converting them from the wild to the domestic state by manuring, working the soil, sowing and grafting.
About the Vegetables and Plants, Book 7:1:1

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The unfriendly features of the landscape Men are not helpless in the face of harsh or unfriendly features of nature. Often they can change it. Areas near or in the middle of a forest have stifling and dense air; in many of these places the air is cloudy and has whirlwinds. The floor of the forest is moist; the vapor, in contact with the trees, becomes confined and dense. For that reason the wise men of the past improved their localities by cutting down trees and woods. The walnut and the oak and some other trees are harmful because they either poison the air with their bitterness or confine it because of their height, thus preventing it from escaping and being purified, for they can be changed by human agency.
De Natura Locorum, Tr. II, chap. 4, as quoted by Clarence Glacken in Traces on the Rhodian Shore, Univ. of California Press, 1967, p. 303.

Natural disasters as the punishments of God This world, governed by the will of God, is made also for the punishment of evil men. We say however that God does this by natural causes whose prime mover, God himself, is able to give movement to everything else. Moreover, we do not ask concerning the causes of his willing, but concerning natural causes which are like instruments effecting his wishes in such matters.
De causis proprietatum elementorum liber primus Tr. 2, Caput 9

Why creatures help us to know God Creatures do not obviously interfere with our seeing of God. Nothing is at the same time both a support and an obstacle, and creatures, carrying in themselves as they do the trace and image of God, help us toward the knowledge of God.
Commentary on Dionysiusʼ Mystical Theology, Ch.2, 2:1, in Albert and Thomas: Selected Writings, The Classics of Western Spirituality, translated by Simon Tugwell, OP, Paulist Press, New York, 1988, pg. 173.

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Two ways of considering the creatures There are two different ways of considering a creature. If we take it precisely under the rubric of “trace of God,” leading us to God, then it helps us to know God qua cause; but if we take creatures precisely as what comes forth from God with all the variety that means in terms of essence, species, genus and principle – like being, which is common to substance and to accidents – then in this way they do interfere with our knowledge of God in his own nature, and it is that kind of knowledge which Dionysius calls “pure vision,” because it is without reference to the effects caused by God.
Commentary on Dionysiusʼ Mystical Theology, Ch.2, 2:1, in Albert and Thomas: Selected Writings, The Classics of Western Spirituality series, translated by Simon Tugwell, OP, Paulist Press, New York, 1988, pg. 174.

Parallel between the divine plan and the ideal civil plan In comparing civil authority with divine authority, Albert says that the founder or ruler of any city or kingdom or other social unit must take for a model the example of Godʼs creation of the world. In this “model” each ruler, in fact every person, can see Godʼs instruction in the way created things are brought forth, and in “the orderly distinction of the parts of the world.” He says we notice many distinctions in the forms of creation, from stars in the heavens, birds of the air, fish in the water, animals on land. “We notice further that, for each species, things it needs are abundantly provided by the Divine Power. “ ”Therefore the founder of a city or kingdom must first choose a suitable place which will preserve the inhabitants by its healthfulness, provide the necessities of life by its fruitfulness, please them with its beauty, and render them safe from their enemies by its natural protection.”
“On Kingship: Letter to the King of Cyprus,” pp. 99-100, as quoted in Clarence Glacken, Traces on the Rhodian Shore, pp. 174-175.

The aim of the natural sciences The aim of the natural sciences is not simply to accept the narrations of others, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature.
De Mineralis, Book II, 2:1 227

Learning the lessons of nature In studying nature, we do not have to inquire how God the Creator may, as He freely wills, use His creatures, to work miracles and thereby show forth His power. Rather we have to inquire what Nature with its immanent causes can naturally bring to pass.
De Coelo et Mundo, Book 1, 4:10

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Mechthild of Magdeberg, (1210 - 1297)
Mechtild was a celebrated medieval mystic and nun who lived in Saxony. Under the spiritual guidance of the Dominicans she led a life of prayer and possessed a remarkable gift for heavenly inspiration through ecstatic visions. Because she was uneducated and considered theologically illiterate, she was advised to keep silent about her spiritual experiences. After much prayer and soul-searching, and after direction from her spiritual confessor, she wrote, “I am forced to write these words regarding which I would have gladly kept silent because I fear greatly the power of vainglory. But I have learned to fear more the judgment of God should I, God's small creature, keep silent.” She helped cultivate a mystical milieu in Germany during the middle ages. Like others before her, she affirms a vision of Christʼs presence in every animal, every person and every detail of the good creation.

Each creature must live in its own nature A fish cannot drown in water, a bird does not fall in air. In the fire of creation, gold does not vanish: the fire brightens, and each creature God made must live in its own true nature. How could I resist my nature, that lives for oneness with God?
The Flowing Light of the Godhead, as quoted in The Quotable Spirit, Macmillan Press, NY, 1996, p. 189

A vision of God in all things The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw, and knew I saw, all things in God and God in all things.
Quoted in Michael Tobias, The Soul of Nature, “Creation Spirituality,” Continuum Books, 1994, p. 213.

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St. Bonaventure (1217 - 1274)
Known as the "Seraphic Doctor," Bonaventure consciously tried to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis. He taught himself theology through prayer and study of Holy Scripture. He authored texts on the mystical life, and cultivated a love for the virtues. When the Franciscan friars were torn by dissension and almost disbanded, Bonaventure was elected minister general. Through his keen spiritual insight, he brought about a renewed observance of the rule of St. Francis when it seemed the order might dissolve. For this and his work to establish a spiritual standard, he has been called the second founder of the Franciscans. To Bonaventure, everything in nature is a sign of God. Following earlier writings by Augustine, he maintains that each creature is important because in it dwell “traces of the Trinity.” Because the creatures reflect something of God, they are embodiments of Godʼs wisdom and so are worthy of respect. In Bonaventureʼs universe, the least of creatures serves as a translucent, living token, or symbol, of the presence of God. His contribution to a theology of creation is his emphasis that everything in nature is a sign of God because it exemplifies some aspect or quality of the Divine Nature. Every creature is thus important because it carries vestiges of God's own nature.

Perceiving the divine in creation He, therefore, who is not illumined by such great splendor of created things, is blind; he who is not awakened by such great clamor is deaf; he who does not praise God because of all these effects is dumb; he who does not note the first principle from such great signs is foolish. Open your eyes, therefore, prick up your spiritual ears, open your lips and apply your heart, that you may see, hear, praise, love and worship, glorify and honor your God.
The Mind's Road to God 1:15

The creatures help us to see God We can gather that all the creatures of the world lead the mind of the contemplative and wise man to the eternal God. For these creatures are shadows, echoes and pictures... and vestiges proposed to us and signs divinely given so that we can see God.
The Mind's Road to God 2:11

The power and greatness of God is demonstrated in creation The greatness of things – looking at their vast extension, latitude and profundity, at the immense power extending itself in the diffusion of light, and the efficiency of their inner uninterrupted and diffuse operation, as manifest in the action of fire – clearly
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portrays the immensity of the power, wisdom and goodness of the Triune Good. Who, uncircumscribed, exists in all things by His power, presence and essence.... The beauty of things too, if we but consider the diversity of light, forms, and colors in elementary, inorganic and organic bodies, as in heavenly bodies and minerals, in stones and metals, and in plants and animals, clearly proclaims these three attributes of God. Insofar as matter is full of forms because of the seminal principles, and form is latent with power because of its active potentialities, while power is capable of many effects because of its efficiency, the plentitude of things clearly proclaims the same three attributes. In a like manner, manifold activity, whether natural, cultural, or moral, by its multiple variety, shows forth the immensity of that power, art and goodness.
The Mind's Road to God 3

Creation reflects the secrets of the Creator Throughout the entire creation, the manifest wisdom of God shines forth from Him and in Him, as in a mirror containing the beauty of all forms and lights and as in a book in which all things are written according to the deep secrets of God. O, if only I could find this book whose origin is eternal, whose essence is incorruptible, whose knowledge is life, whose script is indelible, whose study is desirable, whose teaching is easy, whose knowledge is sweet, whose depth is inscrutable, whose words are ineffable, yet all are a single Word! Truly, whoever finds this book will find life and will draw salvation from the Lord.
Tree of Life 12:46

The different attributes of the creatures Just as you see that a ray of light entering through a window is colored in different ways according to the different colors..., so the divine ray shines forth in each and every creature in different ways and in different properties....
The Soul's Journey to God, 26

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About St. Francis' view of animals (Francis) considered all created beings as coming from the paternal heart of God, this community of origin made him feel a real fraternity with them all. He said, "They have the same source as we have had. Not to hurt our humble brethren was our first duty to them; but to stop there is a complete misapprehension of the intentions of Providence. We have a higher mission. God wishes that we should succor them whenever they require it."
Brochure from the National Catholic Society for Animal Welfare, New York, 1959, quoted by Lewis Regenstein, Replenish the Earth, Crossroads Books, New York, 1990, pg. 67.

Acquiring a love for creatures If you ask what is the virtue which makes a person love creatures, because they come from God and exist for him. I reply that it is compassion and a sort of natural affection. For example, we see that even now a person can be very fond of a dog because it obeys him faithfully. In the same way, man in his original state had a natural inclination to love animals and even irrational creatures. Therefore, the greater the progress a man makes and the nearer he approaches to the state of innocence the more docile these creatures become towards him, and the greater the affection he feels for them. We see this in the case of St. Francis; he overflowed with tender compassion even for animals, because to some extent he had returned to the state of innocence. This was made clear by the way irrational creatures obeyed him.
Sentences, translated by Habig, pg. 849, as quoted by Roger Sorrell, St. Francis of Assisi and Nature, Oxford Univ. Press, New York, 1988, pg. 52-53.

Creatures as reflections of eternal wisdom Thirty-three years after the death of St. Francis, Bonaventure climbed Mt. Alverna where Francis had some of his most important experiences. There he fasted and prayed and meditated on how the mind ascends to experiences of God. A series of visions unfolded before him. From these direct experiences, he saw that all of the creatures of the world lead the mind to a contemplation of God, because, he says, they are “shadows, echoes, and pictures, the traces, “simulacra,” and the reflections of the First Principle most powerful, wisest, and best; of that light and plenitude; of that art productive, exemplifying, and ordering, given to use for looking upon God.” They are the exemplifications “set before our yet untrained eyes and minds” to guide them to the intelligences that they do not see. Every creature is a sort of picture, a likeness of eternal wisdom. “Those who are unwilling to give heed to them and to know in them all, to bless Him and to live in Him, are inexcusable while they are unwilling to be carried forth from the dim shadows of this world into the wonderful light of God.”
The Mindʼs Road to God, ch. 2, 11-13

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The universe as a ladder The universe of things is a grand ladder whereby we may ascend to God, since among these things are Godʼs footprints, some of which are Godʼs image, some are material, some are spiritual, some are temporal, and some are eternal; thus some are outside of us, and some within.
The Mindʼs Road to God, 1:2

Three methods for finding God in creation Whoever is anxious to ascend to God must first eliminate nature-deforming sins, and then train the mind by prayer, to receive reforming grace; by a good life, to receive purifying righteousness; by contemplation, to receive perfecting wisdom. And no one can receive wisdom except through grace, righteousness and knowledge. Likewise, no one can achieve contemplation except through penetrating meditation, a holy life and devout prayer. By the first method, man considers things in themselves, and sees in them weight, number and measure, and so determine their composition. Thus, man sees in them mode, species and order, as well as substance, power and operation. From these, as from so many traces, he can rise to the understanding of the immeasurable power, wisdom and goodness of the Creator. By the second method, man considers the world in its origin, development and end. By faith we understand that the world was fashioned by the Word of God. By faith we believe that three phases of law succeeded each other and ran their course in perfect order: the law of nature, the law of Scripture, and the law of grace. Thus are displayed, first the power, then the providence, lastly the justice of the Supreme Principle. By the third method, that of investigation by reason, man sees that some things possess existence only, others possess existence and life, others again, existence, life and reason. The first things he sees to be lower, the second to be intermediate, and the third to be higher. He also sees that some things are only material; others partly material and partly spiritual; from which he concludes that others still are purely spiritual.... From these things, which are subject to perception, man rises to the consideration of divine power, wisdom and goodness as something existent, alive, intelligent, purely spiritual, incorruptible and immutable.

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This reasoning may be developed in accordance with the sevenfold characteristics of creatures, which are a sevenfold testimony to the power, wisdom and goodness of God: that is, by considering the origin, vastness, multitude, beauty, fullness, operation, and order of all things.
“Journey of the Mind to God,” 1:8-14, in Bonaventure, Mystical Opuscula, Volume I, Complete Works of St. Bonaventure, translated by José de Vinck, St. Anthony Guild Press, Patterson, NJ, 1960, pp. 12-15.

Traces of the Creator dwell in creatures The creature is an effect of the creating Trinity in virtue of a triple causality: efficient, through which creatures are given unity, mode and measure; exemplary, through which they are given truth, species, and number; and final, through which they are given goodness, order and weight. These, as traces of the Creator, are present in all creatures, whether material or spiritual or composites of both.
“On Creation,” ch. 1, Nr. 2, Bonaventure, The Breviloquium, The Complete Works of St. Bonaventure, Volume II, translated from Latin by José de Vinck, Louvain University, St. Anthony Guild Press, Patterson, NJ, 1963, p. 70.

The meaning of creation out of nothing Creation out of nothing implies, on the part of the creature, a state of being subsequent upon a state of non-being, and, on the part of the Principle, a boundless productive power, which is found in God alone. Necessarily then the universe must be created in time by this same boundless power acting in itself and without intermediary.
“On Creation,” ch. 1, Nr. 3, The Breviloquium, The Complete Works of St. Bonaventure, Vol. II, translated by José de Vinck, St. Anthony Guild Press, Patterson, NJ, 1963, p. 71.

The universe as a book The universe is like a book reflecting, representing and describing its Maker, the Trinity, at three different levels of expression: as a trace, an image and a likeness. The aspect of trace is found in every creature; the aspect of image, in the intellectual creatures or rational spirits; the aspect of likeness, only in those who are Godconformed. Through these three successive levels, comparable to the rungs of a ladder, the human mind is designed to ascend gradually to the supreme Principle who is God. This should be understood as follows. All creatures are related to their Creator and depend upon Him. They may be referred to Him in three different ways: as He is
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the Principle who creates, the End who motivates, or the Gift who dwells within.... All creatures, however little they may partake of being, have God for their Principle; all rational beings, however little they may partake of light, are intended to grasp God through knowledge and love; and all righteous and holy souls possess the Holy Spirit as an infused gift.
“On the Trinity of God,” ch. 12, Nrs. 1-2, in The Breviloquium, Vol. II in The Complete Works of St. Bonaventure, translated by José de Vinck, Saint Anthony Guild Press, Patterson, NJ, 1963, p. 104

Francis: Loving God through creation Francis sought occasion to love God in everything. He delighted in all the works of God's hands and from the vision of joy on earth his mind soared aloft to the life-giving source and cause of all. In everything beautiful, he saw Him who is beauty itself, and he followed his Beloved everywhere by his likeness imprinted on creation. Of all creation he made a ladder by which he might mount up and embrace him who is alldesirable. By the power of his extraordinary faith he tasted the Goodness which is the source of all in each and every created thing, as in so many rivulets. He seemed to perceive a divine harmony in the interplay of powers and faculties given by God to his creatures, and like the prophet David he exhorted them all to praise God. ... His attitude towards creation was simple and direct, as simple as the gaze of a dove; as he considered the universe, in his pure, spiritual vision, he referred every created thing to the Creator of all. He saw God in everything, and loved and praised him in all creation. By God's generosity and goodness, he possessed God in everything and everything in God. The realization that everything comes from the same source made him call all created things -- no matter how insignificant -- his brothers and sisters, because they had the same origins as he.
Major Life of St. Francis, website of the Discalced Carmelites of Washington, DC.

The world as a great mirror It appears that the entire world is like a single mirror, full of lights that stand in the presence of the divine Wisdom, shedding light like burning coals.
The Six Days of Creation, 2:27

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274)
A Dominican friar and theologian, St. Thomas was educated as a youth in the monastery at Monte Cassino. From there he went on to study and teach at numerous universities in Italy and France. He was called "the dumb ox" by his early classmates, but his mentor, St. Albert the Great, prophesied that this ox's "lowing" would be heard all over the world. His contributions lie in the use of Aristotle's method of principled reasoning to access numerous topics which led to his authorship of the voluminous "Summa Theologica." This encyclopedic work attempts a comprehensive statement of Christian belief. Ecologically, Thomas is the first person to come close to the modern concept of balance and harmony
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in nature. He joins perception of order and harmony with appreciation of the beauty in creation to produce a natural theology. His "Summa Contra Gentiles" is the most important discussion of natural theology from the Middle Ages. Here he develops two lines of thought: First, evidence from the design of the natural world can supplement the Word of God in teaching about the Creator, and, second, the appearance of evil in nature, which had been a confusing theme because of the implications of the Fall and the inferiority of the created world to the Kingdom of God, are part of a constant effort to show the goodness and beauty of God and all creation. To Thomas creation is so crucial that he says that any error in understanding creation leads to an error about God.

Human care for the creatures It is God's way to care for all His creatures, both the greatest and the least. We should likewise care for creatures, whatsoever they are, in the sense that we use them in conformity with the divine purpose, in order that they may not bear witness against us in the Day of Judgement.
De Moribus divinus: de cura Dei de creaturis

Creatures and the likeness of God No one species can attain to the likeness of God, says St. Thomas. Neither can any single creature express the full likeness of God because it cannot be equal to God. “The presence of multiplicity and variety among created things was therefore necessary in order that a perfect likeness to God be found in them according to their manner of being.”
Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 1, ch. 45, par. 2, transl. by Anton Pegis, Image Books, Garden City, NY, 1955

God's art is to endure The words, "God saw that it was good...," signify that the things that he had made were to endure, since they express a certain satisfaction taken by God in his works, as an artist in his art.
Summa Theologica 1:73

Why God dwells in all things We are not to suppose that the existence of things is caused by God in the same way as the existence of a house is caused by its builder. When the builder departs, the house still remains standing.... But God is, directly, by Himself, the cause of the very existence, and communicates existence to all things just as the sun communicates
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light to the air and to whatever else is illuminated by the sun. The continuous shining of the sun is required for the preservation of light in the air; similarly God must confer existence on all things if they are to persevere in existence.... Therefore, God must be in all things.
Compendium of Theology 130

The nature of animals is not changed by man's sin For the nature of animals was not changed by man's sin, as if those whose nature it now is to devour the flesh of others, would have lived on herbs, as the lion and the falcon.
Summa Theologica 1:96

The diversity of creation participates in the divine goodness For He produced things into being in order that His goodness might be communicated to them; and because His goodness could not be adequately represented by one creature alone, he produced many and diverse creatures, that what was wanting in one representation of the Divine Goodness might be supplied by another. For goodness, which in God is simple and uniform, in creatures is manifold and divided; and hence the whole universe together participates in the Divine Goodness more perfectly, and represents it better than any single creature whatever.
Summa Theologica 1:47

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The purpose of creation's diversity Despite characteristics that produce conflict (the lion cannot be blamed for having characteristics harmful to the lamb) there is an order in their manner of living. In nature no one species, left to itself, will multiply to the point of dominance. The diversity and inequality of the creation are necessary for order, which means the orderly working together of many creatures differing among themselves in gradation of intellect, in form and in species. The diversity and inequality in created things are not the result of chance, not of a diversity of matter, nor of the intervention of certain causes or merits, but of the intention of God Himself, who wills to give the creature such perfection as it is possible for it to have.
Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 2, ch. 23-24, 45

The reason for so many different kinds of creatures Because God in His goodness could not adequately be represented by one creature alone, he produced many and diverse creatures, that what was wanting to one representation of the Divine Goodness might be supplied by another. For goodness, which in God is simple and uniform, in creatures is manifold and divided; and hence the whole universe together participates in the Divine goodness more perfectly, and manifests it better than any single creature whatever.
Summa Theologica 1:47 in "The Episcopal Church in Communion with Creation: Toward A Theological Vision," 1991, pg. 10.

A proof of God from creation Thomas lists and discusses five proofs for the existence of God. The fifth derives from evidence about the governance of the world. The order and regularity in the behavior of natural bodies presuppose the direction of a being with knowledge and intelligence "just as the arrow is shot to its mark by an archer." There is thus an intelligent being directing all natural things to their end, "and this being we call God."
Summa Theologica, Part. 1, Q. 2, Art. 3

The multiplicity of forms in creation God is the most perfect agent. It was His prerogative to introduce His likeness into created beings most perfectly, to a degree consonant with the nature of created being. No one species can attain to the likeness of God. No single creature can express in full manner the likeness of God; it cannot be equal to God. The presence of multiplicity and variety among created things was therefore necessary that a perfect likeness to God be found in them according to their manner of being.
Summa Contra Gentiles, Book 1, ch. 45, 240

para. 2.

The universe represents the divine goodness The whole universe together participates in the divine goodness more perfectly, and represents it better than any single creature whatever.
Summa Theologica 1 q. 47, art. 1

Ownership of possessions It is lawful for man to own things. It is even necessary for human life... but man ought not to regard external goods as his own, but as common so that, in fact, a person should readily share them when he sees others in need.
Quoted by Pope Leo XIII in the Encyclical “Rerum Novarum,” and quoted by William F. Drummond, SJ, Social Justice, The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, 1955, p. 60

Caring for creatures It is Godʼs custom to care for all of His creatures, both the greatest and the least. We should likewise care for the creatures, whatsoever they are, in the sense that we use them in conformity with the divine purpose, in order that they may not bear witness against us in the Day of Judgement.
Summa Theologica, in Ambrose Aguis, “Godʼs Animals,” Catholic Study Guide for Animal Welfare, London, 1970, p. 10

Errors about creation distort theology Any error about creation also leads to an error about God.
Summa Contra Gentiles, II.3

Compassion for animals leads to compassion for people It is evident that if a man practices a compassionate affection for animals, he is all the more disposed to feel compassion for his fellow men.
quoted in Dayton Foster, The Wisdom of Nature, Naturegraph, 1993, pg. 92

God is beyond the created order
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Since God is beyond the whole order of creation and since all creatures are ordained to Him and not conversely, it is manifest that creatures are really related to God himself.
Contra Gentiles, Lib. 2

The universe participates in the divine goodness The whole universe together participates in the divine goodness more perfectly, and represents it better than any single creature whatever.
Summa Theologica 1 q. 47, art. 1

Rational for a utilitarian view of creatures An essential character of creation, in Aquinasʼ view, is the hierarchical nature of the cosmos. Lower, and therefore less spiritual, creatures mirror the divine plan by always serving those creatures which are higher. Therefore the lion may rightly eat the antelope and the eagle the mouse. As we observe... imperfect beings serve the needs of the more noble beings; plants draw their nutriment from the earth, animals feed on plants, and these in turn serve manʼs use. We conclude, then, that lifeless beings exist for living beings, plants for animals, and the latter for man.... The whole of material nature exists for man, inasmuch as he is a rational animal.
Quoted in Paul Santmire, The Travail of Nature, Fortress Press, p. 91

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All things are made for man We believe all things to have been made for manʼs sake, wherefore all things are stated to be subject to him. Now they serve man in two ways, first as sustenance of his bodily life, and secondly, as helping him to know God, inasmuch as man sees the invisible things of God by the things that are made.
Quoted in Paul Santmire, The Travail of Nature, Fortress Press, p. 92

Time and the universe Time itself is contained within the universe, and therefore when we speak about creation, we should not inquire at what time it happened.... Creation precisely states a principle of origin, but not necessarily a principle of duration.... God is before the world in duration, yet the word “before” does not mean a priority of time, but of eternity perhaps, if you like, an endlessness of imaginary time.
De Potentia, III, 17, 14, 8

Two sacred texts Sacred writings are bound into two volumes: that of creation and that of Holy Scripture.
Quoted in Rev. Carla Berkdahl, Earth Letter, “Dreaming of Green Parishes,” Sept., 1998, p. 1

Perspective on the landscape of the universe To know the universal essence of things is to reach a point of view from which the whole of being and all existing things become visible; and at the same time the spiritual outpost so reached enables man to look at the landscape of the universe.
Quoted in Sigurd Olson, “The Spiritual Need,” Ninth Biennial Wilderness Conference, San Francisco Hilton, April 2-3, 1965, reprinted in Wilderness in a Changing World, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1966, p. 216

Meister Eckhart (1260 - 1327)
One of the most mystical and philosophical of all the Christian mystics, Meister Eckhart was a fountain of inspiration for medieval spirituality. He was a Dominican monk, a forceful writer and an eloquent preacher. Whenever he preached publicly, the churches
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could not hold the great throngs that gathered to hear him. His labors revitalized Christian devotion and spiritual striving in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and his sermons remain popular as guides to the deeper dimensions of Christian life. His writings lead into a world where logical argument alone becomes inadequate, and where we encounter the mystery of the divine which lies beyond rational thinking. He has an ability to embrace complex ideas about creation and to state their meaning succinctly while placing them into the larger context of faith. In expressing the Christian theology of creation, he uses this ability to articulate lofty concepts in simple words. He describes methods for learning natureʼs secrets, requirements for entering into a mystical perception of Christ in creation, conditions for breaking into experiences that take one beyond spacial and temporal confines, and he engages the panorama of themes which frame the spiritual life as a relentless journey to Jesus Christ. For these things and more, he is often called the "Father of German Mystical Thought." An attitude toward the world which helps to know God Do not be concerned about the style of your food and clothing, thus laying too much stress on them, but rather accustom your heart andmind to be exalted about such things, so that nothing may move you to pleasure or to love except God alone.
Sermons

God's "seed" presence in man The seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent farmer and a diligent fieldhand, it will thrive and grow up to God whose seed it is and, accordingly, its fruit will be Godnature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees; nut seeds into nut trees, and God-seed into God.
Sermons

Sermons in creatures Anyone who truly knows creatures may be excused from listening to sermons for every creature is full of God, and is a book.
Sermons

Creatures and creation Every creature is on its way to the highest perfection. In each there is movement from mortality toward Being.... Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, secretly nature seeks, hunts, tries to ferret out the track on which God may be found.
Sermons

To penetrate nature's secrets
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The shell must be cracked if what is in it is to come out, for if you want the kernel, you must break the shell. And similarly, if you want to discover nature's nakedness, you must penetrate its outer forms, and the farther in you get, the nearer you come to its essence.
Sermons

Every creature is a word of God Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things. Every creature is full of God and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God. If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature – even a caterpillar – I would never have to prepare a sermon. So full of God is every creature.
Sermons

An inner and outer perception of creatures To my outer man, creatures taste like creatures, as do wine, bread and meat. To my inner man, however, they taste like gifts of God rather than creatures, and to my inmost being they are not even like gifts of God, but rather are timeless.... Every time the powers of the soul come into contact with created things, they receive the created images and likenesses from the created thing and absorb them. In this way arises the soul's knowledge of created things. Created things cannot come nearer to the soul than this, and the soul can only approach created things by the voluntary reception of images. And it is through the presence of the image that the soul approaches the created world: for the image is a thing which the soul creates with her own powers. Does the soul want to know the nature of a stone, a horse, a man? She forms an image.
quoted in The Luminous Vision, Anne Bancroft, Unwin Paperbacks, 1982, pg. 137-138

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Knowledge of God through creatures All that a man has here externally in multiplicity is intrinsically One. Here all blades of grass, wood and stone, all things are One. This is at their deepest depth.... If the soul knows God in creatures, night falls. If it sees how they have their being in God, Morning breaks. But if it sees the Being that is in God himself alone, it is high noon! See! This is what one ought to desire with mad fervor, that all his life should become Being.
quoted in The Luminous Vision, Anne Bancroft, Unwin Paperbacks, 1982, pg. 143

The journey to spirituality Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, nor by running away from things, nor by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.
Quoted in Meditations with Meister Eckhart, Bear and Co., Santa Fe, NM 1982.

Beyond time As long as one clings to time, space, number and quantity, that person is on the wrong track and God is strange and far away.... Those who relinquish their own wills completely will like what I teach and understand what I say. O ne authority has it that creatures receive their being directly from God, and that is why, in their true essence, creatures love God more than they love themselves.
Sermon #25, “Get Beyond Time”

Possessions and experience of God As the soul becomes more pure and bare and poor, and possesses less of created things, and is emptied of all things that are not God, it receives God more purely, and is more completely in Him; and it truly becomes one with God, and it looks into God, and God into it, face to face as it were; two images transformed into one. Some simple folk think that they will see God as if He were standing there and they here. It is not so. God and I, we are one.
Meditations with Meister Eckhart, as quoted in The Quotable Spirit, Macmillan Press, New York, 1996, p. 234.

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Criteria for knowing God in nature Every creature is full of God and is a book, but he who wishes to attain to what I speak of must be like a morning star, always in the presence of God, always near Him, a constant distance from Him, exalted above earthly things; with the Word, like a byword; like an angel among men and creatures.
Sermon Nr. 26, “Like a Morning Star, God Shines”

Creation is only loaned to humanity All gifts of nature and grace have been given to us on loan. Their ownership is not ours, but always Godʼs.
Meister Eckhart, quoted in “Wilderness: A Gift on Loan,” in a Wilderness Society pamphlet, 1996, p. 1

To discover natureʼs essence If you want to discover natureʼs nakedness, you must destroy its symbols (i.e., your identification with its outer forms), and the farther in you get, the nearer you come to its essence.
Unnumbered Sermon

Where is God? God is closer to me than I am to myself: my being depends on Godʼs being near me and present to me. So He is also in a stone or a log of wood, only they do not know.... So man is more blessed than a stone or a piece of wood because he is aware of God and knows how close God is to him. And I am more blessed, the more I realize this.
Sermon 69, in Michael OʼConnor Walshe, Meister Eckhart: Sermons and Treatises, Element Books, Shaftesbury, UK, 1987, p. 165

How nature searches for unity

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Here is the unity of blades of grass and bits of wood and stone, together with everything else... All that nature tries to do is to plunge into that unity, into the Fathernature, so that it may all be one, the one Son.
Sermons, 11

The interdependence of creatures One creature sustains another, one enriches the other, and that is why all creatures are interdependent.
Quoted in “A World in Travail,” Healing the Earth: An Australian Christian Reflection on the Renewal of Creation, Publication of the Uniting Church in Australia, 1990, p. 8.

All things are in God If we understand that all things are in God, we understand by this that, just as he is without distinction in his nature yet absolutely distinct from all things, so all things are in him in the greatest distinction and yet not distinct, because man is God in God.
Latin Sermon IV,1

When God is present in everything Only he to whom God is present in every thing and who employs his reason in the highest degree and has enjoyment in it knows anything of true peace and has a real kingdom of heaven.
Sermons, in The Quotable Spirit, Macmillan Press, Inc., New York, NY, 1996, p. 223

To know God You cannot know God by means of any creature science, nor by any means which relies upon your own wisdom.... If you are to know God in His divinity, your own knowledge must become as pure ignorance, in which you forget yourself and every other creature.
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Purpose for the World If the soul could have known God without the world, the world wound never have been created.
Quoted in The Soul of the World: A Modern Book of Hours, Harper & Row, Inc., San Francisco, 1993

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St. Gregory of Sinai (1282 - 1360)
Gregory of Sinai was a monk who was given vows on Mt. Sinai, which is how he acquired his surname. He traveled to many monasteries to learn the arts of contemplation, silence and ceaseless prayer. He found that while the monks generally led pure lives, the ancient Christian contemplative practices had been lost in many places. Just as St. Paul, who visited Paradise in a divine vision, St. Gregory gives us a perspective from actually having experienced some of these heavenly verities. He is known as a teacher of ceaseless mental prayer and wrote extensively on topics such as guarding the mind, maintaining true silence, achieving contemplation and avoiding delusions. He founded several monasteries in Macedonia and his instructions brought thousands to salvation. His cosmological vision has deep ecological relevance because he shows how the spiritual and physical worlds interconnect and because he provides instruction on how to find experience of the heavenly kingdom. His writings are still studied by those who desire to attain deeper spiritual wisdom and developed contemplative skills. His life has been described in detail by Patriarch Callistus, the Patriarch of Constantinople, who was his student. A right view of created things A right view of created things depends upon a truly spiritual knowledge of visible and invisible realities. Visible realities are objects perceived by the senses, while invisible realities are noetic, intelligent, intelligible and divine.
Text Nr. 25, in “One Hundred and Thirty Seven texts,” Philokalia, Vol. IV, p. 217

How the true philosopher views creation A true philosopher is one who perceives in created things their spiritual Cause, or who knows created things through knowing their Cause, having attained a union with God that transcends the intellect and a direct unmediated faith. He does not simply learn about divine things, but actually experiences them. Or again, a true philosopher is one whose intellect is conversant equally with ascetic practice and contemplative wisdom. Thus, the perfect philosopher or lover of wisdom is one whose intellect has attained — alike on the moral, natural and theological levels — love of wisdom or, rather, love of God.
Text Nr. 127, in “One Hundred and Thirty Seven texts,” Philokalia, Vol. IV, p. 245

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A description of paradise Eden is a place in which there was planted by God every kind of fragrant plant. It is neither completely incorruptible, nor entirely corruptible. Placed between corruption and incorruption, it is always both abundant in fruits and blossoming with flowers, both mature and immature. The mature trees and fruits are converted into fragrant earth which does not give off any odor of corruption, as do the trees of this world. This is from the abundance of the grace of sanctification which is constantly poured forth there.
Commandments and Dogmas, No. 10, Little Russian Philokalia

In the renewal of man is the renewal of creation For by renewing man and sanctifying him, even though in this transient life, he bears a corruptible body, God also renewed creation, although creation is not yet freed from the process of corruption. This deliverance from corruption is said by some to be a translation to a better state; by others to require a complete transmutation of everything sensory. Scripture generally makes simple and straightforward statements about matters that are still obscure.
On Commandments and Doctrines, Nr. 11, as quoted in Philip Sherrard, editor and translator, The Philokalia, Vol. 4, Faber and Faber, 1995, p. 214.

The laws of creation apply to earth and the human body The laws of creation are the qualities investing wholes compounded of energized parts — qualities also known as generic differences, since they invest many diferent composites constituted from identical properties. Or again, the natural law is the potential power to energize inherent in each species and in each part. As God does with respect to the whole of creation, so does the soul with respect to the body: it energizes and impels each member of the body in accordance with the energy intrinsic to that member.
On Commandments and Doctrines, Nr. 81, in Philip Sherrard, editor and translator, The Philokalia, Vol. 4, Faber & Faber, 1995, p. 227

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Man as a second world Man is like another or second world — a new world, as he is called by St. Paul when he states, “Whoever is in Christ is a new creature (II Corinthians 5:17). For through virtue man becomes a heaven and an earth and everything that a world is.
On Commandments and Doctrines, Nr. 122, as quoted in Philip Sherrard, editor and translator, The Philokalia, Vol. IV, Faber and Faber, 1995, p. 242.

Finding divine wisdom in creation If your speech is full of wisdom and you meditate on understanding in your heart (cf. Psalm 49:3), you will discover in created things the presence of the divine Logos, the substantive Wisdom of God the Father (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:24); for in created things you will perceive the outward expression of the archetypes that characterize them, and thus through your active living intelligence, you will speak wisdom that derives from the Divine Wisdom.
On Commandments and Doctrines, Nr. 134, as quoted in Philip Sherrard, editor and translator, The Philokalia, Vol. 4, Faber and Faber, 1995, p. 250

Knowledge of God through knowledge of creation A true lover of wisdom is he who, through natural things, has learned to know their Creator, and from the Creator, has understood natural things and things Divine; and such as knows not from teaching only, but from experience. Or, a perfect lover of wisdom is he who has perfected himself in the moral, natural and Divine love of wisdom, or rather, in love of God.
Philokalia, Vol. IV, “Texts of Commandments and Dogma,” Nr. 127, p. 245-246.

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Who is the true spiritual teacher? A true teacher is he who through his all-embracing cognitive thought comprehends created things concisely, as if they constituted a single body, establishing distinctions and connections between them according to their generic difference and identity, so as to indicate which possess similar qualities.... Or again, a true spiritual teacher is he who distinguishes and relates the general and universal qualities of created things — classified in accordance with formulation that embraces everything.... A true philosopher is one who perceives in created things their spiritual Cause, or who knows created things through knowing their Cause, having attained a union with God that transcends the intellect and a direct, unmediated faith. He does not simply learn about divine things, but actually experiences them. A student of spiritual knowledge, though not properly speaking a philosopher, is he who esteems and studies Godʼs wisdom mirrored in His creation, down to the least vestige of it; but he does this without any self-display or any hankering after human praise and glory, for he wishes to be a lover of Godʼs wisdom in creation and not a lover of materialism.
On Commandments and Doctrines, Nr. 127, Philokalia, Vol. IV, 1995, p. 245

The initiated teacher Or again, a teacher initiated into things divine is one who can distinguish principial beings from participative beings, or beings that have no autonomous self-subsistent reality.... Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he perceives the essences of principial beings embodied in participative beings. In other words, he interprets what is intelligible and invisible in terms of what is sensible and visible, and the visible sense-world in terms of the invisible and supra-sensory world, conscious that what is visible is the archetype of what is visible. He knows that things possessing form and pattern are brought into being by what is formless and without pattern, and that each manifests the other spiritually; and he clearly perceives each in the other and conveys this perception in his teaching of the truth. His knowledge of the truth, with all its sun-like radiance, is not expressed in allegorical form; on the contrary, he elucidates the true underlying principles of both worlds with spiritual insight and power, and expounds them forcefully and vividly. In this way the visible world becomes our teacher, and the invisible world is shown to be an eternal divine dwellingplace....
Philokalia, Vol. IV, “Texts of Commandments and Dogma,” Text Nr. 127:3, p. 246.

A right view of created things To try to discover the meaning of the commandments through study and reading without actually living in accordance with them is like mistaking the shadows of
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something for its reality. It is only by participating in the truth that you can share in the meaning of truth. If you search for the meaning without participating in the truth, and without having been initiated into it, you will find only a besotted kind of wisdom (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:20).... [and this gives true spiritual knowledge]. A right view of created things depends upon a truly spiritual knowledge of visible and invisible realities. Visible realities are objects perceived by the senses, while invisible realities are noetic, intelligent, intelligible and divine.
On Commandments and Doctrines, 22, 25

Instructions for monks on maintaining thanksgiving A man who strives after salvation and forces himself, for the sake of the Lord, to lead a life of silence, should be satisfied, in my opinion, with a small portion of bread, three or four cups of water or wine a day, and a little of any of the other victuals which may be at hand. He must not let himself eat to satiety; so that, through such wise use of food, that is through eating all kinds of food, on the one hand he may avoid boastfulness, and on the other he may not show disdain for Godʼs creations, which are most excellent. And he thanks God for everything. Such is the reasoning of the wise!
“Instructions to Hesychasts,” Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart, Faber and Faber, London, 1951, 1970, tenth edition, p.79.

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St. Gregory Palamas was a personal student and disciple of St. Gregory of Sinai. At the height of a monastic controversy on Mount Athos in Greece over the perception and nature of the light of Christ, Gregory Palamas defended the authenticity of the mystical experience of light because the scriptures show the Apostles saw this same light on Mount Tabor and because God is light. Gregory maintained that this is an "uncreated light" because God is uncreated. Experience of this light involves contact with His essence which is diffused through what he called the "divine energies" of God. The writings of Gregory Palamas are significant for modern ecology because he provides a theological foundation to assert a communion between God and creation through humanity and through the energies of Christ, and because he describes the process of creation's transformation through Christ without falling into a pantheistic confusion of the creation with the Creator which occurs if substance and energy are misunderstood.

Body and soul both mediate the image of God We are responsible for the world. We are the word through which it bespeaks itself, and it depends solely on us whether it prays or blasphemes. Only through us can the cosmos receive grace. For not only the soul, but the body of man, is created in the image of God. Together they are created in the image of God.
Philokalia, Vol. 4

The energies of creation God creates everything, but He remains uncreated. The fact that the world has a beginning is confirmed by nature and taught us by history. ... Creation is not from God's essence; it is not the uncreated energies of God, but the result of the uncreated energies.... To "beget" is the property of God's nature, but to "create" is the property of His energy and will. If there were no distinction between essence and energies, between nature and will, then the creatures would belong by nature to God.... Man is animal in his body, but his soul originated in the transcendental world ("hyperkosmion") and is a superior creation. Man was made paradoxically a small world ("mikrokosmos") in which is summarized all the rest of creation. For this reason He created man to stand between, to include and to beautify, both worlds, the visible and the invisible.
Sermon 26, Patrologia Graeco, Vol. 151, col. 223, as quoted in George Papademetriou, in Introduction to Gregory Palamas, 1973, pg. 58.

Understanding nature through the Holy Spirit When the mind, by the grace of Christ, ascends to what is above nature, then it is enlightened by the illumination of the Holy Spirit and splendidly reaches out into contemplation. And having come above itself, according to the measurement of grace given to it by God, it clearly and purely beholds the nature of all things in accordance with its condition and order.
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Philokalia, Vol. 4,

The qualities of dominion within the soul The nature of our soul involves the will to command and exercise sovereignty, and that part by nature which serves and obeys. The will, desire, sensibility – all are powers of the soul. Since we have within us that which commands, God has granted us dominion over all the earth.
Philokalia, Vol. 4, pg. 156.

Godʼs sustaining energy and essence God is in the universe and the universe is within God.... Thus all things participate in Godʼs sustaining energy, but not in His essence.
Philokalia, Vol. 4, p. 393

Beholding the nature of all things When the mind, by the grace of God, ascends to what is above Nature, then it is enlightened by the illumination of the Holy Spirit and splendidly reaches out into contemplation. And when it has come above itself, according to the measurement of grace given it by God, it clearly and purely beholds the nature of all things in accordance with its condition and order.
Philokalia, Vol. 4, Athens, 1965, p. 233

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The reach of Godʼs presence into creation God, Who fills all things and extends infinitely beyond the heavens, existed before the world, filling as He now fills the whole region of the world.
Topics of Natural and Theological Science, 6

Ten aspects of creation All existent things can be grouped into ten categories, namely essence, quantity, quality, relation, place, time, activity, passivity, possession and dependence. These ten categories apply likewise to everything subsequently seen to pertain to essence. But God is supraessential essence, in which can be seen only relation and activity or creation, and these two things do not produce in His essence any composition or change. For God creates all things without being affected in His essence. He is Creator in relation to creation, and also its Principle and Master in that it has its origin in Him and is dependent on Him.
Topics of Natural and Theological Science, 134

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St. Birgitta (1303 - 1373)
Saint Birgitta, more commonly called Bridget in the English speaking world, is the patron saint of Sweden. She was married as a young girl and lived happily for 28 years until her husband, Ulf, took seriously ill and appeared ready to die. Together they vowed to dedicate their lives completely to God if he would be healed. After a sudden and miraculous healing, they set about fulfilling their promises and Birgitta shortly began to receive visions and revelations. She is known for her kindness to the poor, for her pilgrimages to holy places, for establishing monasteries, for her inspired counsel to royalty, for establishing the Order of Brigittines, and especially for her loving care for animals.

God watches over the creatures Birgitta speaks of a revelation in which the Lord spoke to her about the animals and his concern for each: Let a man fear, above all, me, his God, and so much the gentler will he become toward my creatures and animals, on whom, on account of me, their Creator, he ought to have compassion.
Revelation to Birgitta, as quoted by William Lecky, History of European Morals, Arno Viers Press, New York, 1977, pg. 169.

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St. Sergius of Radonezh (1314 - 1392)
St. Sergius is one of the most popular of the Russian saints. He is the founder of Russian monasticism. His spiritual influence shaped the mind of Christian Russia and continues through to the present. In his time the greater part of the saints of the 14th and 15th century were his disciples, friends or correspondents. The monastery which grew up around him, now called Holy Trinity-Saint Sergius monastery, has continued as the spiritual heart of Russia. He taught that the unity within the Holy Trinity was the prototype of the unity which the monastery should realize in the contemporary world. This unity, this perfect inner peace, was attained by the saint, not only with his brother monks, but also with the wild animals. He sought to reaquire and reestablish in practice that normal order of the universe where the whole of nature, united around man, obeys God. The most exceptional feature of the life of St. Sergius is his humility. To relieve his brethren, he undertook the most lowly tasks in his monastery. He wore threadbare, patched garments so that people who met him failed to recognize him as the renowned abbot of Radonezh. Serving the bear A bear was in the habit of visiting St. Sergiusʼ hut in the forest, especially during spring and fall. St. Sergius regularly shared his food so that he could feed the bear. Often St. Sergius did not have much food as there were times when the wilderness did not offer much, especially after the long cold of the Russian winter. Usually he had only dried greens and herbs, some bread and water from a nearby spring, but at times even these were scarce. Many times there was no bread at all. When this happened, both he and the bear went hungry. Sometimes, when there was only one piece of bread, the Blessed Sergius did not please himself, but rather gave the entire piece to the bear, and would be pleased not to eat that day. “Better he be hungry,” he said, “than to offend the bear by dismissing him without eating.” To the reproaches of his brother monks, he replied, “the bear does not understand fasting.”
The Life of Saint Sergius, translated by M. Klimenko, pp. 109-110.

Perspective on saints and wild animals St. Sergiusʼ disciple, Epiphanius, who chronicled his life, explains a meaning in the relationship of saints to the animals. [This relationship] “...should astonish no one, for it should be known with certainty that when God dwells in a man and the Holy Spirit rests in him, all is subject to him, as all was subject in the beginning to Adam before the transgression of Godʼs commandment.
Vladimir Lossky, The Meaning of Icons, “St. Sergius of Radonezh,” 1952, reprinted by SVS Press, 1989, p. 128

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A self-educated anchoress and solitary, the writings of this medieval British nun describe her mystical experiences with Christ. Within the the enclosure of her tiny cell, Christ comes and personally teaches her many things about life, this world, heaven and their meanings. Julian's writings are simple and direct and they draw a number of clear conclusions about creation and the world around us. Her writings emphasize the need for discipline, for renunciation of the excesses and luxuries of the world, for reflection, for study, and particularly for humble daily prayer. These practices open up creation as a teaching about the ways of Christ and His kingdom and lead to experiential knowledge of nature as a loving praise of God which we can all emulate.

Gardening as a metaphor for the spiritual life There is a treasure in the earth of our being that is a food tasty and pleasing to the Lord. Be a gardener. Dig and ditch. Toil and sweat. Turn the earth upside down and seek the "dampness" and water the plants in time. Continue the labor and make sweet floods to run, and noble and abundant fruits to spring forth. Take this food and drink and carry it to God as your true worship.
Showings

There is no defect in nature Nature has been tested in the fire of tribulation, and in it was found no lack or defect. Thus are nature and grace of one accord. For grace is God, and unmade nature is God also. He is two in manner of working but one in love; and neither of these works without the other – they cannot be parted.
quoted in The Luminous Vision, Anne Bancroft, Unwin Paperbacks, 1982, pg. 67

Insight into creation I saw three properties in the world: the first is, that God made it. The second is, that God loveth it. The third is, that God keepeth it. But what beheld I therein? Verily the Maker, the Keeper, the Lover.
Revelations of Divine Love

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A vision of everything that has been created God showed me in my palm a little thing round as a ball about the size of a hazelnut. I looked at with the eye of my understanding and asked myself: 'What is this thing?' And I was answered: 'It is everything that is created." I wondered how it could survive since it seemed so little it could suddenly disintegrate into nothing. The answer came: 'It endures and ever will endure, because God loves it.' And so everything has being because of God's love.
quoted in "The Episcopal Church in Communion with Creation: Toward A Theological Vision," 1991, pg. 9.

God as Creator, lover and protector Julian describes a vision of the world which came to her in her monastic cell after a period of prayer about the nature of God and His creation: And in this he showed me something small, no bigger than a hazel nut, lying in the palm of my hand, and I perceived that it was as round as any ball. I looked at this and thought: What can this be? And I was given the general answer: It is everything which is made. I was amazed that it could last, for I thought that it was so little that it could suddenly fall into nothing. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and always will, because God loves it; and thus everything has being through the love of God. In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it. The second is that He loves it. The third is that God preserves it. But what is that to me? It is that God is the Creator, the lover and the protector.
Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 10

The unity between Christ and His creatures And here I saw a great unity between Christ and us, as I understand it; for when he was I pain, we were in pain, and all creatures able to suffer pain suffered with him. That is to say, all creatures that God hath made....
Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 28

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St. Catherine of Siena (1347 - 1380)
One of two women doctors of the Roman Catholic Church, St. Catherine received a holy vision at the age of six which indelibly shaped the rest of her life. Despite great obstacles, including a family intention to see her married, she joined a religious order where her striving for holiness blossomed and hundreds sought her eloquent commentary on Christ and the interior life. She became a renouned moral reformer, peacemaker, counselor and spiritual guide. She confronted clergy and even the pope for their lack of holiness. She emphasized that every person has access to the presence of God and that it is in fact everywhere about us. Her writing sometimes shifts from her personal perspective to the perspective of Christ who speaks through her. She taught from her experiences, especially how firsthand knowledge of God leads a person from self-concern to concern for others and eventually to concern for the entire world.

The fire of Christ in all people and all creation Oh Fire ever blazing! The soul who comes to know itself in you finds your greatness wherever it turns, even in the tiniest things, in people and in all created things, for in all of them it sees your power and wisdom and mercy.... The only way that we can know and comprehend any of these things is by means of your light, the light with which you illumine the soul's noblest aspect, our understanding. This light is the light of faith. You give it to each of us Christians when, through the sacrament of baptism, you pour into us the light of your grace and of faith....
Prayers of St. Catherine, 12:100 and 24:208, as quoted by Catherine Meade, CSJ, My Nature is Fire: St. Catherine of Siena, Alba House, New York, 1991, pg. 181.

Seeking first the will of God You want us to serve you according to your will, O Eternal Father, and you guide your servants along different paths. And so today you show us that we neither may nor can in any way judge what is within a person by the actions we see....

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Oh, how royally souls like this travel! In everything they see your will, and so in everything which your creatures do, they look for your will, never passing judgement on any creature's intention.
Prayers 9:69-70

The fire of God provides knowledge of self and creation Catherine proclaims that because we are created in the image of God, our selfknowledge is intimately intertwined with knowing God. Similarly we will better understand creation as we understand God: "In your nature, eternal Godhead, I shall come to know my nature. And what is my nature, but boundless love! It is fire, because you are nothing but the fire of love. And you have given me mankind a share in this nature for by the fire of live, you have created us."
Prayers 12:104

Creation in God's image In the Eucharist, Catherine sees a whole partaking of Christ. She writes, Oh fire of love! Was it not enough for you to gift us with creation in your image and likeness, and to create us anew to grace in your Son's blood, without giving us yourself as food, the whole of divine being, the whole of God?
Prayers 10:79

Discernment in saving creation Discernment is that light which dissolves all darkness, dissipates ignorance, and seasons every virtue and virtuous deed. It has a prudence that cannot be deceived, a strength that is invincible, a constancy right up to the end, reaching as it does from heaven to earth, that is, f rom the knowledge of me to the knowledge of oneself, from love of me to love of oneʼs neighbors. It would never be right to offend me, infinite Good, under the pretext of saving my finite creation. The evil would far outweigh any fruit that might come of it, so never, for any reason, must you sin. True charity knows this, for it always carries the lamp of holy discernment.
The Dialogues, Nr. 11

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The source of compassion for the animals What is the source of patience? What is the source of faith, of hope, of charity? The same compassion that gives birth to mercy. What frees the soul from herself and binds her to you? This compassion achieved in the light. O lovely compassion achieved in the light. O compassion, you are a balm that snuffs out rage and cruelty in the soul. This compassion, Compassionate Father, I beg you to give to all creatures, especially to those you have given me to love with a special love.
Prayers 15:134

Who sees their Lord in creation? These words Catherine says the Lord spoke to her about the way to know God: My creatures are pilgrim travelers in this life, created to reach me, their ultimate goal. ... Who sees and experiences this revelation of my name being glorified and praised in every created thing? The soul who has shed her body and come to me, her final goal, sees it clearly, and in her vision she knows the truth.... She sees this fully and truly in my holy ones, in the blessed spirits, in all other creatures, and even in the devils.”
The Dialogue, Nrs. 81-82

Everything is good and perfect To have the material things of the world is not sinful. After all, everything is good and perfect, made by me, Goodness itself. But I made these things to serve my rational creatures; I did not intend my creatures to make themselves servants and slaves to the worldʼs pleasures. They owe their first love to me. Everything else they should love and possess, as I told you, not as if they owned it, but as something lent them.
The Dialogue, Nr. 47

All people share a unity in the vineyard of Christ Keep in mind that each of you has your own vineyard. But every one is joined to your neighborsʼ vineyards without any dividing lines. They are all so joined together, in fact,
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that you cannot do good or evil for yourself without also doing the same for your neighbors. All of you together make up one common vineyard, the whole Christian assembly, and you are all united in the vineyard of the mystic body of holy Church from which you draw your life. In this vineyard is planted the vine, which is my onlybegotten Son, into whom you must be engrafted. Unless you are engrafted into him, you are rebels against the holy Church.... The Dialogue, Nr, 24

Why Christʼs servants love animals The reason why Godʼs servants love His creatures so deeply is that they realize how deeply Christ loves them. And this is the very character of love, to love what is loved by those we love.
Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 28

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Ramon Sibiude (1378? - 1438)
Ramon Sibiude, sometimes called Raymond Sebond, was born in Barcelona, Spain around 1378. He was a master (professor) of arts, theology and medicine at the University of Toulouse in France and authored a landmark text in the history of creation theology called “A Theology of the Natural World” (Theologia Naturalis) around 1436. While this thousand-page text was popular in his day, it did not have lasting impact. One hundred years later, the Spanish Inquisition placed it on the index of banned books because it was “subversive to the principles of the scholastic method,” the linear mode of thinking which characterized medieval Western theology, and because it denied separation between theology and philosophy. Ramon taught that the human person was the connecting link between the natural and the supernatural, and he said that by studying man and creation, one could arrive at a knowledge of the profound mysteries of faith. Ramonʼs emphasis, like many before him, was that God is revealed in two books, the book of nature and the written book of Scripture (the Bible). To Sibiude, creation is reliable evidence of Godʼs presence and his handiwork because it can never be separated from its Creator. The human is exalted over the natural world by virtue of his appointed station in the cosmos but also because the human serves as the connection between the perceptible world and the divine. Creation, when understood as a system of knowledge, he says, is not subject to error or misinterpretation, schism, or conflicting doctrine. How creatures become a book A creature is a letter written by the finger of God, and many creatures, like many letters, make up a book. The book of nature, however, is superior to the book of scripture: it cannot be falsified, destroyed, or misinterpreted; it will not induce heresy, and heretics cannot misunderstand it.
Theologia Naturalis, 1436, as cited by Gilson and quoted in Clarence Clacken, Traces on the Rhodian Shore, University of California Press, 1965, p. 239

Two great reservoirs of knowledge Two great reservoirs of knowledge are available to man, the book of creatures and the book of Scriptures. ... Of the two books which have been given to him, man has possessed the book of nature from the beginning.
Theologia Naturalis, quoted in Clarence Glacken, Traces on the Rhodian Shore, University of California Press, 1965, p. 239

Benefits of a natural theology Michel de Montaigne, the French translator of Sibiudeʼs text, described his work as a “kind of quintessence drawn from Thomas Aquinas.” The practice of this theology, Montaigne says, will help bring “to morality,” whoever practices it, and make him “happy, humble, obedient, loathing all vice and sin, yet without puffing up with pride.”
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In addition, this science [or process underlying learning from nature] teaches every one to see clearly, without difficulty or toil, truth, insofar as it is possible for natural reason, concerning knowledge of God and of himself and of what he has need for his salvation and to reach life eternal; it efforts him access to understanding what is prescribed and commanded in Holy Scripture, and delivers the human spirit from many doubts, making it consent firmly to what Scripture contains concerning knowledge of God and of oneself.
Prologue, Theologia Naturalis, as translated by Michel de Montaigne (1563), in An Apology for Ramon Sebond, translated into English by M. A. Screech, Oxford University, 1987, Penguin Books, London, p. xli.

The Book of Nature is before the Book of Scripture This doctrine opens up to all a way of understanding the holy Doctors (of the Church); indeed, it is incorporated in their books (even though it is not always evident in them) as an alphabet is incorporated in all writings. For it is the alphabet of the Doctors: as such it should be learned first. For which reason, to make your way towards the Holy Scriptures you will do well to acquire this science as the rudiments of all sciences; in order the better to reach conclusions, learn it before everything else, otherwise you will hardly manage to struggle through to the... higher sciences: for this is the root, the origin and the tiny foundation of the doctrine proper to Man and His salvation.... And there is no need that anyone should refrain from reading it [the book of nature] from lack of other learning: it presupposes no knowledge of Grammar, Logic, nor any other deliberative art or science, nor Physics nor of Metaphysics, seeing that it is the doctrine which comes first.... This doctrine is common to the laity, the clergy and all manner of people: yet it can be grasped in less than a month, and without learning anything by heart. No books are required, for once it has been perceived, it cannot be forgotten.... It uses no obscure arguments requiring lengthy discourse: for it argues from things which are evident and known to all from experience – from the creatures and the nature of Man; from what he knows of himself, it proves what it seeks to prove, mainly from what each man has assayed of himself. And there is no need of any other witness but Man.
Cited by Michel de Montaigne (1563) from the Prologue, Theologia Naturalis, in An Apology for Ramon Sebond, Penguin Books, p. xlii-xliii.

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Thomas  Kempis (1380-1471)
Thomas Hammerken was born at Kempen in the duchy of Cleves in Germany in 1380. He was educated by a small religious order called the Brethren of the Common Life who took vows and lived communally while holding employment in local towns. Thomas joined this religious order, was ordained a priest, and became the sub-prior of a house in which brothers and sisters held possessions in common. Thomas of Kempis is best known as the author of a four part text on the spiritual life, called The Imitation of Christ. His De Imitatione Christi, the Latin name under which his guide to the spiritual life was originally circulated in 1414, has become the second most widely read Christian text after the Bible and is still held in high regard in many parts of Christendom. While “The Imitation of Christ” is brilliant in the way it focuses upon the life of Christ as a model for every disciple, it is notable for dropping much of the historical biblical and patristic concern for creation which characterized an earlier Christianity. In this regard the work of Thomas  Kempis becomes noteworthy for its acosmism and its disdain for things material which deflects and distorts the historic understanding of creation as the handiwork of the Creator. The creatures form a book of holy doctrine If thy heart were right, then every creature would be a mirror of life and a book of holy doctrine. There is no creature so small and abject, but it reflects the goodness of God.
Imitation of Christ as quoted on the website of Religion and Spirituality: “Quotes for Those that Love Gardens, and the Green Way,” Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo, 2001

Disdain for material things There are some, who, being enlightened in their understanding and purified in their affection, always breathe after things eternal, are unwilling to hear of earthly things, and grieve to be subject to the necessities of nature.... For it teacheth them to despise the things of the earth and to love heavenly things; to disregard the world, and all the day and night to aspire after heaven.
The Imitation of Christ, Bk. 3 Ch. 4 v. 4

 

Nicholas of Cusa (1401 - 1464)
A pious German prelate, philosopher, scientist, author, and Church administrator, Nicholas was instrumental in advocating reform of the Julian calendar at the Council of Basel where he also called for the political and religious reunification of all Christendom.
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In 1437 Pope Nicholas entrusted him with a special mission to Constantinople, where he successfully enlisted the Eastern emperor, the Greek patriarch, and twenty-eight archbishops in support of his plan for unity. He served as papal legate to Northern Germany where he was charged with the reform and correction of parishes and monasteries and the reunification of the Hussites with the Church. He was an early astronomer, but criticized for declaring that the earth is a star like other stars, that it is not the center of the universe, that it is not at rest, and neither are its poles fixed. Had Copernicus been aware of these assertions, he would have found encouragement to publish his own findings sooner. Everywhere, according to Abbot Trithemius, Nicholas of Cusa appeared as a shining angel of light and peace. He wrote The Vision of God for a Benedictine community where he often spent long hours in prayer and reflection.

Divinity is in all things Divinity is the enfolding and unfolding of everything that is. Divinity is in all things in such a way that all things are in divinity.
The Vision of God

A Cloud of Witnesses
The Deep Ecological Legacy of Christianity

The Modern Church
Martin Luther (1483 - 1546)
The catalyst of the Reformation and founder of the Lutheran Church, Martin Luther taught that God's wrath toward sin is manifested in nature as "thorns, thistles, fires, caterpillars, flies, fleas and bedbugs... collectively and individually." Are not all of these, he asks, "messengers who preach to us concerning sin and God's wrath?" Luther fought against the abuses of authority within the Roman Catholic Church and articulated a doctrine of justification which he called "the master and prince" of all other doctrines. His ecological theology emphasizes that the earth is "innocent of sin and would gladly produce the best of products," but a full flowering of creation is prevented by the continuing effects of human sin which transfer into the earth and reflect the spiritual state of humanity. Humanity is sustained by God's providence
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I believe God has created me together with all that exists, that He has given me, and still sustains, my body and soul, all my limbs and senses, my reason and all the faculties of my mind, together with food and clothing, house and home, family and property....All this He does out of His pure fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness on my part.
Werke Kritische Gesamtausgabe 48:201

The Incarnation increases appreciation of creation Now if I believe in God's Son and bear in mind that He became man, all creatures will appear a hundred times more beautiful to me than before. Then I will properly appreciate the sun, the moon, the stars, trees, apples, pears, as I reflect that he is Lord over and the center of all things.
Sermons on the Gospel of John 496

Our body and creation as reflections of God's wrath for sin Our body bears the traces of God's wrath, which our sin has deserved. God's wrath also appears on the earth in all creatures...
Werke Kritische Gesamtausgabe 42:155

God's power sustains creation If God were to withdraw his hand, this building (the creation) would collapse....The sun would not long return its position and shine in the heavens, no child would be born; no kernel, no blade of grass, nothing at all would grow on earth or reproduce itself if God did not work forever and ever.
Sermons On the Gospel of John, Luther's Complete Works 22:26

The world is full of God God is substantially present everywhere, in and through all creatures, in all their parts and places, so that the world is full of God and He fills all, but without His being encompassed and surrounded by it. He is at the same time outside and above all creatures. These are all exceedingly incomprehensible matters; yet they are articles of our faith and are attended clearly and mightily in Holy Writ....For how can reason tolerate it that the Divine majesty is so small
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that it can be substantially present in a grain, on a grain, over a grain, through a grain, within and without, and that, although it is a single Majesty, it nevertheless is entirely in each grain separately, no matter how immeasurably numerous these grains may be? ... And that the same Majesty is so large that neither this world nor a thousand worlds can encompass it and say: "Behold, there it is!" His won divine essence can be in all creatures collectively and in each one individually more profoundly, more immanently, more present, than the creature is in itself; yet it can be encompassed nowhere and by no one. It encompasses all things and dwells in all, but not one thing encompasses it and dwells in its.
Werke Kritische Gesamtausgabe 23:134-136

The wonderful works of creation reflect the majesty of God We are now living in the dawn of the future life; for we are beginning to regain a knowledge of creation, a knowledge forfeited by the fall of Adam. Now we have a correct view of the creatures, more so I suppose, than they have in the papacy....But by God's mercy we can begin to recognize His wonderful works and wonders also in flowers when we ponder his might and goodness. Therefore we laud, magnify and thank him.
Werke Kritische Gesamtausgabe 1:1160

God is the Creator It is God who creates, effects and preserves all things through His almighty power and right hand, as our creed confesses. For He dispatches no officials or angels when He creates or preserves something, but all this is the work of the Divine power itself. If He is to create it or preserve it, however, he must be present and must take and preserve His creation both in its innermost and outermost aspects.
Luther's Works, Vol. 37, pg. 57.

God's other Gospel God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.
Quoted from Caesar Johnson, editor, To See a World in a Grain of Sand, The C. R. Gibson Company, Norwalk, Conn., 1972, p. 24, and the literature of the 265

Evangelical Environmental Network, Wynnewood, PA, January, 1995,

Earth is innocent of sin The earth is indeed innocent (of any sin) and would gladly produce the best products, but is prevented by the curse which was placed upon man because of sin.
Lectures on Genesis 205

Who has worldly riches? Our Lord God commonly gives worldly riches to those gross asses to whom he vouchsafes nothing else.
Colloquia, 20

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The power of God is present in creation The power of God is present at all places, even in the tiniest leaf.... God is entirely and personally present in the wilderness, in the garden, and in the field.
Luther’s Works 37:57,61

God is in the flowers God is in all creatures, even in the smallest flowers!
Luther’s Works, 54:327

The animals are God’s footprints In a mouse we admire God’s creation and craft work. The same may be said about flies (LW 1:52). Animals are the footprints of God (1:68). Adam and Eve derived the fullness of joy and bliss from their contemplation of all the animal creatures (1:66).
Composite from three separate passages of Luther’s Works, quoted by Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Department of Environmental Stewardship, paper entitled “Luther and the Environment,” by Job Ebenezer, Chicago, 1996

God’s presence in creation God is wholly present in all creation, in every corner, behind you and before you. Do you think God is sleeping on a pillow in heaven? God is watching over you and protecting you.
Luther’s Works 51:43

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God’s Nature dwells in Creatures If God is to create or to preserve a creature, God must be present and must make and preserve God’s creation both in its innermost and outermost aspects.... God’s entire divine nature is wholly and entirely in all creatures, more deeply, more inwardly, more present than the creature is to itself.
Luther’s Works 37:58,60

God gives me everything I have I believe that God has created me together with all that exists, that He has given me, and still sustains, my body and soul, all my limbs and senses, my reason and all the faculties of my mind, together with food and clothing, house and home, family and property.... All this He does out of His pure fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness on my part.
Luther’s Werke Kritische Gesamtausgbe, 48.201.5

Creation as a Book All creation is the most beautiful book or bible, for in it God has described and portrayed Himself.
Luther’s World of Thought, trans. Bertram, Concordia, 1958, p. 179

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St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491 - 1556)
Inigo de Loyola was born in 1491 in Azpeitia in the Basque province of Guipuzcoa in northern Spain. After being wounded in war, he became converted to the religious life. Then following a vision from which he said he learned more than from everything else in his previous life, he now saw all creation in a new light. This gave him the impetus to found the Company of Jesus (today called the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits), which was dedicated to defending Catholic doctrine against the theologies of the Reformation. This new “company” would uphold virtue as an example and teaching of Christian life. Through "Spiritual Exercises," which transferred key experiences in the life of Christ to his priests, though rigorous discipline, and through divine inspiration, he built the Society into a potent force for Christ and the Catholic Church. In Ignatius’ plan, all actions should be dedicated “to the greater glory of God.” The heightened experience of Christ in the fabric of creation would be payment abundant for a life of service. He is regarded as a patron saint for retreats and for those involved in spiritual exercises. The majesty of God in the world God's majesty is present in all things, through His indwelling, through His works and through His essence, and can therefore be found in all things, in speaking, walking, seeing, tasting, hearing, thinking, and in whatever else we may do.
Letters

A reward of all creation In a letter to his first Jesuit priests, the following message was conveyed: "The pay you receive from Christ is everything that you are and have in the natural order. For He gives and preserves your being and existence, the powers of the soul, and the powers of the body together with all external goods. The pay you receive from Christ is the whole universe; it is all his spiritual gifts.
Letters

God's presence in the world I look at how God dwells in the creatures, giving being to the elements, growth to the plants, sensation to animals, understanding to men.... I must consider how God works and labors for me in all things.... and then I must reflect upon myself.... I must look how all good things come down from above... as justice, goodness, pity, mercy, etc., even as the rays of the light come from the sun and the waters from the spring.
Letters 269

Paracelsus (1493 - 1541)
Called the father of modern pharmacology, Paracelsus is known as one of the great healers of the Christian era. He was born near Zurich, Switzerland and is remembered as a dedicated disciple of Jesus Christ who found an unending depth of meaning in both Scripture and nature. He lived during the early years of the Reformation and sought relief from the contentiousness he found on both sides. He journeyed to the Holy Land to find deeper dimensions to Christianity. Years later he returned with amazing insights of the medicinal properties of herbs and plants and taught that a true understanding of nature could only be found through a firm foundation in Christ. Paracelsus teaches that each person is a microcosm of the macrocosm of the cosmos. God’s purpose in creating man as microcosm is so that he can collaborate with God in the processes of creation. Each person, he says, has an obligation to improve upon the world, but this can only be done in accordance with the principles of Christ and creation. This means the person must discern both the will of God and how creation works, or one’s actions will fail to uplift creation. Then, one could become an unintentional but still destructive blight upon the earth. In his vision of human purpose, Paracelsus provides Christians with a vision of responsibility to integrate human society simultaneously into the example of the Lord and the demands of the natural world. A reoccurring theme of Paracelsus' teaching is that the life of a person cannot be separated from the life of creation. Therefore, he says, "to understand man, understand the cosmos; to understand the cosmos, understand man." Nature is the universal teacher It was the Book of Nature, written by the finger of God, which I studied... Nature is the universal teacher. Whatever we cannot learn from the external appearance of nature, we can learn from her spirit. Both are one. Everything is taught by Nature to her disciple if he asks for information in the appropriate manner.
The Perfect Man in Christ

Reading the lessons of nature Nature is a light, and by looking at nature in her own light, we will understand her. Visible nature may be seen in her visible light; invisible nature may become known if we acquire the power to perceive her invisible light.... The inner nature of everything may be known through inner sight. These are the means by which the properties and wisdom in nature may be known.
The Perfect Man in Christ 270

An understanding of plants as healing agents If the physician understands the anatomy of medicines and the anatomy of diseases, he will find that a concordance exists between the two.... The curative power of medicines often consists, not so much of the spirit that is hidden in them, as in the spirit in which they are taken. Faith will make them efficacious; doubt will destroy their virtues....No man can rationally employ remedies without knowing their quality, and he cannot know the qualities of plants without being able to read their "signatures." ...That which gives healing power to a medicine is its "spiritus" and it is only perceptible by the senses of the "sidereal" man. It therefore follows that spiritual perception is a teacher of medicines far preferable to all written books.

The perfection of dominion and understanding of creation God in the macrocosm and God in the microcosm are one, for there is only one God, and one law and one nature, through which Wisdom becomes manifest....The more the soul of man grows perfect, the nearer does it approach to God, and the more will his understanding grow and his love be exalted. Thus may man elevate himself into sanctification; he may communicate with perfect beings in the spiritual kingdom and be instructed and guided by them. He will be a true child of God. All nature will be subject to him because he will be an instrument to carry out the will of the Creator of nature.

Knowledge of nature fortifies faith The more cognition there is in a human being about God's works, the greater is the belief, and the blissfulness is then accordingly.... Blissful and more than blissful may be those human beings... which have this grace and heaven. We are really talking about Christum Jesum, the eternal wisdom.
Aphorismus IV

The keys to a knowledge of heaven and earth [To know the mysteries of creation] learn and study the four gospels, for all the mysteries are contained therein. That is the key to open up this heaven, and (then) we will be spoken to out of two books -- God and nature. God has his seat and tabernacle in nature, that is the center of his kingdom, where the prophets were seated, where Christ was crucified.
Vigilate et Orate Ignitur 271

The effect of knowledge of the mysteries When a person knows and understands many of God's works and secrets, his belief is greater and deeper, he is more stable and moral in the rules and virtues, therefore he is in blissfulness, compared to a wise understanding person who is only merciful.
De perfecto homine in Christo Iesu et contra de perdito animale homine in Adam, qui lunaticu dicitur, 1

The path to blissfulness Human beings cannot achieve blissfulness unless they recognize God as their Creator completely and thoroughly in all of his works and in all of his creatures, as well as knowing themselves.
De perfecto homine in Christo Iesu et contra de perdito animale homine in Adam, qui lunaticu dicitur, 3

What a clergyman should be A clergyman should be a spiritual guide for others; but how can a man be a spiritual guide if he merely talks about spiritual things, and knows himself nothing about it? ... A clergyman who does not act rightly does not possess the truth, and can therefore not teach it. He can only, like a parrot, repeat words and sentences, and their meaning will be incomprehensible to his hearers, because he knows nothing about that meaning himself.
De perfecto homine in Christo

Discerning God's truth The power to recognize and to follow the truth cannot be conferred by academic degrees; it comes only from God. He who desires to know the Truth must be able to see it, and not be satisfied with descriptions of it received from others. Nature is a light

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Nature is a light, and by looking at nature in her own light, we will understand her. Visible nature may be seen in her visible light; invisible nature may become visible if we acquire the power to perceive her invisible light.
De perfecto homine in Christo

All of the truths of creation are within man In man are contained all the forces and beings and forms that may be found in the four elements out of which the Universe is constructed. Man is the microcosm containing in himself the types of all the creatures that exist in the world and it is a great truth which you should seriously consider, that there is nothing in heaven or upon this earth which does not exist in man, and God, who is in heaven, exists also in man, and the two are but one.

To know the inner side of nature The inner nature of everything may be known... through the powers of the inner sight. These are the powers by which all secrets of nature may be discovered, and it is necessary that a physician should be instructed and become well versed in this art, and that he should be able to find out a great deal more about the patient's disease by his own inner perception than by questioning the patient. For this inner sight is the astronomy of medicine, and as physical anatomy shows all the inner parts of the body, such as cannot be seen through the skin, so this inner perception shows not only all the causes of disease, but it furthermore discovers the elements in medicinal substances in the healing powers reside.

Faith unravels the deeper mysteries of nature Faith is a luminous star that leads the honest seeker into the mysteries of nature. You must seek your point of affinity in God, and put your trust into an honest divine sincere, pure and strong faith, and cling to it with your whole heart, soul, sense and thought -- full of love and confidence. If you possess such a faith, God's wisdom will not withhold Truth from you, but He will reveal His works to you credibly, visibly and consolingly.

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The search for wisdom We cannot find wisdom in books nor in any external thing: we can only find it within ourselves.

Man must learn the secrets of nature by craft “When man was cast out of Eden, he received from the angels their knowledge, but not all knowledge...” In consequence, Paracelsus says, man must ferret out the secrets of nature by craft. “For he and his children must learn one thing after another in the light of Nature, in order to bring to light that which lies hidden in all things. For although man was created whole as regards his body, he was not so created as regards his ‘art.’ All the arts have been given to him as his heritage, but not in an immediately recognizable form. He must discover them.”
From Selected Writings, pg. 176-177 as quoted in Clarence Glacken, Traces on the Rhodian Shore, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1967, pg. 466.

Why we must investigate creation Paracelsus also says that it is God’s will that we do more than merely accept nature as we find it. We must “investigate and learn why it has been created. Then we can explore and fathom the right use of wool on the sheep and of the bristles on the sow’s back; so we can place each thing where it belongs, and can cook raw food so that it tastes good in the mouth, and can build for ourselves winter apartments and roofs against the rain.”
From Die Bucher von dem unsichtbaren Krankheitzen, Sudhof, Vol. 9, Klemm, p. 144, as quoted in Glacken, op cit., p. 466.

Everything needed for healing is in nature Everything which man needs to maintain good health can be found in nature. The true task of science is to identify these things which heal.
Quotes attributed to Paracelsus

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To John Calvin, one of the primary figures of the Protestant Reformation, the created world is God's "most beautiful theater" where in a wonderful series of declarations, he distinguishes an innumerable variety of qualities in creation, endowing each with its own nature, assigned functions, and appointed places and stations. Calvin emphasized the Bible as the primary tool for understanding God, the human and creation. He wrote the Institutes to serve as a handbook to aid in Scriptural study. It was to be a hermeneutical guide which would predispose readers to a believing and obedient response to God's will. Calvin taught that the most important Christian doctrine "is the doctrine of God," and for this purpose creation provides a magnificent reflection of His divine glory. He is remembered as a reformer who fostered a theanthropic approach to creation which focuses upon knowledge of God coupled with a knowledge of oneself as foundational for a right understanding of creation. Even though he writes extensively about creation, Calvin’s emphasis shifts religious emphasis away from creation and onto the uniqueness of the human in creation. In his introduction to the Institutes, he writes, “Our wisdom” consists almost entirely in two parts: “the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” Creation becomes an effect of God’s action and an object of right human stewardship, but it fades as the framework for God’s presence.

The custody of the Garden The custody of the garden was given to Adam, to show that we possess the things which God has committed to our hands, on the condition that, being content with the frugal and moderate use of them, we should take care of what shall remain.
Commentary on Genesis, 1554, from the English translation of 1847, reprinted by Banner of Truth Publishers, 1965, pg. 8

A duty to reflect on the creatures While we contemplate in all creatures, as in a mirror, those immense riches of his wisdom, justice, goodness and power, we should not merely run them over cursorily, and, so to speak, with a fleeting glance, but we should ponder them at length, turn them over in our mind seriously and faithfully, and recollect them repeatedly.
Institutes 1:14

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Stewards of God’s creation Calvin sums up his theology of creation, saying that humans are expected to enjoy creation’s fruits while sustaining its fruitfulness. Thanksgiving and restraint are both implied. Humans are also expected to care for the land and everything on it and prevent it from damage. Further people are expected to treat everything in the world as an inheritance from God and our forefathers which is to be passed down to our children who will also in their turn serve as stewards of creation. Each person has the duty to leave the world in better condition than it was when he or she received it. Let him who possesses a field, so partake of its yearly fruits that he does not suffer the ground to be injured by his negligence, but let him endeavor to hand it down to posterity as he received it, or even better cultivated. Let him so feed on its fruits that he neither dissipates it by luxury, nor permits it to be marred or ruined by neglect. Moreover, that this economy, and this diligence, with respect to those good things which God has given us to enjoy, may flourish among us, let everyone regard himself as the steward of God in all things which he possesses. Then he will neither conduct himself dissolutely, nor corrupt by abuse those things which God requires to be preserved.
Commentary on Genesis, chapter 2:15; translated from the first Latin edition, 1578, English translation of 1847, reprinted by Banner of Truth Publishers, 1965

The beauty of creation reflects the divine glory The creation is quite like a spacious and splendid house, provided and filled with the most exquisite and at the same time the most abundant furnishings. Everything in it tells us of God.
Institutes 1:14

Every part of creation reflects the Creator In every part of the world, in heaven and on earth, he has written and as it were engraven the glory of his power, goodness and eternity.... For all creatures, from the firmament even to the center of the earth, could be witnesses and messengers of his glory to all men, drawing them on to seek him and, having found him, to do him service and honor according to the dignity of a Lord so good, so potent, so wise and everlasting....For the little singing birds sang of God, the animals acclaimed him, the elements feared and the mountains resounded with him, the river and springs threw glances toward him, the grasses and the flowers smiled.
Opera Selecta 9:273

The overwhelming beauty of the universe
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You cannot in one glance survey this most vast and beautiful system of the universe in all its wide expanse, without being completely overwhelmed by the boundless force of its brightness.
Institutes 1:5.1

Paul and the creatures: Commentary on Romans 8:21 Paul does not mean that all creatures will be partakers of the same glory with the sons of God, but that they will share in their own manner in the better state, because God will restore the present fallen world to perfect condition at the same time as the human race....Let us therefore be content with this simple doctrine their constitution will be such, and their order so complete, that no appearance either of deformity or of impermanence will be seen.
Institutes 1

The conditions upon man's stewardship of the earth The earth was given to man with this condition, that he should occupy himself in its cultivation.... The custody of the garden was given in charge to Adam, to show that we possess the things which God has committed to our hands, on the condition that, being content with the frugal and moderate use of them, we should take care of what shall remain.
Commentary on Genesis, 1554, from the English translation of 1847, reprinted by Banner of Truth Publishers, 1965, pg. 9

A disposition toward God's gifts We are not our own.... we are God's; all the endowments which we possess are deposits intrusted to us for the very purpose of being distributed for the good of our neighbor.... Moreover, the only right mode of administration is that which is regulated by love.
Institutes III, vii, 1 and 5 (1559), translated by Henry Beveridge, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1957

Responsibility for the future of the land
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Let him who possesses a field, so partake of its yearly fruits, that he may not suffer the ground to be injured by his negligence; but let him endeavor to hand it down to posterity as he received it, or even better cultivated. Let him so feed on its fruits that he neither dissipates it by luxury, nor permits it to be marred or ruined by neglect. Moreover, that this economy, and this diligence, with respect to those good things which God has given us to enjoy, may flourish among us, let everyone regard himself as the steward of God in all things which he possesses. Then he will neither conduct himself dissolutely, not corrupt by abuse those things which God requires to be preserved.
Commentary on Genesis, 1554, from the English translation of 1847, reprinted by Banner of Truth Publishers, 1965, pg. 9

A theology of nature The little birds singing are singing of God; the beasts cry unto him; the elements are in awe of him; the mountains echo his name; the waves and streams cast their glances at him; the herbs and flowers praise him. Nor do we need to labor or seek him far off, since each one of us finds [God] within himself, inasmuch as we are all upheld and preserved by his power dwelling in us.
Translated from "Praefationes biblis gallicis Petri Roberti Olivatani," CO 9:791 as quoted in Susan Schreiner, The Theater of His Glory: Nature and Natural Order in the Thought of John Calvin, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 1995, pg. 106.

Those who are wise search out God's works For it is said that it is the wisdom of men to search out God's works, and to set their minds wholly upon them. And God has also ordained the world to be like a theater upon which to behold his goodness, righteousness, power and wisdom.
Sermon on Ephesians 3:9-12, CO 51:462, as quoted in Susan Schreiner, The Theater of His Glory: Nature and Natural Order in the Thought of John Calvin, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 1995, pg. 113.

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Opening our eyes to the grandeur of God in creation We are inexcusable when we have not at all considered God in His works. He does not at all leave himself without witness here.... Let us then only open our eyes and we will have enough arguments for the grandeur of God, so that we may learn to honor him as He deserves.
Sermon on Job 5:8-10

The works of God are everywhere Let us not be ashamed to take pious delight in the works of God open and manifest in this beautiful theater.... Wherever we cast our eyes, all things they meet are works of God, and at the same time (we should) ponder with pious meditation to what end God created them.
The Institutes I:14:20

Seek to know God through His creation The most perfect way of seeking God... is not for us to attempt to penetrate His essence, but for us to contemplate Him in His works whereby he renders himself near and familiar to us, and in some manner communicates himself.
The Institutes 1:5.9

A test of faith through one's ability to appreciate God's creatures Let all readers know that they have with true faith apprehended what it is for God to be the Creator of heaven and earth, if they first of all follow the universal rule, not to pass over in ungrateful thoughtfulness or forgetfulness those conspicuous powers which God shows forth in his creatures, and then learn to apply it to themselves that their very hearts are touched.
The Institutes 1:14.21

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God before the creation of the world Great shrewdness was discovered by a certain pious old man, who, when some scoffer ludicrously inquired what God had been doing before the creation of the world, replied that he had been making hell for over curious men....
Institutes, trans. by the National Board of Young Men’s Christian Assoc., A Reflection Book, selections by Hugh Kerr, trans. by M. Gilchrist, Edinburgh, 1858, Association Press, New York, 1960, I, xiv, 1, 20

Our duty toward animals It must be remembered that men are required to practice justice even in dealing with animals. Solomon condemns injustice to our neighbors the more severely when he says “a just man cares well for his beasts” (Proverbs 12:10). In a word, we are to do what is right voluntarily and freely, and each of us is responsible for doing his duty.
Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 43

Investigating God through His creation This method of investigating the divine perfections, by tracing the lineaments of His countenance as shadowed forth in the firmament and on the earth, is common both to those within and those without the pale of the Church. From the power of God we are naturally led to consider His eternity, since that from which all other things derive their origin must necessarily be self-existent and eternal.
Institutes, Book I.v.6, as cited in Gordon J. Spykman, Reformational Theology: A New Paradigm for Doing Dogmatics, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI 1992.

The history of the creation of the world To apprehend... what it is for our benefit to know concerning the world, we must first of all understand the history of the creation of the world....
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Thence we shall learn that God, by the power of His Word and Spirit, created out of nothing the heaven and the earth; that from them he produced all things, animate and inanimate; distinguished by an admirable gradation the innumerable variety of things; to every species He gave its proper nature, assigned its offices, and appointed its places and stations; and since all things are subject to corruption, He has, nevertheless, provided for the preservation of every species until the last day; that He therefore nourishes some by methods concealed from us, from time to time infusing, as it were, new vigor into them; that on some He has conferred the power of propagation, in order that the whole species may not be extinct in their deaths; that He has thus wonderfully adorned heaven and earth with the utmost possible abundance, variety and beauty, like a large and splendid mansion, most exquisitely and copiously furnished; lastly, that, by creating man, and distinguishing him with such splendid beauty, and with such numerous and great privileges, He has exhibited in him a most excellent specimen of all His works.
Institutes, trans. by the National Board of the Young Men’s Christian Associations, A Reflection Book, selections by Hugh Kerr, trans. by M. Gilchrist, Edinburgh, 1858, Association Press, NY, 1960, I, xiv, 1, 20

How God discloses Himself through creation Since the perfection of blessedness consists in the knowledge of God, He has been pleased, in order that none might be excluded from the means of obtaining felicity, not only to deposit in our minds that seed of religion of which we already have spoken, but so to manifest His perfections in the whole structure of the universe, and daily place Himself in our view, that we cannot open our eyes without being compelled to behold Him. His essence, indeed, is incomprehensible, utterly transcending all human thought; but on each of His works His glory is engraven in characters so bright, so distinct, and so illustrious, that none, however dull and illiterate, can plead ignorance as their excuse. ... Hence the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews elegantly describes the visible worlds as images of the invisible (Heb. xi. 3), the elegant structure of the world serving us as a kind of mirror, in which we may behold God, though otherwise invisible. ...
Institutes Book I.v.1 as cited in Gordon J. Spykman, Reformational Theology: A New Paradigm for Doing Dogmatics, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI 1992.

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No excuse for not knowing God through creation But though we are deficient in the natural powers which might enable us to rise to a pure and clear knowledge of God, still, as the dullness which prevents us is within, there is no room for excuse. We cannot plead ignorance, without being at the same time convicted by our own consciences both of sloth and ingratitude. It were, indeed, a strange defense for man to pretend that he has no ears to hear the truth, while dumb creatures have voices loud enough to declare it; to allege that he is unable to see that which creatures without eyes demonstrate; to excuse himself on the ground of weakness of mind, while all creatures without reason are able to teach....
Institutes, Book I.v.15 as cited in Gordon J. Spykman, Reformational Theology: A New Paradigm for Doing Dogmatics, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI 1992.

Seek ministry, not dominion Let us therefore remember, however highly we think of ourselves, that a ministry is laid upon us, not a dominion given to us... It is plain that the apostles are prohibited to exercise dominion. Go you, therefore, and dare to usurp for yourself, either apostleship with dominion, or dominion with apostleship. Immediately after he says, the apostolic form is this; dominion is interdicted, ministry is enjoined.
Institutes, Henry Beveridge translation, 1913, Book IV, Ch. 11

A condition for an unacceptable dominion Since God has given us dominion over all things, and so subjected them to us that we may use them for our convenience, we cannot hope that our service will be acceptable to God if we bring ourselves into bondage to external things, which ought to be subservient to us.
Institutes, Henry Beveridge translation, 1913, Book IV, 13

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How the Bible brings God’s lessons into focus Therefore, though the effulgence which is presented to every eye, both in the heavens and on the earth, leaves the ingratitude of man without excuse, since God, in order to bring the whole human race under the same condemnation, holds forth to all, without exception, a mirror of His Deity in his works, another and better help must be given to guide us properly to God as Creator. Not in vain, therefore, has He added the light of his Word in order that he might make Himself known unto salvation... For, seeing how the minds of men were carried to and fro, and found no certain resting-place, He chose the Jews for a peculiar people, and then hedged them in that they might not, like others, go astray. And not in vain does He, by the same means, retain us in His knowledge, since but for this, even those who, in comparison of others, seem to stand strong, would quickly fall away. For as the aged, or those whose sight is defective, when any book, however fair, is set before them, though they perceive that there is something written are scarcely able to make out two consecutive words, but, when aided by glasses, begin to read distinctly, so Scripture, gathering together the impressions of Deity, which, till then, lay confused in their minds, dissipates the darkness, and shows us the true God clearly.
Institutes, Book I.vi.1., quoted in Gordon J. Spykman, Reformational Theology: A New Paradigm for Doing Dogmatics, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 1992.

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St. Teresa of Avila (1515 - 1582)
One of the great Spanish mystics, St. Teresa of Avila is an inspired author of spiritual classics, the tireless reformer of the Carmelite Order, and the first woman doctor of the Roman Catholic Church. To Teresa, knowledge came by revelation; obedience meant liberation; and renunciation filled her with consummate joy and light. For her, the earth frames the journey to salvation, and the Lord is immanent in all parts of creation, including the human soul. She wrote according to what she learned in quiet contemplation in her monastic cell. The hidden treasure of the Lord Beg the Lord that, since it is possible to some extent for us to enjoy Heaven upon earth, He will grant us His help and that He may show us the path and give strength to our souls so that we may dig until we find this hidden treasure, since we have it within ourselves.
The Interior Castle

Nature as an aid to the remembrance of God It helped me to look at fields, or water, or flowers. In these things I found a remembrance of the Creator. I mean that they awakened and recollected me and served as a book and reminded me of my ingratitude and sins.
The Way of Perfection

Detachment from the world Believe me, the whole manner of life we are trying to live is.... leading us to detachment from all created things.
The Way of Perfection

Discovering a new world of life and meaning If we learn to love the earth, we will find labyrinths, gardens, fountains and precious jewels! A whole new world will open itself to us. We will discover what it means to be truly alive.
Quoted in “Earthkeeping News, St. Paul, MN., Vol. 7:5, pg. 4 285

Robert Bellarmine (1542 - 1621)
A Renaissance Jesuit who entered the Society of Jesus at the height of the Catholic counterreformation, Robert Bellarmine was instrumental in molding the religious fervor of his time. He served as a bishop and a cardinal, and authored numerous essays and treatises about the religious life. He is recognized primarily as a writer on spirituality; his major works include a Catechism, a manual on dying well, and essays on the beauty of God in creation. Gratitude, wonder and praise are reoccurring themes in his writing as well as the lessons of God infused into creation. Knowing God through His creatures God wanted man to know him somehow through his creatures, and since no creature could fittingly reflect the infinite perfection of the Creator, he multiplied his creatures and gave a certain goodness and perfection to each so that from them we could judge the goodness and perfection of the Creator, who embraces infinite perfection....
The Mind's Ascent to God 2:2

Creation as a divine work It is not difficult for one seal to make many identical impressions, but to vary shapes almost infinitely, which is what God does in creation, this is a divine work.
De ascensione mentis in Deum per scalas creaturarum, 1615

The beauty of created things Everything that God has made is beautiful, if we rightly reflect on it... So my soul, if the Creator has lavished such beauty on created things, how great and marvelous do you think is the beauty of the all-beautiful Creator? The greatness of God's beauty not only is known with certainty from the beauty of all creatures gathered together and found on a higher level in him, but also from the fact that since he is invisible to us... and is known only by the testimony of scripture and to a degree in the mirror of his creatures, still many saints so burned with love for Him that some hid themselves in desert places, wishing to devote themselves entirely to contemplation....
The Mind's Ascent to God 2:5

The wisdom of the Creator They should admire not the ingenuity of nature, but the wisdom of the Creator, for He made nature and discovered the way to accomplish all these wonders.
On the Ascent of the Mind to God, 1615 286

Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642)
Galileo Galilei was born on February 15, 1564 in Pisa, Italy. In 1609, Galileo learned of the invention of the spyglass in Holland. He used his technical skills to improve upon this device and built the world’s first telescope. Later that year, he became the first person to observe the Moon through a telescope and make astronomical discoveries. He found that the Moon was not smooth, but mountainous and cratered. This new telescope helped him discover moons circling Jupiter, the phases of Venus, sunspots on the Sun and the stellar composition of the Milky Way, He went on to affirm Copernicus’s theory that the Earth and all the other planets revolved around the Sun. The customary view of his time was that the Earth was the center of the Universe. Even though he was a dedicated Catholic, he was condemned, first for positing a heliocentric world view, and second for his method which relied upon external observation rather than traditional interior perception. Galileo is called the "father of modern astronomy," and sometimes the "father of modern physics." His conflict with the Roman Church is taken as an early example of the conflict of authority and freedom of thought with science in Western society.

Living symbols in creation Philosophy is written in the grand book of the universe, which stands continually open to our gaze. But the book cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language of symbols and to read the letters in which it is composed. It is written in a language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles and other geometric figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these one wanders about in a dark labyrinth.
“Il Saggiatore,” quoted in Stillman Drake, The Discourses and Opinions of Galileo, Doubleday Anchor Books, New York, 1957, pgs 237-238.

The sun still ripens grapes The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, still ripens a bunch of grapes, as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
Internet quote of Galileo, Original source not listed

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
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Born in Stratford-upon-Avon in England, Shakespeare was an actor, poet and playwright who many consider the greatest author in the English language. He weaves a knowledge of human nature and Christian principle into unique plots which reveal the deep choices which face humanity. A few of his writings have ecological value in that they reveal the contemporary understanding of the cosmos as well as the consequences which follow from the choices which each person has to make. The uses of adversity Are not these woods More free from peril than the envious court? Here feel we not the penalty of Adam, The season’s difference, as the icy fang And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind, Which, when it bites and blows upon my body, Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say, “This is no flattery: these are counselors That feelingly persuade me what I am.” Sweet are the uses of adversity, Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in his head. And this our life, exempt from public haunt, Find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stone, and good in every thing.
As You Like It

A touch of nature One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

Nature’s infinite book of secrecy In nature’s infinite book of secrecy, a little I can read.

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Not thine own Thyself and thy belongings Are not thine own so proper as to waste Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee. Heaven doth with us as we with torches do Not light them for themselves; for it our virtues Did not go forth of us, ‘twere all alike As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touched But to the fine issues, nor Nature never lends the smallest scruple of her excellence But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines Herself the glory of a creditor, Both thanks and use.
Measure for Measure, Act 1, scene 1

Sonnet LXXXVIII Man, dream no more of curious mysteries, As what was here before the world was made, The first Man’s life, the state of Paradise, Where heaven is, or hell’s eternal shade, For God’s works are like him, all infinite; And curious search, but craft sin’s delight. The Flood that did, the dreadful Fire that shall, Drown, and burn up the malice of the earth, The divers tongues, and Babylon’s downfall, Are nothing to the man’s renewed birth; First, let the Law plough up thy wicked heart, That Christ may come, and all these types depart. When thou hast swept the house that all is clear, When thou the dust hast shaken from thy feet, When God’s All-might doth in thy flesh appear, Then seas with streams above by sky do meet; For goodness only doth God comprehend, Knows what was first, and what shall be the end.
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Complete Works of William Shakespeare

290

Jacob Boehme (1575 - 1624)
Jacob Boehme is an early Lutheran mystic who powerfully influenced the direction of Christianity in Northern Europe in the decades following the Reformation. Called the "Teutonic Theosopher," and sometimes “Apostle to the Quakers,” Boehme was a devout but unschooled shoemaker, who experienced an intense vision of the spiritual world while a youth. This vision set him on a journey to articulate the deep meanings of God and creation. Jacob Boehme's significance is that he helped bring about a resurgence in mysticism and devotion during the seventeenth century. He was a quiet and simple man without formal education. His writings often offended the local clergy, yet he said that he constantly relied upon the living Word of Jesus Christ and the New Testament as the foundation for his inspirations. To his future readers he writes, "Beloved reader, if you want to understand the high mysteries, you do not need to put a university upon your nose or any such spectacles.... To understand them is child's play if only you will let the Holy Spirit illumine your coming." His ecological importance lies in the vision he presents of heaven and earth integrated through Jesus Christ.

God's truth in nature Everything we see in nature is manifested truth; only we are not able to recognize it as such, unless truth is manifest within ourselves... Look at the flowers of the fields; each one has its own particular attributes. Nevertheless they do not wrangle and fight with each other. They do not quarrel about the possession of sunshine as is daily provided by the philosophers who are disputing about the attributes and the will of God, and who nevertheless do not know God, because they do not listen to the word of God within their souls.
The Aurora

The world as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit “The whole external world with its physical substance is a covering of the radiant spiritual world,” he declares, referring to a profoundly transforming experience which came to him while in the forest: In this light my spirit suddenly saw through all, and in and by all the creatures, even in herbs and grass, it knew God, who He is and how He is and what His will is. And suddenly in that light my will was set on by a mighty impulse to describe the Being of God.
The Signature of All Things 9:1 291

The location of heaven is within I am not collecting my knowledge from letters and books, but I have it within my own self; because heaven and earth and all their inhabitants, and moreover, God himself, is in man.
The Aurora

Reflection on human responsibility In this world we have nothing of our own, and we ourselves are not our own. We are only workers and foreign guests in this world for a short time. We are only managers for our God over His creation and creatures. What we work and produce we do not only for ourselves but for our God and our neighbor, and that all together we are one in Christ (who is) our salvation, (and) who is Himself in all of us. We are to heartily and willingly wish to share the gifts that God gives us through our prayer, be they heavenly or earthly, and to keep ourselves as the tree does its branches, or the earth does, giving itself willingly to all its fruits, loving and bearing all of them.
The Way to Christ 3:7

Reflection on dominion The student said, "God created man in the natural life so that he might have dominion over all the creatures on earth and be Lord over all life in this world. Therefore he must possess it as his own." The master said, "If you only rule externally over the creatures, you are, with your willing and ruling, bestial, and stand only in a formal and transitory lordship. Moreover, if you lead your desire into bestial essence, you will be infected and trapped and receive a bestial way of life. But if you have left the images, you are above the images and rule in the ground over all creatures out of which they were created and nothing on earth can harm you, for you are like all things and nothing is unlike you."
The Way to Christ 6:8

The Word of God in the world The visible world with its host of creatures is nothing else that the emanated Word which has disposed itself into qualities, as in qualities the particular will has arisen. And with the receptivity of the will, the creaturely life arose.
The Aurora 292

Allegiance of the true Christian A Christian has no sect. He can live among sects, even appear in their services, and will not be attached to any. He has only one doctrine and that is Christ within him. He looks only for one way, which is the desire always to do right and to live right. And he puts all his knowing and willing into Christ's life. He sighs continually, and wishes that God's will might be done within him, and that His Kingdom might come within him. Daily and hourly he mortifies the sins of his flesh.
The Way to Christ, "On the Regeneration," 7:5

Grasping God in creation If you consider the depth of heaven, the stars, the elements, and the earth, you will, of course, not grasp with your eyes the pure and clear Godhead, although God is there and within it; but if you rise up in your thoughts and direct your mind to God, who in His holiness rules within the All, you are then penetrating through heaven and grasping the very sacred heart of God himself.
The Aurora, xxiii, 11

The eternal is hidden in the temporal In each external thing there are two qualities, one originating from time and the other from eternity. The first or temporal quality is manifest, the other one is hidden.
The Signature of All Things, ch. 4, para. 17.

The earth is filled with life If you behold the earth and the rocks, you will acknowledge that there is life in them. For if this were not so, there would be in them neither gold nor silver, and neither herbs nor grasses.
The Aurora, 19:57

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The earthly influence of the stars "All that lives and exists is awakened and brought to life by the stars.... In the constellations are the cause of all art and science, also of all order and harmony in this world, because they awaken the trees and metals, enabling them to grow. In the earth is contained everything that is contained within the stars...." Boehme goes on to say that the actual realization of this relationship requires an understanding of the macrocosmic nature of the human being. Without this practical realization, the academic study of this statement is difficult and of little use. This realization is possible only through the power of divine love.
The Threefold Life, ch. vii, 46 and 48.

The signatures in nature The whole outward visible world with all its being is a signature, or figure of the inward spiritual world; whatever is internally, and however its operation is, so likewise it has its character externally; like as the spirit of each creature sets forth and manifests the internal form of its birth by its body, so does the Eternal Being also.
"The Signature of All Things," chapter 9, para. 1.

Dominion over nature through self-dominion God has placed man above the officer (the agent or "governor" of dominion), and ordained him in the understanding to his own dominion; He has ability to change nature, and to turn evil into good, provided that first he has changed himself, otherwise he cannot; so long as he is dead in the understanding, so long he is the servant and slave of the officer; but when he is made alive in God, then the officer is his servant.
"The Signature of All Things," chapter 8, para. 26

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Hearing the Word of God The disciple said to his master: Sir, how may I come to the supersensual life, so that I may see God and may hear God speak? The master answered: Son, when thou can throw thyself into THAT, where no creature dwells, though it be but for a moment, then you hear what God speaks.
Of the Supersensual Life, Dialogue 1

How creation is a manifestation of God The creation of the whole creation is nothing else but a manifestation of the alleternal, unsearchable God; all whatever he is in his eternal unbeginning generation and dominion, of that is also the creation, but not in the omnipotence and power, but like an apple which grows upon the tree, which is not the tree itself, but grows from the power of the tree: Even so all things are sprung forth out of the divine desire, and created into an essence, where in the beginning there was no such essence present, but only that same mystery of the eternal generation, in which there has been an eternal perfection.
"The Signature of All Things," chapter 16, para. 1

All things are both in time and eternity As the Deity, viz. the divine light, is the center of all life; so also in the manifestation of God, viz. in the figure, the sun is the center of all life. ... In every external thing, there are two properties; one from time, the other from eternity; the first property of time is manifest; and the other is hidden, yet it sets forth a likeness after itself in each thing.
"The Signature of All Things," chap. 4, par. 18.

The greatest challenge in understanding the mysteries of creation The greatest obstacle in the understanding of the doctrines in regard to divine mysteries is that the student imagines that they are dealing with things existing outside of himself and with which he is not concerned. But these doctrines are called "secret," not because they are not to be revealed, except to a few favorites, but because they cannot be understood unless the reader can free himself from that delusive conception of self which causes him to fancy that he is something separated from the rest of the world, not only in regard to his bodily form, but also in regard to his real foundations.
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“The Restoration of Nature and the Generation of Man,” in The Doctrines of Jacob Boehme, the Godtaught Philosopher, Franz Hartmann, Macoy Publ. Co., New York, NY, 1919, p. 131.

The nature of plants When I thus see a plant, then I say truthfully: this is an image of the earth-spirit in which the upper powers rejoice, regarding it as their child. For the earth-spirit is one substance with the upper eternal powers. And when the plant is matured it blooms, and the “oleous” spirit signifies itself by beautiful colors. And with the pleasant smell of the blossom the tincture, or third principle, signifies itself.
The Way to Christ, ch. 3, 25

An experience of God's presence in creation Jakob Boehme describes an experience he once had while in praying in the woods. "No words can express the great joy and triumph which I then experienced.... While in that state, my spirit immediately saw through everything, and recognized God in all things, even in herbs and grasses, and it knew what is God and what is His will.
The Aurora 19:4

The visible springs from the invisible The visible world is sprung from the spiritual world... it is a subject or object resembling the spiritual world; the visible subsists in the spiritual.
The Works of Jacob Boehme, with figures Illustrating, London, 1764, Vol. II, 18.

God's presence in creation Open your eyes, and behold, the whole world is full of God.

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Surrender opens the door to experience Oh, how near is God to all things. Nevertheless, nothing can comprehend Him unless it be tranquil and surrenders to Him its own self-will. If this is accomplished, then will God be acting through the instrumentality of everything, like the sun that acts throughout the whole world.
The Way to Christ

Understanding God's presence Oh, how near is God to all things. Nevertheless, nothing can comprehend Him unless it be tranquil and surrenders to Him its own self-will. If this is accomplished, then will God be acting through the instrumentality of everything, like the sun that acts throughout the whole world.
The Way to Christ

Prayer for right relationship to creation For this I thank you, That You have created me in your image; And You have placed your wonders under my hands, So that I may know them and rejoice in your Creation. I pray to you, Eternal God, Give me understanding and wisdom, That I might not misuse your creation But make use of it only for my needs And for the good of my neighbor, myself and my family. Give me gratitude for your gifts, so that my mind does not say, “This is mine, I have bought it. I will possess it alone. I am noble with it, majestic and beautiful; It belongs to me because of my honor and glory.” All this comes from the devil and the grevious fall of Adam.
Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 53 297

God and the elements form each other The Virgin [wisdom] is visible like a pure Spirit, and the elements are her body... the holy Earth... and into this the invisible Deity is entered, that the Deity is in the pure element and the element is in the Deity; for God and the element are become one thing, not only in Spirit, but in substance.
Chart of the Three Principles, quoted in J. Stoudt, Sunrise to Eternity: A Study of Jacob Boehme, U. of Penn. Press, 1974, p. 72.

Spiritual regeneration Spiritual regeneration does not depend upon learning and scientific knowledge; but there must be an intense and powerful earnest, a great hunger and thirst for the Spirit of Christ.

The world as battleground For Boehme the whole exterior world is but a covering for the spiritual world. He describes how the person who purifies mind and soul can sense the presence of God in all creatures. Already now, he writes, “heaven pervades the whole world...,” but at the same time it is also a battleground with strife and struggle with the power of the evil one, “the prince of darkness.” This thou seest also in all God’s works, how love hath poured itself into all things and is the most inward and outward foundation of all things.... That, O God, is Thy inward spiritual kingdom as Thou dwellest in that which is hidden and fillest all Thy creatures and workest Thyself and doest all in all.... The true heaven is everywhere in this present time until the last day, and the house of wrath, of hell and death, is also in this world, now, everywhere, until the last day.... Then will the earth, too, become crystalline, and the divine light will shine in all beings.
Gebetbüchlein, 1624, 47, and The Aurora, xxv, 20, as quoted in Nicholas Arseniev, Mysticism and the Eastern Church, Student Christian Movement, Marburg, Germany, 1926, and reprinted by SVS Press, New York, 1979, pp. 115-116.

The signature of all things
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All whatever is spoken, written, or taught of God, without the knowledge of the signature is dumb and void of understanding.... For though I see one to teach, preach, and write of God, and though I hear and read the same, this is not sufficient for me to understand him (God); but if his sound and spirit out of his signature and similitude enter into my own similitude, and imprint his similitude into mine, then I may understand him really, be it spoken or written, if he has the hammer that can strike my bell. ... There is nothing that is created or born in nature, but it also manifests its internal form externally, for the internal continually labors or works itself into manifestation: As we know it in the power and form of this world, how the one essence has manifested itself with the external birth in the desire of the similitude, how it has manifested itself in so many forms and shapes, which we see and know in the stars and elements, likewise in the living creatures, and also in the trees and herbs. Therefore the greatest understanding lies in the signature, wherein man (viz. the image of The Greatest Virtue) may not only learn to know himself, but also he may learn to know the essence of all essences; for by the external form of creatures, by their instigation, inclination, and desire, also by their sound, voice, and speech which they utter, the hidden spirit is known. For nature has given to everything its language according to its essence and form, for out of the essence the language or sound arises, and that essence forms the quality of the essence in the voice or virtue which it sends forth.... Everything has its mouth to manifestation; and this is the language of nature, whence everything speaks out of its property, and continually manifests, declares, and sets forth itself for what is good or profitable; for each thing manifests its mother, which thus gives the essence and the will to the form.
The Signature of All Things, William Law translation, Ch. 1:1-2; 15-17

The location of heaven The true heaven is everywhere, even in that very place where thou standest and goest; and so when thy spirit presses through the astral and fleshly, and apprehends the inmost moving of God, then it is clearly in heaven.
The Confessions, as cited in The Quotable Spirit, Macmillan, New York, p. 7

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George Herbert (1593 - 1633)
George Herbert represents all that is lofty, noble and principled in English spirituality. He was born after the English Reformation, well educated and possessed a powerful intellect. While opportunities for public service were abundant in London, he chose to serve as parson in a simple country parish. His spirit was nurtured by Cranmer's "Book of Common Prayer," and by personal example he soon had his entire rural parish participating in morning Matins and evening "Evensong." Through devotion to regular morning and evening prayer, he developed a radiant holiness which shines through his poetry and proverbs. His emphasis on simplicity and moderation in possessions, the beauty of flowers, trees and the many lessons from God's good creation fill his writings and provide an example of an integrated concern for God and nature that gives us an inspiring model for today.

Teach me, my God and King Teach me, my God and King, In all things thee to see; And what I do in anything To do it as for thee! A man that looks on glass, On it may stay his eye; Or if he pleaseth, through it pass, And then the heavens espy. All may of Thee partake; Nothing can be so mean, Which with this tincture, “for thy sake,” Will not grow bright and clean. A servant with this clause Makes drudgery divine; Who sweeps a room, as for thy laws, Makes that and the action fine. This is the famous stone That turneth all to gold; For that which God doth touch and own Cannot for less be told.
The Complete Works of George Herbert 300

Providence II Of all creatures, both in sea and land Only to man thou hast made known thy ways, And put the pen alone into his hands, And made him secretary of thy praise. Man is the world’s High Priest: he doth present The sacrifice for all: while they below Unto thy service mutter an ascent, Such as springs use that fall, and winds that blow.
The Complete Works of George Herbert

Brotherhood in all parts of creation Man is all symmetrie Full of proportions, one limbe to another And all to all the world besides; Each part may call the furthest brother, For head with foot hath private amitie, And both with moon and tides.
Quoted from “A Message from the Seventeenth Century,” in Earthkeeping News, St. Paul, MN, Nov-Dec. 1999, p. 2

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William Penn (1644 - 1718)
William Penn, sometimes called the “first great hero of American liberty” because of his outspoken insistence on religious freedom, is an early Quaker and the founder of the Pennsylvania colony. He established a model of respect toward Native Americans and was known for advocating vigorous spiritual practice as fundamental for healthy, stable community. He saw religious value in farming; found heavenly lessons in the land; and advocated prosperity through obedience to God and participation in local government. The country life The country life is to be preferred, for there we see the works of God, but in cities little else but the works of men.
The Harper Religious and Inspirational Quotation Companion, pg. 120.

How little we learn the lessons of the world The world is certainly a great and stately volume of natural things, and may be styled the hieroglyphics of a better one, but, alas, how very few leaves of it do we seriously turn over!
Some Fruits of Solitude (1692)

The Creator’s face in creation It would go a long way to caution and direct people in their use of the world that they were better studied and known in the creation of it. For how could man find the confidence to abuse it, while they should see the Great Creator stare them in the face, in all and every part thereof?
Some Fruits of Solitude (1692)

The library of the philosopher The country is both the philosopher’s garden and his library, in which he reads and contemplates the power, wisdom and goodness of God.
Quoted in The Wisdom of Nature, Dayton Foster, editor, Naturgraph Publ., Happy Camp, 302

CA 1993, p. 124

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Cotton Mather (1663 - 1728)
An early American Puritan clergyman, he once addressed the Royal Society in London on the subject of natural phenomena as found in God's book of creatures. He authored a text, significant in his time, titled, "Brontologia Sacra," in which he pondered over “the sacred lessons of thunder” and other meteorological phenomena. Cotton Mather also authored The Christian Philosopher which was the first comprehensive attempt in America to reconcile religion and the new science. Even though he concludes that the study of nature leads to a deeper appreciation of God through His works, it is during his lifetime that a popular understanding of Christ’s presence in creation fades from Protestant churches which contributes to a sharply diminished theological understanding of creation. With this erosion a parallel decline occurs in understanding of how to discern spiritual lessons from creation. While Mather is able to cite historical knowledge about learning from creation, and even shows an ability to write about it, albeit shallowly, by his era the practical dimensions of a Christian “natural literacy” regarding creation was largely lost and forgotten. His ecological significance lies perhaps in his conscious but nevertheless feeble and inadequate effort to preserve this fading understanding.

The two-fold book of God Chrysostom, I remember, mentions a two-fold book of God: the book of the creatures, and the book of the scriptures: God having taught us first of all by his works, did it afterwards, by his Words. We will now for a while read the former of these books; 'twill help us in reading the latter. They will admirably assist one another.
The Christian Philosopher, pg. 104

The study of nature The world is well-planned, ordered and beautiful... [so that to study nature] is to realize God’s goodness, and therefore, that man can appreciate God by the exercise of observation and reason.
The Christian Philosopher

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A French Jesuit from the southern province of Quercy near Toulouse, Jean Pierre de Caussade is a widely acclaimed spiritual director. He simplified the search for God by teaching that God is to be found in the duty of every moment. When performed in the conscious presence of Jesus Christ, every event, he writes, becomes a sacramental experience of God’s plan. Even though he sought anonymity, his letters of spiritual instruction to the Visitation nuns in the city of Nancy were kept and bound. In 1861 just over 110 years after his death these letters were published under the title “Abandonment to Divine Providence.” Among his themes, he teaches that God can be experienced by every person through every thing and in every moment. Then awareness of the meaning of each creature’s place in the divine plan becomes possible. To him, creation is a great book in which the reverent may study the eternal mysteries of God.

Divinity fills creation The divine activity permeates the whole universe. It pervades every creature. Wherever they are, it is there. He moves about the smallest blades of grass as well as above the mighty cedar. The grains of sand are under His feet as well as the huge mountains. Wherever you may turn, there you will find His footprints!
Abandonment to Divine Providence

In the hand of God All created things are living in the hand of God. The senses see only the action of the creatures, but faith sees in everything the action of God.
Abandonment to Divine Providence

God’s love is present in every creature Both reason and faith tell us that God’s love is present in every creature and in every event, just as Jesus Christ and the Church inform us that the sacred body and blood of God are truly present in the Eucharist. His love wishes to unite itself with us through all that the world contains, all that he has created, obtained and allowed. ... Every moment of our lives can be a kind of communion with his love, a communion which can produce in our souls fruits similar to those we receive with the body and blood of the son of God. What a festival and never-ending feast is ours! God ceaselessly gives himself and is received with no pomp and circumstance, but is hidden beneath all that is weak and foolish and worthless.
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Abandonment to Divine Providence, ch. 2, “Embrace the Present Moment,” Nr. 7

Jesus Christ lives in every thing All creatures live in the hands of God. By our senses we can see only the action of the creature, but faith sees the Creator acting in all things. Faith sees that Jesus Christ lives in everything and works through all history to the end of time. The actions of created beings are veils which hide the profound mysteries of the workings of God.
Abandonment to Divine Providence, ch. 2, “Embrace the Present Moment,” Nr. 1

The ultimate value of knowledge and ideas The concept of every single thing in the entire universe has been with the eternal wisdom for all time. As the ages pass, God allows these concepts and ideas to emerge. Now suppose that you knew all the concepts which have nothing to do with you. ... It is surely clear that we shall not assume that image which the eternal wisdom wishes us to have by trying to understand all the mysterious activities of God down through the centuries. We can receive God’s seal on our souls only by abandoning our will to him, not by any efforts of our reason.
Abandonment to Divine Providence, ch. 2, “Only God’s activity can make us holy,” Nr. 12

As we use creation, we use the manifestations of God As God is in all things, the use we make of them is not actually the use of creatures, but the delight of obeying his will expressed through so m any diverse channels.
Abandonment to Divine Providence, ch. 4: 4

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An attitude toward the creatures We should regard all creatures as very feeble tools serving God’s purpose. If we had faith, we should be grateful to all creatures, cherish them and thank them silently for their good will in helping us, by God’s design, toward perfection.
Abandonment to Divine Providence, ch. 2, “The Activity of God is everywhere..., ” Nr. 1

When faith shows us God in creation There is no peace more wonderful than the peace we enjoy when faith shows us God in all created things.
JPC quoted in The Networking News, Newsletter of the Commission on the Environment, Colorado Council of Churches, Denver, Colorado, Fall, 2001, p. 4.

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St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696 - 1787)
Alphonsus Liguori was a practical man, as familiar with the small farms of rural Italy as with the seminary halls of Rome. By training Alphonsus was first a lawyer, but his heart and much of his pastoral work was first among the poor of Naples. He was also a poet, a musician and something of a “late bloomer,” for he waited until the ripe age of 79 to begin his most important writing, Moral Theology, for which the Roman Catholic Church has named him a "Doctor of the Church." Alphonsus was relentless in his intensity and his perseverance was indomitable, perhaps because he once vowed not to lose a single moment of time. During his life he was known for his intercessions which healed the sick; for his ability to read the secrets of hearts and for a penetrating insight that even foretold the future. He once fell into a clairvoyant trance at Arienzo in 1774, and was present in spirit at the death-bed in Rome of Pope Clement XIV. For him, the surrounding southern Italian countryside imbued him with a sense of God giving us “the earth and its beauty as a foretaste of the beauties and glory of heaven.” As he explained it, God has infused His radiant presence into all aspects of creation.

How God's presence sustains us God is in the water to wash us, in the fire to warm us, in the sun to nourish us, in the clothes to cover us, and in like manner in all others things that he has created for our use.
Charles Cummings, osb, Eco-Spirituality, Paulist Press, 1991, p. 50

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John Wesley (1701 - 1791)
Born in England, John Wesley came to colonial Georgia in 1726 to assist in missionary work among the Native American tribes. In 1782, after many years of selfless labor during which he acquired a reputation as an inspired preacher and speaker, he wrote a landmark sermon entitled "The General Deliverance." Here he outlines an eschatological view of creation which includes a right human attitude toward the creatures. The spirituality of John Wesley is centered upon perfect love, purity of heart and intention, and continual seeking after the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Dominion is fundamental to this seeking after the Holy Spirit and Wesley defines this requirement as "the conveyance of divine blessings" from God into both man and the world. He sees responsibility for dominion in terms of each person serving as a "governor" of the earth and "viceregent" on behalf of God and under God. Through dominion, Wesley writes, "all the blessings of God flowed through him (man) to the inferior creatures." For his day, John Wesley demonstrated a keen understanding of natural processes. He emphasized that the eventual redemption of creation requires human respect and beneficence toward all of God’s creatures.

Creation's restoration In the new earth, as well as in the new heavens, there will be nothing to give pain, but everything that the wisdom of God and goodness of God can create to give happiness.
Sermon: The General Deliverance

Dominion and creation "All the blessings of God flow through him (man) to the inferior creatures." To Wesley, dominion is clearly not any kind of exploitation, but a "conveyance of divine blessings."
Sermon: The General Deliverance

Each creature has a share in the heavenly life The whole brute creation will be restored, not only to the vigor, strength, and swiftness which they had at their creation, but to a far higher degree of each than they ever enjoyed. They will be restored, not only to that measure of understanding which they had in paradise, but to a degree of it much higher than that of as the understanding of an elephant is beyond that of a worm....
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In that day all the vanity to which they are now subject will be abolished; they will suffer no more either from within or without; the days of their groaning are ended.... and they shall enjoy happiness suited to their state, without alloy, without interruption, and without end. One more excellent end may undoubtedly be answered by the preceding considerations. They (the creatures) may encourage us to imitate Him whose mercy is over all His works. They may soften our hearts toward the meaner creatures, knowing that the Lord careth for them. It may enlarge our hearts towards these poor creatures to reflect that, as vile as they appear to our eyes, not one of them is forgotten in the sight of our Father which in heaven.
Sermon: The General Deliverance

Love creatures for the sake of God, not for their own sake Deliver me, O God, from all idolatrous love of any creature. I know infinite numbers have been lost to you by loving those creatures for their own sake, which you permit, nay, even command, to love subordinately to you. Preserve me, I beseech you, from all such blind affection; be a guard to my desires, that they fix on no creature any farther than the love of it tends to build me up in the love of you.
Prayers for Every Day of the Week: Sunday evening, 1733

Seeking Christian perfection Whatever (the Christian who seeks perfection) does, it is all to the glory of God. In all his employments of every kind, he not only aims at this (which is implied in having a single eye), but actually attains it. His business and his refreshments, as well as his prayers, all serve to this great end. Whether he sit in the house, or walk by the way, whether he lie down or rise up, he is promoting in all he speaks, or does, the one business of his life.... Nor do the customs of this world at all hinder his running the race which is set before him. He cannot, therefore, lay up treasures upon earth, no more than he can take fire into his own bosom....
A Plain Account of Christian Perfection 10:10-11

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Jesus Christ leads us to creation concern I believe in my heart that faith in Jesus Christ can and will lead us beyond an exclusive concern for the well-being of other human beings, to a broader concern for the well-being of the birds in our backyards, the fish in our rivers, and every living creature on the face of the earth.
Quoted by Rev. Finley Schaef, in “Earthkeeping News,” The Newsletter of the North Amer. Conference on Christianity and Ecology (NACCE), January, 1997, pg. 2.

Doing God's will in earth as it is in heaven When therefore we pray that the will of God may be done in earth as it is in heaven, the meaning is that all the inhabitants of the earth, even the whole race of mankind, may do the will of their Father which is in Heaven, as willingly as the holy angels; that these may do it continually, even as they, without any interruption of their willing service; yea and that they may do it perfectly, that "the God of peace, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, may make them perfect in every good work to do his will, and work in them" all "which is well-pleasing in his sight."
A Meditation on the Lord's Prayer 10:1 (1748)

Human dominion over the creatures To this creature, God said, “Have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” ... So man was God’s viceregent upon the earth, the prince and governor of this lower world; and all the blessings of God flowed through him to the inferior creatures. Man was the channel of conveyance between his Creator and the whole brute creation. ... What makes the barrier between man and brutes? The line which they cannot pass? It was not reason. ... But it is this: man is capable of God; the inferior creatures are not. ... This is the specific difference between man and brute -- the great gulf which they cannot pass over. And as a loving obedience to God was the perfection of men, so a loving obedience to God was the perfection of men, so a loving obedience to man was the perfection of the brutes. ... As all the blessings of God in paradise flowed through man to the inferior creatures; as man was the great channel of communication between the Creator and the whole brute creation. When man made himself incapable of transmitting those blessings, that communication was necessarily cut off. ... And then it was that ‘the creature,’ every creature, was subject to vanity, to sorrow, to pain of every kind, to all manner of evils. ...
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As man is deprived of his perfection, his loving obedience to God, so the brutes are deprived of their perfection, their loving obedience to man.
Sermon 60, “The General Deliverance,” 1:2-2:3, as quoted in The Works of John Wesley, Vol. 2, edited by Albert Outler, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1985

A reflection about the purpose of the animals In reflecting upon the purpose of so many species of animals, Wesley offers the following commentary: They may encourage us to imitate him whose mercy is over all of his works. They may soften our hearts towards the meaner creatures, knowing that the Lord cares for them. It may enlarge our hearts towards those poor creatures to reflect that, as vile as they appear in our eyes, not one of them is forgotten in the sight of our Father which is in heaven. ... Yea, let us habituate ourselves to look forward, beyond this present scene of bondage, to the happy time when they will be delivered therefrom into the liberty of the children of God.
Sermon 60, “The General Deliverance,” 10, as quoted in The Works of John Wesley, Vol. 2, edited by Albert Outler, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1985, pg. 449.

The book of nature The Book of Nature is written in an universal character, which everyone may read in his own language. It contains not words, but things which picture out the Divine perfection. The firmament everywhere expanded, with all its starry host, declares the immensity and magnificence, the power and wisdom of its Creator.
Sermons

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Jonathan Edwards (1703 - 1758)
A Congregational minister famous for his fire-and-brimstone preaching, Edwards showed a gentle reflective side in his love for contemplative solitude in the midst of nature. He could sense God, he said, in a thunderstorm and feel the divine majesty and grace on a sunny day. About his view of the distant Berkshire mountains, he writes, "There are many things wherein we may behold His awful majesty" and he relates that we could easily make a study of how "...comets, thunder clouds, and ragged rocks and the brows of mountains" inform our faith. Edwards says that nature should draw the faithful into introspective meditation and the abandonment of self. Everywhere, creation proclaimed God's exceeding excellence. To Edwards the Puritan landscape was bursting with spiritual insight and meaning. Edwards' contribution to an early American ethic of the land relates to his understanding of covenant as God's promise to be here in creation and to be faithful in fulfilling his promises to his people everywhere throughout the land. From this derives his view that if humans are faithful to God, God in His goodness provides abundantly for their needs through creation.

God's excellency dwells in every thing God's excellency, his wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear in every thing in the sun, moon and stars; in the clouds, and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water, and all nature; which used greatly to fix my mind. I often used to sit and view the moon for continuance; and in the day, spent much time in viewing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things.
quoted in Anne Fremantle, The Protestant Mystics, pg. 126. from Charles Cummings, ocso, pg. 54

Reflections of God's glory We have shown that the Son of God created the world for this very end, to communicate Himself in an image of His own excellency.... So that, when we are delighted with flowery meadows and gentle breezes of wind, we may consider that we see only the emanations of the sweet benevolence of Jesus Christ. When we behold the fragrant rose and lily, we see His love and purity. So the green trees and fields, and singing of birds, are the emanations of His infinite joy and benignity. The easiness and
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naturalness of trees and vines are shadows of His beauty and loveliness. The crystal rivers and murmuring streams are the footsteps of His favor, grace, and beauty. When we behold the light and brightness of the sun, the golden edges of an evening cloud, or the beauteous (rain)bow, we behold the adumbrations of His glory and goodness; and in the blue sky, of his mildness and gentleness.
Observations, pg. 94 as quoted in Alexander Allen, Jonathan Edwards, New York, Burt Franklin Reprints, 1975, pg. 355.

Contemplations in nature I walked alone, in a solitary place in my father’s pasture, for contemplation. And as I was walking there, and looking up on the sky and clouds, there came to my mind so sweet a sense of the glorious majesty and grace of God, that I know not how to express (it). I seemed to see them both in a sweet conjunction; majesty and meekness joined together; it was a sweet and gentle, and holy majesty; and also a majestic meekness; an awful sweetness; a high and great and holy gentleness. After this my sense of divine things gradually increased, and became more and more lively, and had more of that inward sweetness. The appearance of every thing was altered; there seemed to be, as it were, a calm, sweet cast, of appearance of divine glory, in almost every thing. God’s excellency, his wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear in every thing; in the sun, moon and stars; in the clouds and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water and all nature; which used greatly to fix my mind. I often used to sit and ... spent much time viewing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things.... And scarce any thing, among all the works of nature, was so sweet to me as thunder and lightening; formerly nothing had been so terrible to me. Before, I used to be uncommonly terrified with thunder, and to be struck with terror when I saw a thunder storm rising; but now, on the contrary it rejoiced me. I felt God, so to speak, at the first appearance of a thunder storm; and used to take the opportunity, at such times, to fix myself in order to view the clouds, and hear the majestic and awful voice of God’s thunder, which oftentimes was exceedingly entertaining, leading me to sweet contemplations of my great and glorious God. When thus engaged, it always seemed natural to me to sing, or chant for my meditations; or, to speak my thoughts in soliloquies with a singing voice.
Edwards Works, Vol. 1, Austin’s edition, 1808.

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Lessons from the spider There are some things that I have happily seen of the wondrous and curious works of the spider. Although everything pertaining to this insect is admirable, yet there are some phenomena more particularly wonderful. Everybody that is used to the country knows of their marching [the spiders] in the air from one tree to another, though they are wholly destitute of wings; nor can one go out in a dewy morning at the latter end of August, but he shall see multitudes of webs reaching from one tree and shrub to another. But I have often seen that which is yet more astonishing. I have seen vast multitudes of little shining webs and glistening strings, brightly reflecting the sunbeams, and some of them of a great length, and at such height that one would think that they were tacked to the vault of the heavens.... And this the spider’s way of working.... Hence, the wisdom of the Creator in providing of the spider with that wonderful liquor with which their bottle tail is filled, that may so easily be drawn out so exceedingly fine and being in this way exposed to air will so immediately convert to a dry substance that shall be so very rare as to be lighter than air, and will so excellently serve to all their purposes. Hence the exuberant goodness of the Creator, who hath not only provided for all the necessities, but also for the pleasure and recreation of all sorts of creatures, even the insects. These, Sir, are the observations I have had opportunity to make on the wonders that are to be seen in the most despicable of animals. Although these things appear in the main very certain to me, I submit it all to your better judgement. I humbly beg to be pardoned for running the venture of troubling you with so prolix an account. Pardon me if I thought it might at least give you occasion to make better observations on these wondrous animals, that should be worthy of communicating to the learned world, from whose glistening webs so much of the wisdom of the Creator shines.
Letter, Windsor, Connecticut, October 31, 1723

How the material world is preserved The whole material world is preserved by gravity or attraction, or the mutual tendency of all bodies to each other. One part of the universe is hereby made beneficial to another; the beauty, harmony and order, regular progress, life and motion, and in short all the well-being of the whole frame depends on it. This is a type of love or charity in the spiritual world.
Quoted in G. S. Hendry, Theology of Nature, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, pp. 20-21, and cited in Ian Bradley, God is Green: Ecology for Christians, Image-Doubleday, 1992, p. 45

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John Woolman (1720 - 1772)
John Woolman opens his journal of 1774 by penning, “I was born in Northampton, in Burlington County, West Jersey, in the year 1720....” An early Quaker, preacher and pioneer abolitionist, John Woolman from his youth was a zealous member of the Society of Friends (Quakers). He despised those who mistreated animals or owned slaves and advocated compassion for all creatures. He once authored a Quaker pamphlet entitled, "Advice and Queries," which insisted that Christian doctrine and law sets no limit upon love and kindness, and thus these qualities must be applied to all creatures as well as God and people. He advocated for conservation in dealing with the trees and whales before others spoke on these issues. He especially called for the need for humility in lifestyle so that “being content with a plain way of life,” citizens might have “more true peace and calmness of mind than they who, aspiring to greatness and outward show, have grasped.”

Tenderness toward all creatures I believe that where the love of God is verily perfected and the true spirit of government watchfully attended to, a tenderness toward creatures made subject to us will be experienced, and a care felt in us that we do not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation which the Great Creator intends for them under our government.
quoted in C. W. Hume, The Status of Animals in the Christian Religion, London, 1957, pg. 59

The produce of the earth is a gift from God The produce of the earth is a gift from our gracious Creator to the inhabitants, and to impoverish the earth now to support outward greatness appears to be an injury to the succeeding age.
Quaker Faith and Practice by Harvey Gillman, in "From Faith into Practice," Water Works, Hackette, Arkansas, October, 1995, pg. 24.

An effect of creation care I looked upon the works of God in this visible creation, and an awfulness covered me: my heart was tender and often contrite, and a universal love to my fellow creatures was increased in me.
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Today's gain may be tomorrow's pain I look up the works of God in its visible creation and an awfulness covers me. The produce of the earth is a gift from our gracious Creator... and to impoverish the earth now, to support outward greatness, appears to be an injury to the succeeding age...
Journal, as quoted by Robert Wixom, Teaching Sustainable Development, Univ. of Missouri Press & FCUN, 1996, ch. 14, pg. 1.

Silence leads to detachment In true silence strength is renewed, and the mind is weaned from all things, save as they may be enjoyed in the Divine Will; and a lowliness in outward living, opposite to worldly honor, becomes truly acceptable to us.
Journal, 1774

The principle underlying respect for animals I was early convinced that true religion consisted in an inward life, wherein the heart doth love and reverence God the Creator, and learn to exercise true justice and goodness, not only toward men, but also the brute creatures; that as the mind was moved on an inward principle to love God as an invisible, incomprehensible being, on the same principle it was moved to love him in all his manifestations in the world; and as by his breath the flame of life was kindled in all animal and sensitive creatures, to say we love God as unseen and at the same time exercise cruelty toward the least creature moving by his life, or by life derived from him, was a contradiction itself.
Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 45

Christian duty toward the creatures So great is the hurry in the spirit of this world, that in aiming to do business quickly and to gain wealth the creation at this day doth loudly groan.... A Christian must exercise goodness toward every living creature.
Journal, 1774, p. 319 321

St. Nikephoros of Chios (1750 - 1821)
St. Nikephoros lived on the small Aegean Island of Chios and never once left it for the Greek mainland. As a chronically sick young boy his parents vowed that if he could be healed of what appeared to be a certainly fatal illness, they would dedicate him into God's service through a local monastery. All of his life, Nikephoros lived close to the land, and he used every opportunity to teach that trees are a primary source of future community wealth. He spent much of his life planting trees of many kinds and when his parents died, he sold his entire inheritance to assist in additional tree planting throughout the island.

A lack of trees brings poverty In future times, he says, "men will become poor because they will not have a love for trees...."
quoted in Constantine Cavarnos, Modern Orthodox Saints: Volume IV, "The Life of St. Nikephoros of Chios," The Institute for Byzantine Studies, Belmont, MA 1976, pg. 30.

Trees and the love of God If you don't love trees, you don't love God.
quoted in Constantine Cavarnos, Modern Orthodox Saints: Volume IV, "The Life of St. Nikephoros of Chios," The Institute for Byzantine Studies, Belmont, MA 1976, pg. 30.

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William Blake (1757 - 1827)
"I do not behold the outward creation... it is a hindrance and not action." In this way William Blake, renowned painter, engraver and poet, explained why his work was filled with religious visions rather than with subjects from everyday life. Few people in his time realized that Blake expressed these visions with a talent that approached genius. He lived in near poverty most of his life; he was ignored by the public of his day; he died largely unrecognized. Today, Blake is known as one of England's great figures of art and literature and one of the most inspired and original painters of his era. He was a follower of Emanuel Swedenborg, mostly because Swedenborg offered a mystic interpretation of Christianity which satisfied Blake’s hunger for a deeper, more profound view of God and creation. His ecological contribution lies in his assertion that every thing in creation has infinite depth and meaning rooted in the cosmic nature of creation.

Every cell opens into eternity And every space smaller than a globule of man's blood opens into Eternity of which this vegetable Earth is but a shadow.
Milton, Book 1,31

In the elements of the world are hid the whole creation To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour
Auguries of Innocence

Everything that lives is holy For every thing that lives is holy, life delights in life; Because the soul of sweet delight can never be defiled.
America: A Prophecy, Plate 8 (1793)

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The tree The Tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way.

In nature we see as we are Some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. As man is, so he sees.
Ballads

Through creation to the Creator Everything that lives is holy. If the doors of perception were cleansed, Everything would appear to man as it is – infinite. He who sees the infinite in all things sees God. To create a little flower is the labor of ages. What! It will be questioned. When the sun rises, do you not see a round disk of fire, somewhat like a gold sovereign? Oh, no, no! I see an innumerable company of the heavenly host crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.”
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A Russian monk, nature mystic and "starets" (a Russian word for God-inspired elder), St. Seraphim is one of the most widely respected of modern Russian saints. He spent most of his adult life in his monastic hermitage where he lived close to the land and was often in close touch with a variety of wild animals. There, deep in the Russian forest, he practiced a rigorous form of prayer and detachment from worldly concerns. He taught that prayerful silence amidst the quiet of wilderness when coupled with holy detachment will draw the contemplative into proper concentration on the name of Jesus and that this will bring experience of the divine Light of Christ. He preached to the animals, shared his food with them, and is especially known for taming the bear and wolves in his area. His friendship with the animals of the forest was a source of wonder to visitors and even his fellow monks, and according to eyewitnesses, rabbits, foxes, lynx, lizards and even the bears and wolves gathered peacefully around his simple hut.

The animals are a joy "The animals are a joy to me," he said, and referring to the mosquitoes which infested the forest swamps where he gathered moss, he spoke of his joy in them, for "the passions are destroyed through suffering and afflictions."
Joanne Stefanatos, Animals and Man: A State of Blessedness, Light and Life Publ., Minneapolis, MN 1992, pg. 280.

Adam's gifts from God in paradise Adam... (was) created superior to all the other creatures of God as the crown of creation on earth. He would have been just like all the other creatures, which, though they have a body, soul and spirit, each according to its kind, yet they have not the Holy Spirit within them. Everything was subject to him... as the kind and lord of creation, and everything looked up to him as the perfect crown of God's creatures.... Adam could see and understand the conversation of the holy angels, and the language of all the beasts, birds and reptiles and all that is now hidden from us fallen and sinful creatures, but was so clear to Adam before his fall. To Eve also the Lord God gave the same wisdom, strength and unlimited power, and all the other good and holy qualities.
Motovilov, The Little Russian Philokalia, Vol. 1, St. Herman's Press, 1978, pg. 81-82.

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Inner peace The kingdom of heaven is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Acquire inward peace, and thousands around you will find their salvation.
Conversation with Nicholas Motovilov

The state of Adam in paradise Everything was subject to Adam as the beloved of God, as the king and lord of creation, and everything looked up to him, as the perfect crown of God's creatures. Adam was made so wise by this breath of life which was breathed into his face from the creative lips of God, the Creator and Ruler of all, that there never has been a man on earth wiser or more intelligent than he, and it is hardly likely that there ever will be. When the Lord commanded him to give names to all the creatures, he gave every creature a name which completely expressed all the qualities, powers and properties given it by God at its creation. Owing to this very gift of the supernatural grace of God which was infused into him by the breath of life, Adam could see and understand the Lord walking in Paradise, and comprehend His words, and the conversation of the holy angels, and the language of the beasts, birds and reptiles and all that is now hidden from us fallen and sinful creatures, but was so clear to Adam before his fall. To Eve also the Lord God gave the same wisdom, strength and unlimited power, and all the other good and holy qualities.
Little Russian Philokalia, Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, CA,, second edition, 1983, pp 81-82.

Contemplating the inward Light When a man contemplates inwardly the eternal light, the mind is pure and has in it no sensuous images, but, being wholly immersed in the contemplation of uncreated beauty, forgets everything sensuous and does not wish to see even itself; but would rather hide in the heart of the earth than be deprived of his true good -- which is of God.
Conversation with Motivilov

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Friendship with the forest creatures Seraphim’s friendship with the forest animals was a continual source of wonder to his fellow monks. According to one of his fellow monks, Fr. Joseph, an eyewitness, rabbits, foxes, lynx, lizards, bears, even wolves would gather at the entrance to his small hut, waiting for St. Seraphim to finish his prayers and come out to feed them with bread crusts which he always seemed to have left over for them. Several persons told of a bear which would always obey his requests and run errands for him, such as finding honey when there was a visitor. These acts of the bear always delighted the saint.
Adapted from Joanne Stefanatos, Animals and Man: A State of Blessedness, Light and Life Publ., Minneapolis, 1992, pp. 180-181.

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William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)
An early transcendentalist poet William Wordsworth’s collection of “Ballads” while still a student marks the beginning of the English Romantic Movement. Wordsworth saw nature as brightly alive and benign. He went against the conventional religious thought of his day and said that a spiritual presence filled nature, and therefore through connection to that “presence,” one could discern insights about God and religion from the natural world. He believed that the more a person possessed education coupled with experience in the outdoors, the more that person should find appreciation for mountains, rocks, streams and wild places and derive blessings from it. He was an ardent defender of the plight of the common person. He was also one of the most prolific poets ever, composing over 70,000 lines of verse. In his final years he was honored as England’s poet laureate.

The world is too much with us The world is too much with us; Late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon! This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers; For this, for every thing, we are out of tune. It moves us not, — Great God! I'd rather be A pagan, suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea; Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

Insights from flowers To me, the meanest flower that blows can give thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
Holly Hughes, Meditations on the Earth: A Celebration of Nature in Quotations, Poems and Essays, Running Press, Ontario, 1994, p. 170 331

Up! Up! My Friend, and Quit Your Books Up! Up! my friend, and quit your books; Or surely you’ll grow double: Up! Up! my friend, and clear your looks; Why all this toil and trouble? The sun above the mountain’s head, A freshening luster mellow Through all the long green fields has spread, His first sweet evening yellow. Books! ‘tis a dull and endless strife; Come, hear the woodland linnet, How sweet his music! on my life, There’s more of wisdom in it. And hark! how blithe the throstle sings! He, too, is no mean preacher; Come forth into the light of things; Let Nature be your teacher. She has a world of ready wealth, Our minds and hearts to bless — Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health, Truth breathed by cheerfulness. One impulse from a vernal wood May teach you more of man, Of moral evil and of good, Than all the sages can.
Complete Works, “Up, Up My Friend,” London

Why should we turn away from natural wisdom? Why should we thus, with an untoward mind, And in the weakness of humanity, From natural wisdom turn our hearts away; To natural comfort shut our eyes and ears; And, feeding on disquiet, thus disturb The calm of nature with our restless thoughts?

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William Wordsworth in Holly Hughes, Meditations on the Earth: A Celebration of Nature, Running Press, Ontario, 1994, p. 14

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St. Paisius Velichkovsky (1772 - 1794)
St. Paisius restored ancient monastic practices in Russia, Romania and Ukraine. He is credited w it h p r e p a r i n g t h e s e l a n d s f o r t h e r e v i v a l o f s p
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i r it u a l s t r i v i n g i n t h e n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y . H e f o u
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n d e d m o n a s t e r i e s ; l o c a t e d a n d t r a n s l a t e d m a n y a n
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c i e n t m a n u s c r i p t s w h i c h b e c a m e T h e P h il o k a li a , a n d
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t a u g h t t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e J e s u s P r a y e r.

"Dressing and keeping" the garden
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God, having created man according to His image and likeness, conducted him into a Paradise of sweetness to till the immortal gardens, that is, the most pure, exalted and perfect Divine thoughts. And this means nothing else than that he remained, as being pure in soul and heart, in contemplative, grace-filled prayer, sacredly working in the mind alone, that is, in the sweetest vision of God, and that he manfully preserved this, it being the work of Paradise, as the apple of his eye, lest it ever decrease in his soul and heart. Wherefore, great is the glory of sacred and Divine mental prayer, whose verge and summit, that is, beginning and perfection, were given to man by God in Paradise, and so it is from there that it has its beginning.
The Scroll, Six Chapters on Mental Prayer 2

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Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow (1782 - 1867)
The most eminent Russian religious figure of the nineteenth century, he was a preacher and theologian, and wrote numerous theological texts on a variety of topics. He has left a particularly beloved collections of sermons and homilies.

Each creature exists in the middle of creation All creatures are balanced upon the creative word of God, as if upon a bridge of diamond. Above them is the abyss of divine infinitude, while below them that of their own nothingness.
Sermons

William Cullen Bryant (1794 - 1878)
William Cullen Bryant was a lawyer, a father, and the first American poet to win international acclaim. He was considered a child-prodigy, publishing his first poem at age ten and his first book at thirteen – a political satire of Thomas Jefferson’s foreign policy. Bryant is most known for what was called ”romantic expression,” because his intuition of God’s presence in nature went against the conventional Protestant theology of his day. Bryant was strongly against slavery, endorsing the Free-Soil party, the early Republican party, and Abraham Lincoln. While Bryant received great praise for his poetry, he was criticized because he didn't publish enough. His ecological
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significance lies in his emphasis that creation contains opportunities to experience God in this world.

God's first temples The groves were God's first temples. Ere man learned To hew the shaft, and lay the architrave, And spread the roof above them – ere he framed The lofty vault, to gather and roll back The sound of anthems; in the darkling wood, Amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down, And offered to the Mightiest solemn thanks and supplication. For his simple heart Might not resist the sacred influences Which, from the stilly twilight of the place, And from the gray old trunks that high in heaven Mingled their mossy boughs, and from the sound Of the invisible breath that swayed at once All their green tops, stole over him, and bowed. His spirit with the thought of boundless power And inaccessible majesty....

Listen to nature’s teachings Go forth under the open sky and listen to nature’s teachings. Thanatopsis To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language; for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty, and she glides Into his darker musings, with a mild
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And healing sympathy. ... Go forth under the open sky, and list To nature’s teachings, while from all around — Earth and her waters, and the depths of air — Comes a still voice — Yet a few days, and thee The all-beholding sun shall see no more In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground, Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears, Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again, And, lost each human trace, surrendering up Thine individual being, shall thou go To mix forever with the elements, To be a brother to the insensible rock And to the sluggish clod, with the rude swain Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce they mould.
The Pocket Book of American Poets, “Works of William Cullen Bryant,” 1948

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Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston and became pastor of that city's famous Second Church. Sometimes called "the Sage of Concord," he personified the best of New England individualism and many considered him a spokesman for nineteenth century America. His fame was due partly to his Yankee common sense, and partly to his religious insight as a devoted clergyman. His contribution to modern ecological understanding lies in his search for principles which guide a right perception of nature, and his insistence that a "transcendent" dimension belonging to God‘s nature permeated every dimension of the natural world. For these views he encountered criticisms from many clerics, some of whom accused him of promoting a resurgent pantheism. Emerson is one of the primary voices of the nineteenth century transcendentalist movement.

Views of nature The views of nature held by any people determine all of their other institutions.
"English Traits," in Beldon Lane, Landscapes of the Sacred, Paulist Press, 1988, pg. viii.

All science seeks a theory of nature All science has but one aim, namely, to find a theory of nature. We have theories of races and of functions, but scarcely yet a remote approach to an idea of creation. We are now so far from the road to truth, that religious teachers dispute and hate each other, and speculative men are esteemed unsound and frivolous.... Whenever a true theory appears, it will be its own evidence. Its test is, that it will explain all phenomena.
Centenary Edition of Emerson's Works, Houghton-Miflin, Vol. 1, pg. 4.

The mystery of nature and man "To be" is the unsolved, unsolvable wonder. To be, in its two connections of inward and outward, the mind and Nature. The wonder subsists, and age, though of eternity, could not approach a solution. But the suggestion is always returning, that hidden source publishing at once our being and that it is the source of outward Nature. Who are we, and what is Nature, have one answer in the life that rushes into us.
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Emerson's Complete Works, Vol. XII, pg. 16.

The happiest man The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship.
I Quote: A Collection of Ancient and Modern Inspiration and Wisdom, 1947, pg. 236.

The beauty of nature The pilgrim goes into the woods, but he carries with him the beauty which he visits.... God has not made some beautiful things, but Beauty is the Creator of the universe... Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.
The Poet

Natural facts symbolize spiritual facts Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact. Every appearance in nature corresponds to some state of mind.... An enraged man is a lion; a cunning man is a fox; a firm man is a rock; a learned man is a torch. A lamb is innocence; a snake is subtle spite; flowers express to us the delicate affections.... Every natural process is a version of a moral sentence. The moral influence of nature upon every individual is that amount of truth which it illustrates to him.

Some effects of the wisdom in nature The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural object make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence. Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection. Nature never became toy to a wise spirit. The flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of his childhood.
Nature, 1836

Nature is medicinal
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To the body and the mind which have been cramped by noxious work or company, nature is medicinal and restores their tone.

The world teaches trust in God All that I have ever seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all that I have not seen.
The Best of Ralph Waldo Emerson, as quoted in The Quotable Spirit, Macmillan Press, New York, 1996, p. 45

The art of taking a walk The first care of man settling in the country should be to open the face of the earth to himself by a little knowledge of nature, or a great deal of knowledge, if he can, of birds, plants and astronomy; in short, the art of taking a walk.

The rich and royal man He who knows what sweet and virtues are in the ground and waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man.

The heart of every creature Ever fresh the broad creation, A divine improvisation, From the heart of God proceeds, A single will, a million deeds.... He is the heart of every creature; He is the meaning of each feature; And his mind is in the sky, Than all it holds more deep, more high.
Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 11

In the woods
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In the woods a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall in life -- no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes), which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, my head bathed in the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space, all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.... In the wilderness I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.
Nature: Addresses and Lectures, 1849

God’s lessons in fields Live in the fields, and God will give you lectures on natural philosophy every day. You shall have the snow-bunting, the chickadee, the jay, the partridge, the chrysalis and wasp for your neighbors.
RWE quoted in Holly Hughes, Meditations on the Earth: A Celebration of Nature in Quotations, Poems and Essays, Running Press, Ontario, 1994, p. 21

The secret to the pace of nature Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

The utilitarian mentality toward nature But these young scholars, who invade our hills, Bold as the engineer who fells the wood, And traveling often in the cut he makes, Love not the flower they pluck, and know it not, And all their botany is Latin names.
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Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 - 1861)
Elizabeth Moulton-Barrett was born in Durham, England, the eldest of twelve children of an autocratic father who forbade his children to marry. She began writing at a young age, publishing her first literary work while still in her teens. Because she suffered from a chronic lung ailment, Elizabeth spent most of her time in a darkened room writing poetry, hymns and letters. The famous English poet Robert Browning admired her book, "Poems," so much that he wrote to her. They met, fell in love, and were secretly married in 1846. She was a fervent Methodist who focused her early life on writing poetry and hymns. As she grew older she increasingly addressed contemporary issues, including the abolition of slavery and improvement of the position of women in Victorian society. Her writings include descriptions of how God’s presence is hidden within the earth.

Glory in the commonplace Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries, And daub their natural faces unaware More and more from the first similitude.
“Aurora Leigh,” Masterpieces of Religious Verse, Morrison, ed., 1948

Work WHAT ARE WE SET ON EARTH FOR? Say, to toil; Nor seek to leave thy tending of the vines For all the heat o' the day, till it declines, And Death's mild curfew shall from work as soil. God did anoint thee with his odorous oil, to wrestle, not to reign; and He assigns all thy tears over, like pure crystal lines, for younger fellow-workers of the soil to wear for amulets. So others shall Take patience, labor, to their heart and hand from thy hand and thy heart and thy brave cheer, And God's grace fructify through thee to the least flower with a brimming cup may stand, And share its dew-drop with another near.
Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, Author of The Seraphim, etc., 1844 347

Insufficiency When I attain to utter forth in verse Some inward thought, my soul throbs audibly along my pulses, yearning to be free And something farther, fuller, higher, rehearse To the individual, true, and the universe, in consummation of right harmony: But, like a wind-exposed distorted tree, We are blown against for ever by the curse Which breathes through Nature. Oh, the world is weak!
Poems, 1844

Without Thee, We Do No Good (hymn, excerpt) Since without Thee we do no good, And with Thee do no ill, Abide with us in weal and woe, In action and in will. By hours of night, that when the air Its dew and shadow yields, We still may hear the voice of God, In silence of the fields.
Methodist Hymnal, Courtesy of Wesleyan University, 19th century, (exact date unknown)

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)
Longfellow is one of the best loved of American poets. He had a gift of easy rhyme so that his poems sing their way into the hearts of those who read them. His poetry brings a joyousness, a spirit of optimism and faith in the goodness of life. Longfellow was one of the first American writers to employ Native American themes. He wrote about the American landscape, its history and culture, plus Native life and lore. He traveled on foot through the countryside and learned the ways of the land. Native culture especially fascinated him. His ”Song of Hiawatha” describes how Gitche Manitou, the Great Spirit, commanded his people to live in peace. His contribution to modern ecology lies in his relentless connection between God, the land and the need for human attitudes which are thoughtful, respectful and discerning of the meanings of the Creator in nature. "Of all the suns of the New England morning," says a commentator on his passing, "he was the largest in his golden sweetness."

The manuscripts of God
And nature, the old nurse, took The child upon her knee, Saying, "Here is a story book My Father hath writ for thee. Come, wander with me," she said, "In regions yet untrod, And read what is still unread in the manuscripts of God."
Excerpt from “The Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz,” May 28, 1857

The laws of nature are just The laws of nature are just, but terrible. There is no weak mercy in them. Cause and consequence are inseparable and inevitable. The elements have no forbearance. The fire burns, the water drowns, the air consumes, the earth buries. And perhaps it would be well for our race if the punishment of crimes against the laws of man were as inevitable as the punishment of crimes against the laws of nature... were man as unerring in his judgements as nature.

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Teaching children gentleness How can I teach your children gentleness, And mercy to the weak, and reverence For life, which, in its weakness or excess, Is still a gleam of God’s omnipotence, Or death, which, seeming darkness, is no less. The self-same light, although averted hence, When by your laws, your actions, and your speech, You contradict the very things I teach?
Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 68

Nature As a fond mother when the day is o’er, Leads by the hand her little child to bed, Half willing, half reluctant to be led, And leaves his broken playthings on the floor Still gazing at them through the open door, Nor wholly reassured and comforted By promises of others in their stead, Which, though more splendid, may not please him more. So nature deals with us, and takes away Our playthings one by one, and by the hand Leads us to rest so gently, that we go Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay, Being too full of sleep to understand How far the unknown transcends the what we know.
Cited in The Poetry of Nature, an anthology, edited by Henry Van Dyke, Doubleday and Page, Co., London, 1909, p.133

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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 - 1892)
John Whittier was born on a small farm to a Quaker family with deep roots in the New England countryside. For one hundred and sixty years his ancestors had cultivated the family farm in the far northeastern corner of Massachusetts near the Atlantic coast. From his youth he was a close student of the Bible and hungry to learn and read. His first books were sermons and poetry, and so his first attempts at writing were religious reflections in poetic form. As a patriotic youth with a strong sense of responsibility for the direction of his community and country, he vigorously advocated for the abolition of slavery. He became unpopular because of his forcefulness on this issue, yet persisted because he always sought the good of God in the behavior of the state. His poetry emphasizes that the mercy of God extends to the earth through human receptivity to the will of God. He gave popular voice to the principles which powered the anti-slavery movement and sought their extension to all facets of life and livelihood, including respect for animals. His ecological relevance stems from the manner in which he includes care of God’s creation in his poetry and from the same principles and logic which inform his abolitionist perspective. The mercy of God extends to the creatures The sooner we recognize the fact that the mercy of the Almighty extends to every creature endowed with life, the better it will be for us as men and Christians.
Quoted in Lewis Regenstein, Replenish the Earth, pg. 106,

The worship of nature The harp at Nature's advent strung Has never ceased to play; The song the stars of morning sung Has never died away. And prayer is made, and praise is given, By all things near and far; The ocean looketh up to heaven, And mirrors every star. Its waves are kneeling on the strand, As kneels the human knee, Their white locks bowing to the sand, The priesthood of the sea! They pour their glittering treasures forth, Their gifts of pearl they bring,
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And all the listening hills of earth Take up the song they sing. The green earth sends its incense up From many a mountain shrine; From folded leaf and dewy cup She pours her sacred wine. The mists above the morning rills Rise white as wings of prayer; The altar-curtains of the hills Are sunset's purple air. The winds with hymns of praise are loud, Or low with sobs of pain, -The thunder-organ of the cloud, The dropping tears of rain. With drooping head and branches crossed The twilight forest grieves, Or speaks with tongues of Pentecost From all its sunlit leaves. The blue sky is the temple's arch, Its transept earth and air, The music of its starry march The chorus of a prayer. So Nature keeps the reverent frame With which her years began, And all her signs and voices shame The prayerless heart of man.
The Complete Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier, Cambridge edition, ed. H. E. S. (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1894): p. 261.

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The son of an Anglican priest, Alfred Tennyson was born at Somersby, Lincolnshire, the fourth of twelve children. Alfred Tennyson was a prolific and popular poet who suffered from extreme near-sightedness – without a monocle he could not even see to eat – which gave him considerable difficulty writing and reading. This disability accounts for his manner of creating poetry: he composed most of it in his memory, occasionally working on individual poems for many years. During his undergraduate days at Cambridge he often did not bother to write down his compositions until they were finished in his mind, turning phrases over and over until reflection and inspiration brought the proper turn of phrase. Through this unique method, he was able to hone his poetic insights to the core of an idea. His themes often deal with the great mysteries of life and the questions which bring spiritual relevance and religious depth to life’s journey. His concern for nature revolves around crucial religious questions about the natural order: the reason for flowers, the out-working of the laws of the universe, and the hidden life of Christ in the world. In 1850 at age 41 he became Britain’s Poet Laureate, a position which finally established him as the most popular poet of the Victorian era.

Flower in the crannied wall Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies, I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little flower — but if I could understand What you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is.
Fragment, in Best Loved Poems of the American People, Garden City Books, New York, 1936, p. 572.

One God One God, one law, one element, And one far-off divine event, To which the whole creation moves....

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Prayer More things are wrought by Prayer Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice Rise like a fountain for me night and day. For what are men better than sheep or goats That nourish a blind life within the brain, If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer Both for themselves and those who call them friend? For so the whole round earth is every way Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
quoted from Lawson, The Best Loved Religious Poems, 1933.

The higher pantheism The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills, and the plains, Are not these, O Soul, the Vision of Him, who reigns? Is not the Vision He, tho' He be not that which He seems? Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams? Earth, these solid stars, this weight of body and limb, Are they not sign and symbol of thy division from Him? Dark is the world to thee; thyself art the reason why, For is He not all but thou, that hast power to feel "I am I"? Glory about thee, without thee; and thou fulfillest thy doom, Making Him broken gleams and a stifled splendor and gloom. Speak to Him, thou, for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet -Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet. God is law, say the wise; O Soul, and let us rejoice, For if He thunder by law the thunder is yet His voice. Law is God, say some; no God at all, says the fool, For all we have power to see is a straight staff bent in a pool; And the ear of man cannot hear, and the eye of man cannot see; But if we could see and hear, this Vision — were it not He?
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Oh yet we trust Oh yet we trust that somehow good Will be the final goal of ill, To pangs of nature, sins of will, Defects of doubt, and taints of blood; That nothing walks with aimless feet; That not one life shall be destroy’d, Or cast as rubbish to the void, When God hath made the pile complete; That not a worm is cloven in vain; That not a moth with vain desire Is shrivell’d in a fruitless fire, Or but subserves another’s gain. Behold, we know not anything; I can but trust that good shall fall At last — far off — at least to all, And every winter change to spring.
Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 85

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Blessed Athanasia Logacheva (1809 - 1875)
Athanasia Logacheva was born in Nizhnegorod in Russia. She was orphaned at an early age and lived with relatives until she was 23, when she sought a blessing from St. Seraphim of Sarov to live a life wholly dedicated to God. Seventeen more years passed, years filled with traveling, service, pilgrimage and prayerful searching for the appropriate place. At the age of 41 she moved into the forest wilderness of Northern Russian and led the life of a solitary nun. She became a renowned and holy ascetic as well as friend to bears and wolves who became tame in her presence. She was always possessed of an undisturbed cheerfulness and a bright spiritual radiance. Blessed Athanasia displays the love of creation and wonder at its beauty and depth that characterizes those who wholly dedicate their lives to God and live prayerfully and selflessly in the wilderness.

Love of creation Despite severe rheumatism in her later years, Mother Athanasia would pray steadily through much of the night plus every morning and afternoon. On one particularly difficult and sore morning, she declared: I love everything — the sun and the world — and I, the sinful one, fear that it might be idleness on my part to look on the beauty of the fields covered with wild flowers. No. This is acceptable... because the beauty was created by the Lord. ... I want to go into the field where the golden corn is growing and where, from the forest, comes an aromatic smell.... Even from childhood, I loved the smell of sweet, blossoming wild cherry trees, the babbling brooks, the dawns an sunsets. What inexplicable contrition of heart I used to feel, then as now, when the sun is meeting the early spring morning as its first rays of light are sprinkled upon the earth. What joy is born then in the heart of man.... In the east there is Paradise; otherwise the hearts of people would not tremble with exaltation at the sight of the morning light and the rays of sunlight. Otherwise, the eyes would not look with joy at the clearing of the dawn; and the birds of heaven would not glorify the Lord during spring mornings, those mornings which I would still like to see in this life.
Quoted in Blessed Athanasia and the Desert Ideal, by Fr. Alexander Priklonsky, Introduction by the nuns of St. Xenia Skete, St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Brotherhood, Platina, CA, 1993, pp. 104106.

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St. Theophan the Recluse (1815 - 1894)
The son of a Ukrainian Orthodox priest, Georgi Govorov was steeped in Eastern Orthodox Christianity from his youth. After graduating from the Kiev Theological Academy as a priestmonk where he was given the name Theophan, he undertook a lengthy tour of the great monastic libraries of the Holy Land. For seven years he immersed himself in obscure religious texts from previous centuries. In the process, he became convinced of the importance of monastic prayer for the health of the Church and increasingly devoted himself to solitude and prayer. Theophan eventually retired to a life of continual prayer. In his diary, he notes, "People write and ask me, 'Don't you get bored?' But in fact I have so much to do that from the moment I open my eyes, it is impossible to finish before I close my eyes at night." About solitude, he writes, "Those who love blessed solitude lead a life of activity that reflects their spiritual powers. They never weary of praising their Maker to all eternity — so that he who ascends to the heaven of solitude never ceases to praise his Creator." Theophan is ecologically significant because he is the first nineteenth century cleric to show how an exclusive concern for empirical science degenerates into blindness toward the spiritual world and spiritual life. His importance lies in his writings and his close connection to the vigor and spiritual flavor of the early Church. Educating the child requires a cultivation of a sense of the holy The most effective means of cultivating true discernment in the soul of a child is to rear him carefully in the life of the Church so that he will respect its teachings. This is a most essential element in educating a child. This sense of being surrounded by this spiritualized life gives to a child a deep understanding of the holy and the sacred in all things.
The Heart of Salvation, Praxis Press, Newbury, MA, 1991, pg. 8

The true aim of man on earth As a Christian you must reinterpret in a spiritual way all that you see about you. Then fight with all of your forces to imprint that new interpretation on your mind. Then, when you look at something, while your eyes see a tangible object, your mind will be contemplating a spiritual one. This is a tedious and complicated discipline. It aims eventually at a complete re-education of oneself, at a regeneration and radical transformation of one's materiality.
Letter, quoted in The Heart of Salvation, Praxis Press, 1991, pg. 16.

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All things in creation witness to the Father Everything, with no exception, is a source from which you can distill a higher and more celestial knowledge that is both valid and useful. Yet this understanding will vary from one person to another, depending upon their power of penetration, their degree of attention, and their faith and devotion. Those who relentlessly and enthusiastically pursue these exercises will in time feel enriched by the wealth of knowledge that is yielded. Then they will start to reinterpret everything around them and all that they meet with. We can start with the house in which we live, and reinterpret all that it contains: the house itself, its walls, its roof and ceilings, its foundations, its windows, stoves and chimneys, the furniture that fills it: tables, chairs, beds and mirrors and all the rest.... Then we can pass on to the inhabitants of the house.... We can also reinterpret the ordinary activities of daily life.... In the Old and New Testaments we will find many keys to show us how to do this in a wise way.... When we can do so successfully, the world will be like a holy book filled with uncountable and wonderfully different paragraphs; then any fixed object, any changing event, will refer us to God, so that our thoughts will be directed toward Him. Every activity and every movement will be made in His presence. We will walk and act inside the field of the senses and materiality, yet in reality we move in the realm of the Spirit. Everything will unveil its divine dimension for us, and this will reinforce the power with which our attention turns towards Him. This text is fertile beyond anything we can conceive. If everything in daily life can be spiritually reinterpreted, it is because everything is a symbol of the invisible realm, but reflected within time and space. This is why it has been said that whatever exists on earth is modeled on an archetypal essence that is actually present on another plane of God's creation. Do we not say in the Creed, "Creator of all that is, visible and invisible."
The Heart of Salvation, pg. 16-17.

Contemplation of creation sobers the mind The world, with its concepts, principles and rules, in general its entire system made into immutable law, lays a heavy, authoritarian hand on each of its offspring. As a result, no one dares even to think of rebelling against it or renouncing its power. Everyone... adheres to its rules with such timidity. A violation of these rules is considered as a criminal act. The world is not a person, but its spirit in some way stands firm on the earth, influences us, and holds us as if with bonds. ...
The Path to Salvation, St. Herman of Alaska Press, Forestville, CA, 1996, pg. 114-115

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The narrowing effect of specialization on spiritual sensitivity There is nothing more destructive of the spirit of Christian life than an exclusive concern for empirical learning. It casts one into a coldness one can stay in forever. In some conditions it leads to an immoral life.... This unhappy trend has led to today's narrow specializations that prevent man from developing his growth into maturity which makes full spiritual growth possible. So it makes him a slave to the machine.
The Heart of Salvation, pg. 19

A test for spiritual and secular literature To a student who asked him about which books to read, Theophan gave this enduring counsel: Some books of human wisdom nourish the spirit; for instance, those that point out to us through nature and history the proofs of God's wisdom, His truth, and His great care for us. Read this kind of book, because God reveals Himself in nature and history, as well as in His Word. Nature and history are God's books for those who know how to read them. But test them when you are in a good mood. Start reading a book of human wisdom, but if the good mood begins to go away, discard the book. Apply this as a general rule.... It is easier to say read such books than to tell you where to get them. Nowadays, many books on science attempt to explain the origin of the world without God, and explain moral, religious and other manifestations in our lives without the soul of spirit. Do not touch them.... It is good to understand the structure of plants and animals and especially man, as well as the natural laws which are manifested in them. The wisdom of God is in all these things.
The Heart of Salvation, pg. 67

Contemplation of creation can return perspective to the mind Experience shows how frequently the mind, obscured by worldly ways, becomes sober through contemplation of divine creation.... For example, a man standing at a window and looking at a tree in the winter came to his senses. ... Visible nature and the temple of God have not only often brought sense and sobriety to indifferent and sinful Christians, but have converted even pagans to true worship of God and devotion to Him. ... The contemplation of the beauties of the visible creation of God converted the Martyr Barbara.... Their power and influence come from the fact that they vividly and
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perceptibly offer the best, most blissful way of life for a spirit that is wearied, exhausted, fatigued and tortured by the vanity of the world.
The Path to Salvation, trans. by Seraphim Rose, 1996, pg. 114-115

The meaning of ‘leaving the world’ Whoever seeks the Lord must remove himself from the world. By “world” is meant everything passionate, vain or sinful that enters into personal, family and social life, and which becomes there the custom and rule. Therefore leaving the world does not mean running away from family or society, but abandoning the morals, customs, rules, habits and demands that are entirely antithetical to the Spirit of Christ which has entered and ripens within us.... From this it follows that “leaving the world” is nothing other than cleaning up your entire external life, removing from it everything passionate, and replacing it with something pure, which will not disrupt the spiritual life, but rather aid it.... The thought that you could live like a Christian while holding onto the world and worldliness is an empty, deluded thought. Whoever lives by this concept will never learn anything more than pharisaism and imaginary life, that is, he will be a Christian only in his own opinion, and not in fact.
The Path to Salvation, trans. by Seraphim Rose, St. Herman Press, 1996, pg. 265-266

Discerning symbols in creation The Holy Fathers have invented a salvific method whereby we can be subject to the impressions of external things, yet not be distracted by them, at the same time building spirit. It consists in providing a spiritual substitute for everything seen and heard, and to become so strong in the remembrance of this spiritual substitute, that every time the thing is seen, its spiritual substitute impresses the senses rather than it itself. Whoever does this with everything he meets will always be as if in school. Light and dark, man and beast, rock and plant, house and field — everything to the smallest iota will be a lesson to him.
The Path to Salvation, trans. by Seraphim Rose, 1996, pg. 269

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Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)
Born in Concord, Massachusetts, Thoreau loved to roam the New England woods and he enjoyed the free feeling of unsullied nature through which he sought to grasp the meanings of life. He gives this picture of himself in his Daily Journal: "I seek acquaintance with nature, to know her moods and manners. Pristine nature is the most interesting to me..., as I learn that my ancestors have torn out... many of the grandest passages, and mutilated it in many places. I should not like to think that some demigod had come through and picked out the best of the stars. I wish to know an entire heaven and an entire earth." Thoreau is known for his probing commentaries on life in industrial society and his critique of the devitalizing effects of modernity upon the spiritual health of New England citizenry. His contribution to environmental theology is that he is the first person to develop the theme of nature preservation as a popular Christian concern.

Seeing God through nature Blessed are they who never read a newspaper, for they shall see nature, and through her, God.
Journal

The wealth of the natural philosopher To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but to love wisdom and to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust.
Journal, August 28, 1851

The need to prevent usurpation of nature Most men, it seems to me, do not care for nature and would sell their share in all her beauty, as long as they may live, for a stated sum, and many for a glass of rum. It is for the very reason that some do not care for those things that we need to continue to protect all from the vandalism of a few.
Journal, January 3, 1861

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On the alert for God in nature My profession is to be always on the alert to find God in nature, to know His lurking places, to attend all the oratorios, the operas... in nature.
The Heart of Thoreau’s Journals, as quoted in Wayne Simsic, Songs of Sunrise, Seeds of Prayer, Twenty-Third Publications, Mystic, CT, 1991, pg.43.

The passing away of life builds for new life Every part of nature teaches that the passing away of one life is the making room for another. The oak dies down to the ground, leaving within its rind a rich virgin mold, which will impart a vigorous life to an infant forest.
Journal, October 24, 1837

Nature heals every wound Nature doth kindly heal every wound. By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty. There seems to be two sides of this world, presented us at different times, as we see things in growth and dissolution, in life or death. For seen with the eye of the poet, as God sees them, all things are alive and beautiful; but seen with the historical eye, or eye of the memory, they are dead and offensive. If we see nature as pausing, immediately all mortifies and decays; but seen as progressing, she is beautiful.
Journal, March 13, 1842

A free and adventurous life Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. Rise free from care before dawn, and seek adventures. Let the noon find thee by other lakes, and the night overtake t hee everywhere at home. ... Enjoy the land, but own it not. Through want to enterprise and faith, men are where they are, buying and selling, and spending their lives like serfs.
Walden, as quoted in America the Beautiful: In the Words of Henry David Thoreau, Country Beautiful Publ., Waukesha, Wisc., 1966, p 81.

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My motive I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Walden

My search for primitive nature I seek acquaintance with nature — to know her moods and manners. Primitive nature is the most interesting to me. I take infinite pains to know all the phenomena of spring, for instance, thinking that I have here the entire poem, and then to my chagrin, I learn that it is but an imperfect copy that I possess and have read; that my ancestors have torn out many of the first leaves and grandest passages, and mutilated it in many places. I should not like to think that some demigod had come before me and picked out some of the best of the stars. I wish to know an entire heaven and an entire earth. All the great trees and beasts, fishes and fowls are gone. The streams, perchance, are somewhat shrunk.
Journal, March 23, 1856

Perspective on forests If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed as an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down!
Holly Hughes, Meditations on the Earth: A Celebration of Nature in Quotations, Poems and Essays, Running Press, Ontario, 1994, p. 170

The character of the logger

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The character of the loggers admiration of the forest is betrayed by his very mode of expressing it. If he told all that was in his mind, he would say, it was so big that I cut it down and then a yoke of oxen could stand on its stump. He admires the log, the carcass or corpse, more than the tree. The Anglo-Saxon can indeed cut down, and grub up all the wavering forest, but he cannot converse with the spirit of the tree he fells, he cannot read the poetry and mythology which retire as he advances.
The Maine Woods, Penguin Books, London, 1988, p. 314

The clouds are safe Thank God, they cannot cut down the clouds!
HDT quoted on internet, Original source not given

Solitude is my companion Alone in distant woods or fields, in unpretending sproutlands or pastures tracked by rabbits, even in a bleak and, to most, cheerless day, like this, when a villager would be thinking of his inn, I come to myself. I once more feel myself grandly related and that cold and solitude are friends of mine. I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalent to what others get by church-going and prayer. I come to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home.... I come out to these solitudes where the problems of existence is simplified. I get away a mile or two from the town into the stillness and solitude of nature, with rocks, trees, weeds, snow about me. I enter some glade in the woods, perchance, where a few weeds and dry leaves alone lift themselves above the surface of the snow and it is as if I had come to an open window. ... It is as if I always met in those places some grand, serene, immortal, infinitely encouraging, though invisible, companion, and walked with him.
Journal, January 7, 1857

Guidance for enjoying the land Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. Rise free from care before the dawn, and seek adventures. ... Enjoy the land, but own it not. Through want of enterprise and faith men are where they are, buying and selling, and spending their lives like serfs.

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Walden, in America the Beautiful: In the Words of Henry David Thoreau, Country Beautiful Corp., 1966, p. 81.

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This great Russian novelist was born to an impoverished nobleman in Moscow. Because of youthful radical involvement, he spent nine years in forced labor at a Siberian prison camp. During his labor camp years he underwent a religious conversion. On his return to European Russia, he spent long periods at monasteries which reshaped his world view. His writings reflect faith in the ultimate triumph of spiritual values and the victory of God's goodness through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ; they position characters in crisis situations, and reveal the depths of human nature. His plots describe a continuing search to reconcile the human and the divine, and for this he is hailed as the precursor and founder of the modern psychology of the unconscious. He was always a staunch defender of the Russian Orthodox Church and he teaches readers to see beyond human failings to the mystery of Christ in all people and all things. His writings are important because they depict the traditional Russian Christian attitude toward the land and the loving respect which is required of each person toward the earth and its creatures.

Love reveals the mysteries of creation Love all of God's creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light! Love the animals. love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will soon perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.
The Brothers Karamazov

The way to salvation There is only one way to salvation, and that is to make yourself responsible for all men's sins. As soon as you make yourself responsible in all sincerity for everything and for everyone, you will see at once that this is really so, and that you are in fact to blame for everyone and for all things.
The Brothers Karamazov

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Love the whole earth You are working for the whole; you are acting for the future. Seek no reward, for your reward on this earth is already great: The spiritual joy which is only vouchsafed to the righteous man. Fear not the great nor the mighty, but be wise and serene. Know the measure, know the times, study them. When you are left alone, pray. Love to throw yourself upon the earth and kiss it. Kiss the earth and love it with an unceasing, consuming love. Love all men, love everything. Seek that rapture and ecstasy. Water the earth with the tears of your joy, and love those tears. Don't be ashamed of that ecstasy; prize it, for it is a gift of God and a great one.
The Brothers Karamazov

All parts of creation bear witness to the mystery of God It was a bright, warm, still July night; a cool mist rose from the broad river and we could hear the splash of fish, the birds were still, all was hushed and beautiful, everything praying to God.... Every blade of grass, every insect, ant, and golden bee, all so marvelously know their path; though they have not intelligence, they bear witness to the mystery of God and continually accomplish it themselves. I saw the dear lad’s heart was moved. He told me that he loved the forest and the forest birds. He was a bird catcher, knew the note of each of them, could call each bird. “I know nothing better than to be in the forest,” said he, “though all things are good.” “Truly,” I answered him, “all things are good and fair, because all is truth. Look,” said I, “at the horse, that great beast which is so near to man; or the lowly, pensive ox, which feeds him and works for him; look at their faces, what meekness, what devotion to man, who often beats them mercilessly. What gentleness, what confidence and what beauty! It’s touching to know that there’s no sin in them; for all, all except man, are sinless, and Christ has been with them before us.” “Why,” asked the boy, “is Christ with the animals too?” “It cannot but be so,” said I, “since the Word of God is for all. All creation and all creatures, every leaf is striving toward the Word, singing glory to God, weeping to Christ, unconsciously accomplishing this by the mystery of their sinless life....”
The Brothers Karamazov, quoted in “The Life of the Elder Zosima,” in The Gospel in Doestoyevsky, by Hutterian Brethren, Plough Books, Farmington, PA, 1988, pg. 179-180.

Love as a teacher
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Brothers, love is a teacher; but one must know how to acquire it, for it is hard to acquire, it is dearly bought, it is won slowly by long labor. For we must love not only occasionally, for a moment, but forever. Everyone can love occasionally, even the wicked can. My brother asked the birds to forgive him: that sounds senseless, but it is right; for all is like an ocean, all is flowing and blending; a touch in one place sets up movement at the other end of the earth. It may be senseless to beg forgiveness of the birds, but birds would be happier at your side — a little happier, anyway — and children and all animals, if you yourself were nobler than you are now. It’s all like an ocean, I tell you. Then you would pray to the birds too, consumed by an all-embracing love in a sort of transport, and pray that they too will forgive you your sin.
The Brothers Karamazov, as quoted in “Conversations with Father Zosima,” in The Gospel in Doestoyevsky, Plough Books, Farmington, PA, 1988, pg. 247-248.

Love the animals Love the animals. God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble their joy, do not harass them, do not deprive them of their happiness do not work against God's intent. Man, do not pride yourself on superiority to animals; they are without sin, and you, with your greatness, defile the earth by your appearance on it, and leave the traces of your foulness after you — alas, it is true of almost everyone of us!
The Brothers Karamazov

Much on earth is hidden Much on earth is hidden from us, but to make up for that, we have been given a precious mystic sense of our living bond with the natural world, and with the higher heavenly world.
From the World Treasury of Religious Quotations, pg. 667

Everything in creation is a source of wonder A tone of jubilation and spiritual expectancy crowns the philosophy which Doestoyevski conveys through his primary character, the aged village priest, Fr. Zosima.
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“Truly all is beautiful and a source of wonder, for all is truth, and Christ is with His creatures. How can it be otherwise, for the Word is truly for all things, the whole creation and every creature, every leaflet yearns toward the Word, praises God, mourns before Christ, and achieves this unconsciously through the mystery of its blameless life.... We alone are the godless and the stupid,” cries Fr. Zosima, “and do not understand that life is a Paradise, for we need only try to understand, and immediately it is revealed to us in its full beauty.”
The Brothers Karamazov, as quoted in Nicholas Arseniev, Mysticism and the Eastern Church, Student Christian Movement, Marburg, Germany, 1926, reprinted by SVS Press, New York, 1979, pp. 118-119.

Prayer as an education Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education.
The Brothers Karamazov, 1880

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A Scottish-born Presbyterian whose family immigrated to Wisconsin when he was six years old, John Muir memorized the entire New Testament and most of the Old Testament by the time he was sixteen. He was a youthful inventor and achieved early acclaim for his engineering skill. After an industrial accident blinded him, he vowed he would forsake his worldly career and tell of the glories of God and his beauties in creation if his sight would be restored. After weeks of intense prayer, his sight suddenly returned and he set off to fulfill his promise. Amidst glacier-scoured cathedrals of granite, he found spiritual renewal in the Yosemite wilderness. Muir felt he could best hear the voice of divine love when he climbed the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Muir discovered that his understanding of wilderness, especially its spiritual dimension, existed as a separate and largely unconnected strata to his religious understanding. Because the glorious spiritual experiences he encountered in wilderness never fit the religious concepts of his day, he grew cynical about organized religion and turned away from church life. The creation itself with its groves and mountain peaks became his church, while he became increasingly frustrated with the failure of clergy to explain his lofty experiences or to articulate a coherent theology of creation. Muir reawakened America to the magnificence and beauty of wild nature and he led the first political crusade to protect unspoiled wilderness in his effort to preserve Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park from development.

My first summer in the Sierras (excerpts) I wish you could come here and rest a year in the simple unmingled love-fountains of God. You would return with fresh truth gathered and absorbed from pines and waterfalls and deepsinging winds, and you would find that they all sang of fountain love just as did Jesus Christ and all of pure God in whatever form.... The hills and the groves were God's first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself.... In our best times, everything turns into religion, all the world seems a church, and the mountains the altars. When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything in the universe.... I have a low opinion of books; they are but piles of stones set up to show coming travelers where other minds have been. One day's exposure to mountains is better than a carload of books. All that is required is exposure and purity of material, and "the pure of heart, they shall see God." God who is light has led me tenderly from light to light to the shoreless ocean of rayless, beamless Spirit Light that bathes these holy mountains.
“My First Summer in the Sierras,” Journal of 1868

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Mountain gospel For the last two or three months, I have worked incessantly among the most remote and undiscoverable of the deep canyons of this pierced basin, finding many a mountain page glorious with the writing of God and in characters that any earnest eye could read.... Providence guides me through every danger and takes me to all the truths which I need to learn, and some day I hope to show you my sheaves, my big bound pages of “mountain gospel.”
Letter to his mother, 1871

Human blindness to the beauty of creatures Doubtless these creatures are happy, and fill the place assigned to them by the great Creator of us all. Fierce and cruel they appear to us, but beautiful in the eyes of God.... How narrow we selfish, conceited creatures are in our sympathies. How blind to the rights of the rest of creation.
Muir and His Legacy, pg. 52.

God's transparent universe All of God's universe is glass to the soul of light. Infinitude mirrors reflecting all receiving all. The stars whirl and eddy and boil in the currents of the ocean called space.... Trees in camplight and grasses and weeds impressive beyond thought so palpably Godful in form and in wind motion.... The pines spiring around me higher, higher to the star-flowered sky are plainly full of God.... Oh, the infinite abundance and universality of beauty. Beauty is God. What shall we say of God that we may not say of Beauty.
Journal of 1872, in the John Muir papers, 3:6

God’s first temples The hills and groves were God's first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself.
My First Summer in the Sierras 378

All of nature is in man Man is so related to all of Nature that he is builded of small worlds. When God made man "of the dust of the earth," he put into the compound fields and forests complete. All the mountain ranges of the world. Suns and moons and all animals and plants and minerals.... He is a bundle of worlds which lie calm until stirred by the appearance of the material symbol. Thus "all of Nature is found in man."
Journal of 1872, in the John Muir Papers, 00006:128

A religious approach to nature Independence is nowhere sweeter than in Yosemite. People who come here ought to abandon and forget all that is called business and duty, etc.; they should forget their individual existences, should forget they are born. They should as nearly as possible live the life of a particle of dust in the wind, or of a withered leaf in a whirlpool. They should come like thirsty sponges to imbibe without rule. It is blessed to lean fully and trustingly on Nature, to experience, by taking to her a pure heart and unartificial mind, the infinite tenderness and power of her love.
To Yosemite and Beyond: The Writings of John Muir from the Years 1863 to 1875, ed. Robert Engberg, University of Wisconsin Press, 1980, pg. 118.

A “felted together” universe Were it not for the exercise of individualizing cares on the part of Nature, the universe would be felted together like a fleece of tame wool. But we are governed more than we know, and most when we are wildest. Plants, animals and stars are all kept in place, bridled along appointed ways, with one another, and through the midst of one another — killing and being killed, eating and being eaten, in harmonious proportions and quantities.
“Wild Wool,” chapter one of Steep Trails, at http://207.90.163/ John Muir exhibit, p. 5. Originally published in the Overland Monthly magazine, 1875.

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The song of the wilderness The whole wilderness seems to be alive and familiar, full of humanity. The very stones seem talkative, sympathetic, brotherly. No wonder when we consider that we all have the same Father and Mother. Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another. In this beauty work, every boulder is prepared and measured and put in its place more thoughtfully than are the stones of temples. If for a moment you are inclined to regard these talus slopes as mere draggled, chaotic dumps, climb to the top of one of them, tie your mountain shoes firmly over the instep, and with braced nerves run down without any haggling, puttering hesitation, boldly jumping from boulder to boulder with even speed. You will then find your feet playing a tune, and quickly discover the music and poetry of rock piles — a fine lesson; and all Nature’s wildness tells the same story. Storms of every sort, torrents, earthquakes, cataclysms, “convulsions of nature,” etc., are only harmonious notes in the song of creation, varied expressions of God’s love.
My First Summer in the Sierras

Walks in nature In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.
“Steep Trails,” published post-humously, 1918, p. 128

When a man plants a tree When a man plants a tree, he plants himself. Every root is an anchor, over which he rests with grateful interest, and becomes sufficiently calm to feel the joy of living.
“Semi-Tropical California,” San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, September 7, 1877

We hide from the lessons of nature Toiling in the treadmills of life we hide from the lessons of nature. morbidly through civilized fog upon our beautiful world.
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We gaze

Alone in the woods at night When one is alone at night in the depths of these woods, the stillness is at once awful and sublime. Every leaf seems to speak. One gets close to nature, and the love of beauty grows as it cannot in the distractions of a camp. The sense of utter loneliness is heightened by the invisibility of bird or beast that dwells here.

Invisible divine influences In the mountains, free, unimpeded, the imagination feeds on objects immense and eternal. Divine influences, however invisible, are showered down on us as thick as snowflakes.

God has care for the trees Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed — chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fall trees plant them, nor would planting avail much toward getting back anything like the noble primeval forests. It took more than 2,000 years to make the trees in these western woods — trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests.... Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries since Christ’s time — and long before that — God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but He cannot save them from fools — only Uncle Sam can do that.
Quoted from “Muir Woods: Map and Guide to Trails,” Golden Gate National Park Association, Sausalito, CA, 1998

The heart of the wilderness Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.
Letter to his wife Louie, July 1888, The Life and Letters of John Muir, 1924

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Modern culture versus the inherent worth of animals No dogma taught by the present civilization seems to form so insuperable an obstacle in the way of right understanding of the relations which culture sustains to wildness as that which regards the world as made especially for the uses of man. Every animal, plant and crystal controverts it in the plainest terms. Yet it is taught from century to century as something ever new and precious, and in the resulting darkness the enormous conceit is allowed to go unchallenged. I have never yet happened upon a trace of evidence that seemed to show that any one animal was ever made for another as much as it was made for itself. Not that Nature manifests any such thing as selfish isolation. In the making of every animal the presence of every other animal has been recognized. Indeed, every atom in the creation may be said to be acquainted with and married to every other, but with universal union there is a division sufficient in degree for the purposes of the most intense individuality; no matter, therefore, what may be the note which any creature forms in the song of existence, it is made first for itself, then more and more remotely for all the world and worlds.
“Wild Wool,” chapter one of Steep Trails, at http://207.90.163/ John_Muir exhibit, p. 4-5. Originally published in the Overland Monthly magazine, 1875.

God as beauty No synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty. Whether as seen carving the lines of the mountains with glaciers, or gathering matter into stars, or planning the movements of water, or gardening — still all is Beauty! In God's wildness lies the hope of the world — the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware.
John of the Mountains, 1938, p. 317

Pine tree sermons Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts; and if people in general could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish.
"The National Parks and Forest Reservations," Sierra Club Bulletin, January 1896, pp. 282-83 382

The healing potential of wilderness Brought into right relationships with the wilderness, man would see that his appropriation of Earth's resources beyond his personal needs would only bring imbalance and begat ultimate loss and poverty by all.

The hope of the world In God’s wilderness lies the hope of the world –– the great fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and the wounds heal ere we are aware.
My First Summer in the Sierras,

God is light God who is light has led me tenderly from light to light To the shoreless ocean of rayless, beamless Spirit Light That bathes these holy mountains. All of God's universe is glass to the soul of light. Infinitude mirrors reflecting all and receiving all. The stars whirl and eddy and boil in the currents of the ocean called space.... Trees in camplight and grasses and weeds impressive beyond thought so palpably Godful in form and in wind motion....
My First Summer in the Sierras, Journal of 1868.

A path into the cosmos The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.
Cited in Great Quotations website, http://www.cybernation.com/ see quotes/John Muir

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Gerard Manly Hopkins, SJ (1844 - 1889)
Gerard Manly Hopkins was born in London and became a Jesuit priest. For most of his life he served as a relatively obscure professor of Greek in Dublin, Ireland where he was known on occasion to "dabble in poetry." During his lifetime he was never recognized for the beauty of his poetical insight nor for the originality and excellence of his unusually robust and innovative style. None of his poems was published during his lifetime. Instead, he was usually dismissed as a kindly eccentric and his writings were never taken seriously. His poetry reflects a vision of "barbarous beauty" in which he finds in a world "charged with the grandeur of God." God's Grandeur The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod. And for all this, nature is never spent; There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; And though the last lights off the black West went Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs – Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Pied Beauty Glory be to God for dappled things — For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh fire coal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. And things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; a’ dazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. The Caged Skylark
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As a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage Man's mounting spirit in his bone-house, mean house, dwells — That bird beyond the remembering his free fells; This in drudgery, day-laboring-out life's age. Though aloft on turf or perch or poor low-stage, Both sing sometimes the sweetest, sweetest spells, Yet both droop deadly sometimes in their cells Or wring their barriers in bursts of fear or rage. Not that the sweet-fowl, song-fowl, needs no rest — Why, hear him, hear him babble and drop down to his nest. But his own nest, wild nest, no prison. Man's spirit will be flesh-bound when found at best, But uncumbered: meadow-down is not distressed For a rainbow footing it nor he for his bones risen.

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Vladimir Soloviev (1853 - 1900)
After experiencing a series of profoundly transforming visions, Soloviev embarked upon a lifelong journey to articulate their meaning. This nineteenth century Russian scholar became known as a lyrical prophet who envisioned all humanity as mystically tied into one great being. He saw "Sophia" (or divine wisdom) as representing the entire cosmic creation through all time, and identified her as "the true, pure, perfect humanity in its highest and all-embracing form, the living soul of nature and the universe, united to God from all eternity, and in the temporal process attaining union with Him and uniting to him all that is." Therefore, he says, in the redemption of man, the redemption of nature is directly implied. Soloviev was a fighter for justice and peace, for social reformation and a right regard for the creation, and thus he represents a leading edge of Christian ecological concern over a century before its popularization.

Love holds the cosmos together Love is the relationship that should characterize not only interpersonal relations, but also our relation to the cosmic environment. Our love creates spiritual energies which inwardly transform the cosmos itself, imprinting upon it the image of God's love. The cosmos itself is a living organism within which the pleroma of humanity as a organ has a central and key function almost like the heart and brain of the body. "Sophia" is both humanity and the earth principle, the magna matter. The constitution of humanity itself is a mediating principle between God and nature.
quoted in Paulos Mar Gregorios, The Human Presence: Ecological Spirituality in the Age of the Spirit, The Christian Literature Society, Park Town, Madras,India, 1980, pg.82.

The social and the cosmic environment as living entities What is needed in the first instance is that we should treat our social and cosmic environment as an actual living being with which we are in the closest and most complete interaction, without ever being merged into it....
A Soloview Anthology, SCM Press, London, 1950, pg. 58.

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The path to integration with nature In order that (the false separation of beings in space and time) should be abolished altogether, and all individuals, both past and present, should finally become eternal, the process of integration must transcend the limits of social or strictly human life and include the cosmic sphere from which it started. In ordering the physical world the divine idea threw the veil of natural beauty over the kingdom of matter and death; through man, through the activity of his universally rationale consciousness, it must enter that kingdom "from within" in order to give life to nature and make its beauty eternal. In this sense it is essential to change man's relation to nature. He must enter with it too into the same relation of syzygic [a pair of opposites] unity which determines his true life in the personal and social sphere.
A Soloview Anthology, SCM Press, London, 1950, pg. 178.

A cosmic view of the liberation of nature Nature has so far been either an omnipotent despotic mother of the child man, or a slave, a thing foreign to him. In that second epoch (of Western thought) poets alone preserved and kept up a timid and unconscious love for nature as a being possessing full rights and having, or capable of having life in itself.... To establish a truly loving or syzygic relation between man and his natural and cosmic, as well as his social environment is a purpose that is quite clear in itself. But the same thing cannot be said about the ways in which an individual man can attain it. Without going into premature... details, one can confidently say one thing on the basis of well-established analogies from cosmic and historical experience. Every conscious human activity, determined by the idea of universal syzygy and having for its purpose the embodiment of the all-embracing ideal in some particular here, actually produces or liberates spiritual-material currents which gradually gain possession of the material environment, spiritualize it and embody in it certain images of the all-embracing unity.
A Soloview Anthology, SCM Press,

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Born a slave near Diamond Grove, Missouri, George Washington Carver grew up as a household helper. He spent his free time wandering through the woods where he was friend to insects, plants and flowers. There he learned a woodland lore that stayed with him for the rest of his life. He educated himself through grammar school and struggled to support himself through high school and college. He was a devout student of the Bible and a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ; he worshiped alternatively in the African Methodist-Episcopal (AME) Church and the Presbyterian Church. He had no ties except to God, and no obligations except to his service for the betterment of humanity. He taught that reading about trees and flowers was fine, but if a person walked among the things of nature and looked and listened carefully, they would tell him more than what is in books, “for they speak with the voice of God.” Carver never believed in copyrights or patents. He said that his findings "were provided free by the Creator." Since they had not cost him anything, he said it was not right to charge for their use. The epitaph on his gravestone reads, "He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world."

Talking to flowers How do I talk to a little flower? Through it I talk to the Infinite. And what is the Infinite? It is that silent, small force. It isn't the outer physical contact. No, it isn't that. The Infinite is not confined in the visible world. It is that still small voice that calls up the fairies. Now people will say that I am getting into words, just words. I refer to the unseen Spirit that defies the power of human reproduction, that challenges the power of human expression. Try to express it... it can't be done. Yet, when you look out upon God's beautiful world, there it is. When you look into the heart of a rose, there you experience it. But you can't explain it. You can talk and talk, but the longer you talk, the worse it gets — and the further you are from the truth.
Glenn Clark, The Man who Talks with the Flowers, Macalester Park Press, Shakopee, MN, 1938, pg. 44-45

God's handiwork in nature Once after a talk a lady asked Carver whether he believed the sufferers who came to him benefitted more from his oils or from prayer. He replied that prayer came before all things. Why, then, she persisted, didn't he advise these people to quit the use of medicines and oils, and to put themselves wholly in God's hands?

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"My dear Madam," he said, "how can any of us deny the reality around us? The most valuable things in life are God's handiwork expressed in nature. Why else would He have put the herbs and the healing ointments of the fields onto this earth if He didn't mean for us to use them?"
quoted in GWC: The Man Who Overcame, pg. 183

The method in my discoveries No books ever go into my laboratory. Yet I never have to grope for methods. The thing that I am to do and the way of doing it come to me. The method is revealed at the moment I am inspired to create something new.
Lecture before the Women's Board of Domestic Missions, Reformed Church in America, Marble Collegiate Church, New York City, 1924, quoted by James Marion Gray, George Washington Carver, Silver Burdett Press, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 1991 pg. 103.

The voice of God in the farmyard Books about chickens and orchards and flowers are fine, but if you walk among those things and look and listen carefully, they will tell you more than what is in the books, for they speak with the voice of God.
Sanford Lee, early Tuskegee associate of GWC, quoted in GWC: The Man Who Overcame, pg. 116-117.

Mysteries and faith "Mysteries are things we don't understand because we have not learned to tune in. And finding true faith in the Creator is solving the greatest mystery of all." To illustrate this principle, Carver told a story of how he once had been invited to the home of a wealthy individual, but before they could speak, the host had to attend to some business. He invited George to go into the living room and listen to a musical program on the radio. What happened though, Carver said, "I sat for an hour in silence. The music was there, but it was a mystery to me because I did not know how to turn on the radio and tune in the program."
quoted in GWC: The Man Who Overcame, pg. 198-199 393

"Live at home" Carver’s advice to farmers in a program to teach local self-sufficiency, called, "Live at home: “Don't buy everything you need at the plantation owner's store. Grow your own food. A garden is the best doctor there is." His associate Rackham Holt relates, “Carver also taught the value of flowers. He often said, ‘Don't forget the dooryard. A flower is God's silent messenger. It's the sweetest thing he ever made and forgot to put a soul into.’”
Rackham Holt, quoted by Anne Terry White, in GWC: The Story of a Great American, Random House, New York, 1953, pg. 116.

My great search for meaning In my early years, I sought meaning to the great questions of life. I asked God, "Oh Mr. Creator, why did you make this universe?" And the Creator answered me, "You want to know too much for that little mind of yours. Ask me something more your size. So I said, "Dear Mr. Creator, tell me what man was made for." Again He spoke to me, and He said, "Little man, you are still asking for more than you can handle. Cut down the extent of your request and improve the intent." And then I asked my last question. "Mr. Creator, why did you make the peanut?" "That's better!" the Lord said, and He gave me a handful of peanuts and went with me back to the laboratory and, together, we got down to work.
GWC: The Man Who Overcame, pg. 156

Growing for the future George Carver believed that civilized progress fell into three phases: First civilization "found" raw materials which an ever-beneficent nature provided. Then society took those materials and "adapted" them for human use. Now the time in human understanding had come when it was necessary to "create" entirely new things by making chemical changes in the old. In this context, he says, I believe the Creator has put ores and oil on this earth to give us a breathing spell.... As we exhaust them, we must be prepared to fall back on our farms, which utilize God's true storehouse and can never be exhausted. For we can learn to synthesize materials for every human need from the things we grow.
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Many agricultural scientists believe that this sweeping concept of unlimited potential from the living creation was Carver's most important gift to humankind.
quoted in Elliott, GWC: The Man Who Overcame, pg. 208.

Solutions in the mind of God Carver often sought solutions to the problems of the poor in the South. A perplexing problem existed in the drab, weather-beaten cabins with so little comfort and beauty around them. He had already given the farmers flower seeds but sought a way to brighten these "ugly shacks" which people had no money to rebuild. He related, "If I only open my eyes and my mind wide enough, I will understand what God wants me to do." He found a simple solution in the white clays which were abundant in the area around Tuskegee. By dissolving the clays in water, a wonderful whitewash could be prepared which would brighten house interiors. Within several weeks he found a variety of colored washes from various clays which could be easily prepared.
Anne Terry White, in GWC: The Story of a Great American, Random House, New York, 1953, pg. 117-119.

The presence of God "How can we know God?" someone asked during one of his weekly Bible classes. "Could we ever see Him?" "What are you studying?" Carver came back. "Electricity." "Have you ever seen electricity?" "No, it's..." "But when you make the proper contact, when you fulfill the laws of your trade, you can make a bulb light up, can't you, because the electricity is there." "Yes," the boy conceded. "Well, God is always there too, just waiting for you to make contact. He is all around you, in all the little things you look at, but don't really see." He pulled the flower from his lapel and held it out. Every boy in the room hunched close. "God is here," Carver said. "The seed that made this flower was created millions of years ago. It survived drought and blizzards and the assaults of man himself. And in this flower is perhaps the beginning of a seed that will grow millions of years after all of us are gone."
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In a voice that rang with meaning, he concluded, "Can any of you believe that the miracle of the flower is no more than an accident?"
quoted in George Washington Carver: The Man Who Overcame, pg. 197

The measure of success Money and possessions meant little to George Carver. Throughout his nearly fifty years at Tuskegee, he earned the same salary of $125. a month. He turned down every offer for a raise in pay. "It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success."
quoted by Suzanne Coil in George Washington Carver, Franklin Watts Publication, New York, 1990, pg. 47.

Letter to Booker T. Washington Upon receiving an invitation to teach at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School, Carver wrote a lengthy reply to Washington in which he penned an outline of his life's aspirations. "It has always been the one great ideal of my life to be of the greatest good to the greatest number of 'my people' possible, and to this end, I have been preparing myself for these many years....
Excerpt from letter to Booker T. Washington, April 12, 1896

Lessons from nature early in the morning Nothing is more beautiful than the loneliness of the woods before sunrise. At no other time have I so sharp an understanding of what God means to do with me as in those early hours of dawn. When other folks are still asleep, I hear God best and learn His plan.
GWC, quoted by James Marion Grey in George Washington Carver, A Pioneers for Change book, Silver Burdett Press, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1991 pg. 47. 396

God's little workshop Students and visitors often crowded into what was called "God's Little Workshop" to talk to Carver. Often he was asked to explain how he created all these wonderful things. "There is nothing I can explain," he answered. "I am simply an instrument in God's hands. The things I am to do always comes to me. I do not have to grope. There comes suddenly the inspiration to create something. I reach out my hand and there it is. The thing is done. And it is right."
GWC quoted in Anne Terry White, in GWC: The Story of a Great American, Random House, New York, 1953, pg. 140.

The spirit of my life My work, my life, must be in the spirit of a little child seeking only to know the truth and follow it.
Suzanne Coil in George Washington Carver, Franklin Watts Publ., New York, 1990, p. 9.

"Golden Moments" The following represents one of George's first attempts at poetry. The original was 42 stanzas long and was cut back to these twelve by his school teacher in Iowa. Whilst I was sitting one day musing On Life's book, each page perusing, I heard a whisper softly sighing, "Lo! Time's sickle is near thee lying." The rich and poor, the great and small, By this same sickle all must fall. Each moment is golden and none to waste. Arouse thee then, to duty haste! Oh sit not down nor idly stand; There's plenty to do on every hand. If you cannot prosper in work like some, You've at least one talent, improve that one."
Early poetry attempt, 1887, cited by Rackham Holt, George Washington Carver: An American Biography, Doubleday, Doran & Co., Garden City, NY, 1944, pp. 53-54. 397

The joy of reading from God’s creation As soon as you begin to read the great and loving God out of all forms of existence which He has created, both animate and inanimate, then you will be able to converse with Him anywhere, everywhere, and at all times. Oh what a fullness of joy will come to you!
George Washington Carver In His Own Words, Gary R. Kremer, ed., University of Missouri Press, 1987

Nature as a broadcasting station Nature is an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
Quoted in Science and Spirit, Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, Summer, 1996, Concord, NH, pg. 7.

The credit for my work Carver did not want to be paid for his amazing discoveries. His advice and information were always free. "God does not charge us for His wonders. If I charge for anything, I will lose my power." At one time Thomas Edison offered him a position in his laboratory. The salary would be in six figures, but he wasn't interested in the money. A great rubber company also offered him an important position. “No thank you.” He could not accept. "I have spent twenty years helping the Negro farmer. If I were to go, my work would not be known as mine. My race would get no credit. I want it to have the credit of whatever I may do."
Anne Terry White, GWC: Story of a Great American, Random House, New York, 1953, pp. 143-144.

Communing with nature Never a day passes but that I do myself the honor to commune with some of nature’s varied forms.
Source unknown

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Nature as God’s broadcasting system I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting system, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
Highlighted quote, at the George Washington Carver National Monument, Neosho, Missouri

Learn from Mother Nature Young people, I want to beg of you always keep your eyes open to what Mother Nature has to teach you. By so doing you will learn many valuable things every day of your life.
Website of Daily Celebrations 2000, source not cited.

A guidance for the future As long as he lived, Carver was concerned for the welfare of his students and their future. Returning from a trip, he told them, "As I looked at the giddy young people jazzing around on the street, my thought was, 'How much can the world depend on you?' He cherished his students deeply and emphasized, "Do not let the world down, and you will never be let down."
Lawrence Elliott in George Washington Carver: The Man Who Overcame, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1966. pg. 245-6

Reading God out of nature’s great book More and more as we come closer and closer in touch with nature and its teachings are we able to see the Divine and are therefore fitted to interpret correctly the various languages spoken by all forms of nature about us.
Letter, February 24, 1930 399

St. Therese of Lisieux (1873 - 1897)
A Carmelite nun who was sometimes called “the little flower,” Saint Therese is known for steadfast devotion to her duties, despite pain, sickness and frailty. She rose above these handicaps, and in the process inspired generations by her devotion to duty and charity. Therese loved flowers and trees, birds and butterflies, the sea and the stars. She sometimes wrote about the "book of nature" and its ability to "raise our souls to heaven." Some lessons from Saint Therese’s life are found in the way she brings a sense of God and the transcendent into the details of daily life, in how she finds remembrance of the heavenly despite the distractions of debilitating illness, and in how she teaches a gracious way to live amidst pain and suffering. One of her key contributions lies in her ability to find meaning and lessons about God and life through the trials of daily living. She also shows how to use these lessons as a means to grow in wisdom of God while giving thanks for everything which Providence places before us. The imprint of nature’s poetry Ah! how quickly those sunny years of my childhood passed by..., but what a sweet imprint they have left on my soul! ... I still feel the profound and poetic impressions which were born in my soul at the sight of fields enameled with corn-flowers and all types of wild flowers. Already I was in love with the wide-open spaces. Space and the gigantic fir trees, the branches sweeping down to the ground, left in my heart an impression similar to the one I experience still today at the sight of nature.
Quoted in "Story of a Soul: Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux," private translation by the Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, 1975, text posted on their website.

The flowers in the book of nature Jesus set before me the book of nature. I understood how all the flowers He created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.... And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. He willed to create great souls 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.
Autobiography, as quoted in Charles Cummings, ocso, Eco-Spirituality: Toward a Reverent Life, Paulist Press, 1991, p. 50.

God and nature and our souls
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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 with each soul as though there were no others like it. And just as in nature 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.
Quoted in "Story of a Soul: Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux," private translation by the Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, 1975, text posted on their website.

The impression of the sea Never will I forget the impression the sea made upon me; I couldn't take my eyes off it since its majesty, the roaring of its waves, everything spoke to my soul of God's grandeur and power.
"The Story of a Soul: Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux," private translation by the Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, 1975, text posted on their website.

Jesus’ bouquet of flowers You know, dear mother, how much I love flowers. When making myself a prisoner at the age of fifteen [when Therese entered the convent of the Carmelites at Lisieux], I gave up forever the pleasure of running through the fields decked out in their springtime treasures. Well, never in my life did I possess so many flowers as after my entrance into Carmel. It is the custom for fiancées to often give their brides bouquets and Jesus didn't forget it. He sent me in great abundance sheaves of corn flowers, huge daisies, poppies, etc., all the flowers that delighted me the most. There was even a little flower called corncockle which I had never found since our stay at Lisieux; I wanted very much to see it again, that flower of my childhood which I picked in the fields of Alencon. And at Carmel it came to smile at me again and show me that in the smallest things as well as the greatest, God gives the hundredfold in his life to those souls who leave everything for love of Him.
The Story of a Soul, 1975

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Inspiration from mountain grandeur "Before reaching... the goal of our pilgrimage, we were given the opportunity of contemplating many marvels. First there was Switzerland with its mountains whose summits were lost in the clouds, its graceful waterfalls gushing forth in a thousand different ways, its deep valleys literally covered with gigantic ferns and scarlet heather. Ah! Mother, how much good these beauties of nature, poured out in such profusion, did my soul. They raised it to heaven.... There was, farther on, a huge lake gilded by the sun's rays, its calm waters blending their azure tints with the fires of the setting sun. All this presented to our enraptured gaze the most poetic and enchanting spectacle one could possibly imagine. And at the end of the vast horizon, we perceived mountains whose indistinct contours would have escaped us had not their snowy summits made visible by the sun not come to add one more charm to the beautiful lake which thrilled us so. When I saw all these beauties, profound thoughts came to life in my soul. I seemed to understand the grandeur of God and the marvels of heaven.... I shall remember what my eyes have seen today. This thought will encourage me and I shall easily forget my own little interests, recalling the grandeur and power of God, this God whom I want to love alone. I shall not have the misfortune of snatching after straws, now that "my heart has an idea of what Jesus has reserved for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
The Story of a Soul, 1975

Nature reflects the mode of the soul I have noticed in all the serious circumstances of my life that nature always reflected the image of my soul. On days filled with tears the heavens cried along with me; on days of joy the sun sent forth its joyful rays in profusion and the blue skies were not obscured by a single cloud.
The Story of a Soul, 1975

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Teacher, writer, mystic, poet and prolific novelist, Evelyn Underhill sought to make the mystical side of Christianity more intelligible to ordinary readers. She was born in England and educated at King’s College for Women in London. She gained fame as a lecturer in religion at Manchester College in Oxford where she was known for her books on mysticism and her lengthy chronicles of historical mystical experiences. She emphasized that these experience are fundamental to the full practice of Christianity or any religion. Her ecological contribution lies in the way she describes the processes of coming to knowledge of God through experience of His presence in creation, through the attitudes which bring purification and facilitate knowledge of this presence, and through the symbolism by which one discerns meaning in creation.

The meaning of symbols in creation The symbol, or significant image, is not ... a substitute for spiritual truth. It is rather the point where the physical and metaphysical meet – a half-way house where the world of things and the world of spirit meet.
Worship (1937)

The variable state of the earth Evelyn Underhill paraphrases in poetic language the Book of Wisdom when she says that creation is different to different people, depending upon their level of wholeness. I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or her who shall be complete. The earth remains jagged and broken only to him or her who remains jagged and broken.
Practical Mysticism, E. P. Dutton & Co., New York, 1915, p. 104

To perceive nature’s secrets

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Nature reveals little of her secrets to those who only look and listen with the outward eye and ear. The condition of all valid seeing and hearing, upon every plane of consciousness, lies not in the sharpening of the senses, but in a peculiar attitude of the whole personality: in a self-forgetting attentiveness, a profound concentration, a self-merging, which operates a real communion between the seer and the seen — in a word, in contemplation.
Mysticism, pg. 300, as quoted in Wayne Simsic, Songs of Sunrise, Seeds of Prayer, Twenty-Third Publications, Mystic, CT, 1991, pg. 98.

Forest epiphany Christ comes to flower Within my wintry wood, as once in Bethlehem... He makes his nest Within the living world, safe in its sod. There, in each sudden snowdrop manifest, The Earth shows forth her God.
Theophanies, “Forest Epiphany”

Christ transfigures the cosmos The visible world in its entirety is, or may be, a manifestation of the glory of God; and the Christian message of hope extends beyond man to the whole created universe, which is destined to be redeemed and transfigured by the life-giving Spirit of Christ. Already it is through the transfiguration of its simplest elements, that the very life of God is communicated to men. Thus the Eucharist, as the focal point of Christian worship, whilst losing none of its personal and life-giving character, takes on a cosmic meaning. It witnesses to the ultimate transfiguration of the things of earth by an invasion of supernatural power. It points beyond the here and now to a transubstantiation of the whole material order; a veritable “bringing in of the Kingdom of God.”
Mysticism and the Eastern Church, Student Christian Movement, Marburg, Germany, 1926, Introduction

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Immanence I come in the little things, Saith the Lord: Not borne on morning wings of majesty, but I have set My Feet Amidst the delicate and bladed wheat That springs triumphant in the furrowed sod. There do I dwell, in weakness and in power; Not broken or divided, saith our God! In your strait garden plot I come to flower: about your porch, My Vine meed, fruitful, doth entwine; Waits, at the threshold, Love’s appointed hour. I come in the little things, Saith the Lord: Yea! on the glancing wings of eager birds, the soft pattering feet Of furred and gentle beasts, I come to meet Your hard and wayward heart. In brown bright eyes That peep from out the brake, I stand confest, On every nest where feathery patience is content to brood And leaves her pleasure for the high empise of motherhood — There doth My Godhead rest. I come in the little things, Saith the Lord: My starry wings, I do forsake, love’s highway of humility to take: Meekly I fit My Stature to your need. In beggar’s part About your gates I shall not cease to plead — As man, to speak with man — Till by such art, I shall achieve My Immortal Plan, pass the low lintel of the human heart.
“Immanence,” quoted in Morrison, Masterpieces of Religious Verse, 1948

A sea of spirit Nothing in all nature is so lovely and so vigorous, so perfectly at home in its environment, as a fish in the sea. Its surroundings give to it a beauty, quality, and power which is not its own. We take it out, and at once a poor, limp, dull thing, fit for nothing, is gasping away its life. So the soul sunk in God, living the life of prayer, is supported, filled, transformed in beauty, by a vitality and a power which are not its own.
The Golden Sequence 406

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Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965)
Born in the Vosges mountains near the Alsace-Lorraine border of Germany, Albert Schweitzer became a world famous organist, a medical doctor, a doctor of theology and philosophy, and authority on the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. To avoid mediocrity but also to serve his Lord, Schweitzer renounced a career in medical science to assist the people of French Equatorial Africa. Amidst primitive and dangerous conditions, through prayer and reflection, Albert Schweitzer maintained an iron discipline while he built a medical mission in Central Africa. Jesus Christ was always the center of his life, and Schweitzer demonstrated that one person, enamored of Christ, can change the shape of the world. His main contribution to environmental theology lies in his insistence that an ethic of respect for nature must be "an absolute ethic" which does not change because of circumstances or situations. Reverence for life Only by means of reverence for life can we establish a spiritual and humane relationship with both people and all living creatures within our reach. Only in this fashion can we avoid harming others, and, within the limits of our capacity, go to their aid whenever they need us....
Albert Schweitzer: Reverence for Life, trans. by C. Campion, 1933, Holt, Reinhart and Winson, Kansas City, 1965, p.26

A spiritual relationship with the world Reverence for life brings us into a spiritual relationship with the world which is independent of all knowledge of the universe. Through the dark valley of resignation it leads us by an inward necessity up to the shining heights of ethical acceptance of the world.
Albert Schweitzer: Reverence for Life, trans. by C. Campion, 1933, Holt, Reinhart and Winson, Kansas City, 1965, p.26

The unity of all life The deeper we look into nature, the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a mystery, and that we are united with all the life that is in nature. Man can no longer live his life for himself alone. We realize that all life is valuable and
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that we are united to all this life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship to the universe.
Albert Schweitzer: Reverence for Life, trans. by C. Campion, 1933, Holt, Reinhart and Winson, Kansas City, 1965, p.47

An absolute ethic of nature The ethic of reverence for life recognizes no relative ethic. It considers good only the maintenance and furtherance of life. It brands as evil all that destroys and hurts life, no matter what the circumstances may be. It keeps no store of appropriate compromises between ethics and necessity ready for use. Again and again, and always in some original fashion, the absolute ethic of reverence for life brings man to terms with reality. It does not rid him of conflicts, but it forces him to decide for himself in every case how far he can remain ethical, and how far he must yield to the necessity of destroying and harming life and suffer the ensuing guilt. A man does not make moral progress by being instructed in compromises between the ethical and the voice of the ethical, by being ruled ever more strongly by a longing to preserve life and to promote it, and by withstanding ever more stubbornly the necessity for destroying and injuring it.
Albert Schweitzer: Reverence for Life, Hallmark edition, trans. by C. Campion, 1933, Holt, Reinhart and Winson, Kansas City, 1965, p.47

Life is sacred to the truly religious man A man's religion is of little value unless even seemingly insignificant creatures benefit from it. A truly religious man does not ask how far this or that life deserves sympathy as valuable in itself. Nor does he ask how far it is capable of feeling. To him, life as such is sacred. The countryman who has mowed down a meadow as fodder for his cows should take care that on the way home he does not, in wanton past time, cut off the head of a single flower growing on the edge of the road, for in doing so he injured life without being forced to do so by necessity.
quoted in Lewis Regenstein, Replenish the Earth, Crossroads Press, 1990, pg. 149.

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The beginning of reverence for life But there can be no divine kingdom in world if there is not first of all in our hearts. The beginning of the kingdom is to be found in our determination to bring our every thought and deed under the dominion of the kingdom. Nothing will come to pass without this inwardness. The spirit of God will only contend against the spirit of the world when it has triumphed over the spirit in our hearts.
quoted from Albert Schweitzer, Reverence for Life, Philosophy Books, Kansas City, Hallmark edition, 1965, 1971, pg. 37.

A prayer for the animals Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals, for animals who are suffering; for animals who are overworked, underfed and cruelly treated; for all wistful creatures in captivity that beat their wings against bars; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that must be put to death. We entreat for them all thy mercy and pity. For those who deal with them, we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kind words. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals, and so to share the blessings of the merciful.
quoted in Lewis Regenstein, Replenish the Earth, Crossroads Press, 1990, pg. 149.

A lesson on loyalty from wild geese

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A flock of wild geese had settled to rest upon a pond. One of the flock was captured by a gardener who clipped its wings before releasing it. When the other geese started to resume their flight, this one tried frantically, but vainly, to lift itself into the air. The others, observing his struggles, flew about in obvious efforts to encourage him; but it was no use. Thereupon, the entire flock settled back on the pond and waited, even though the urge to continue on was strong within them. They waited until the damaged feathers had grown sufficiently to permit the goose to fly. Meanwhile the gardener, having been touched by the ethical geese, gladly watched them as they finally rose together, and all resumed their long flight.
Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 49

Reverence for life is ethical mysticism Any profound view of the world is mysticism in that it brings men into a spiritual relationship with the Infinite. The view of reverence for life is ethical mysticism. It allows union with the Infinite to be realized by ethical action.
Out of My Life and Thought, Epilogue, written in Lambarene (1931), Henry Holt and Co., 1933, pg. 182

Faith is the basis for worthwhile work No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakens into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted for the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith.
Bill Schaeffer in "The Land Stewardship Letter," Journal of the Land Stewardship Project, Marine, Minn., Winter, 1994, pg. 13.

The fields speak of God If is harder for us today to feel near to God among the streets and houses of the city than it is for countryfolk. For them the harvested fields bathed in the autumn mists speak of God and his goodness far more vividly than any human lips.
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The ethical man

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The ethical man... tears no leaf from a tree, plucks no flower, and takes care to crush no insect. ... If he walks on the road after a shower and sees an earthworm which has strayed on to it, he bethinks himself that he must get dried up in the sun, if it does not return soon enough to the ground into which it can burrow, so he lifts it from the deadly stone surface, and puts it on the grass.
Albert Schweitzer, quoted in Andrew Linzey, Animal Theology, University of Illinois Press, 1995, pg. 5

The only way out of chaos The only possible way out of chaos is for us to come once more under the control of the ideals of true civilization through the adoption of an attitude toward life that contains those ideals... It consists in an ethical affirmation of the world and of life.
Out of My Life and Thought, quoted in The Green Bible, Orbis Books, pg. 5.

All life is sacred To the truly ethical man, all life is sacred, including forms of life that from the human point of view may seem to be lower than ours.
Man and Creature

Avoiding sins against life Whenever we harm any form of life, we must be clear about whether it was really necessary to do so. We must not go beyond the truly unavoidable harm, not even in seemingly insignificant matters. The farmer who mows down a thousand flowers in his meadow, in order to feed his cows, should be on guard, as he turns homeward, not to decapitate some flower by the roadside, just by way of thoughtlessly passing the time. For then he sins against life without being under the compulsion of necessity.
Reverence for Life, “Man and Creature”

Our duty to help the animals
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When we help an insect out of a difficulty, we are only trying to compensate for man's ever renewed sins against other creatures. Whenever animals are impressed into the service of man, every one of us should be mindful of the toll we are exacting. We cannot stand idly by and see an animal subjected to unnecessary harshness or deliberate mistreatment. We cannot say it is not our business to interfere. On the contrary, it is our duty to intervene in the animals's behalf.
Reverence for Life, “Man and Creature”

A criterion for an ethical relationship to creation A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow man, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life, that is in need of help.
Out of My Life and Thought, 1933

The solidarity of all life The important thing is that we are part of life.... We possess the capacities to bring still other lies into existence. In the same way, if we look into a microscope we see cell producing cell. So nature compels us to recognize the fact of mutual dependence, each life necessarily helping the other lives which are linked to it. In the very fibers of our being, we bear within ourselves the fact of the solidarity of life.... Seeing its presence in ourselves, we realize how closely we are linked with others of our kind. We might like to stop here, but we cannot. Life demands that we see through to the solidarity of all life which we can in any degree recognize as having some similarity to the life that is in us.
Out of My Life and Thought

Descartes’ theory about animals and pain It would seem as if Descartes, with his theory that animals have no souls and are mere machines which only seem to feel pain, had bewitched all of modern philosophy. Philosophy has totally evaded the problem of man’s conduct toward other organisms. We might say that philosophy has played a piano of which a whole series of keys were considered untouchable. To the universal ethic of reverence for life, pity for animals, so often smilingly dismissed as sentimentality, becomes a mandate no thinking person can escape.
Reverence for Life: The Words of Albert Schweitzer

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The fact of mutual dependence The important thing is that we are part of life.... We possess the capacities to bring still other lives into existence. In the same way, if we look into a microscope we see cell producing cell. So nature compels us to recognize the fact of mutual dependence, each life necessarily helping the other lives which are linked to it. In the very fibers of our being, we bear within ourselves the fact of the solidarity of life. ... Seeing its presence in ourselves, we realize how closely we are linked with others of our kind. We might like to stop here, but we cannot. Life demands that we see through to the solidarity of all life which we can in any degree recognize as having some similarity to the life that is in us.
Out of My Life and Thought

Scientific experiments on animals Those who carry out scientific experiments with animals, in order to apply the knowledge gained to the alleviation of human ills, should never reassure themselves with the generality that their cruel acts serve a useful purpose. In each individual case they must ask themselves whether there is a real necessity for imposing such a sacrifice upon a living creature. They must try to reduce the suffering Insofar as they are able. It is inexcusable for a scientific institution to omit anesthesia in order to save time and trouble. It is horrible to subject animals to torment merely in order to demonstrate to students phenomena that are already familiar. The very fact that animals, by the pain they endure in experiments, contribute so much to suffering humanity, should forge a new and unique kind of solidarity between them and us. For that reason alone, it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to do all possible good to nonhuman life.
Reverence for Life: The Words of Albert Schweitzer

Sharing the pain of creation I could not but feel with a sympathy full of regret all of the pain that I saw around me, not only that of men, but that of the whole creation. From this community of suffering, I have never tried to withdraw myself. It seemed to me a matter of course that we should all take our share of the burden of suffering which lies upon the world.
Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 30

Reverence for life and the scholar
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Reverence for life... does not allow the scholar to live for his science alone, even if he is very useful to the community in so doing. It does not permit the artist to exist only for his art, even if he gives inspiration to many by its means. It refuses to let the businessman imagine that he fulfills all legitimate demands in the course of his business activities. It demands from all that they should sacrifice a portion of their own lives for others.
“Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben,” in The World of Albert Schweitzer, picture editing and book design by Barbara Morgan, Harper and Brothers, New York, 1955, p. 136.

The mystery of Life Let a man once begin to think about the mystery of his life and the links which connect him with the life that fills the world, and he cannot but bring to bear upon his own life and all other life that comes within his reach the principle of reverence for life.
Out of My Life and Thought, as quoted in Steve van Matre, The Earth Speaks, The Institute for Earth Education, Warrenville, Il, 1983, p. 133

Knowing the God who is within We can find our right place in the Being that envelops us only if we experience in our individual lives the universal life which wills and rules within it. The nature of the Living Being without me I can understand only through the Living Being which is within me.
Out of my Life and Thought

Gratitude

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The gratitude ascending from man to God is the supreme transaction between earth and heaven. Most men, however, live their daily lives oblivious of this supreme event. They have no inkling that their lives are lost to God because they have not given him thanks.... But to give thanks is not only a happening that embraces the whole purpose of creation within itself; it is also an experience. He who thanks God with his whole heart experiences something. He is himself enriched. Now take a look at yourselves. The times of poverty within are the times when you do not give thanks to God. What life brings has no value in itself. It acquires value only by our giving thanks to God.... Those who thank God much are the truly wealthy. So our inner happiness depends not on what we experience, but on the degree of our gratitude to God.
Reverence for Life, “Gratitude: the Secret of Life,” translated by Reginald Fuller from Strassburger Predigten, Harper & Row, Publ., New York and London, 1966, p. 39-40

A prayer for all living creatures It was quite incomprehensible to me — this was before I began going to school — why in my evening prayers I should pray for human beings only. So when my mother had prayed with me and had kissed me good-night, I used to add silently a prayer that I had composed myself for all living creatures. It ran like this: O Heavenly Father, protect and bless all things that have breath. Guard them from all evil, and let them sleep in peace.”
“Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben,” in The World of Albert Schweitzer, picture editing and book design by Barbara Morgan, Harper and Brothers, New York, 1955, p. 136.

A new spirit must emerge If mankind is not to perish after all the dreadful things it has done, then a new spirit must emerge. And this new spirit is coming, not with a roar, but with a quiet birth, not with grand measures and words, but with an imperceptible change in the atmosphere, a change in which each of us is participating....
Letter to German youth leader, 1959 417

Thanksgiving: A key to opening creation Schweitzer while still in Germany recognized that thanksgiving for creation opens a door to the joys of life as well as an entry point to creation’s lessons. He says, “When you feel weak, downcast, and sad, start giving thanks....” The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live. He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything. If you do not own fields or meadows, take the giving of thanks at this harvest festival as a parable. That’s what our Lord did, and he too did not own fields. He took everything in nature as a parable and so owned it in spirit. We offer up thanksgiving this day for the fruits of the earth. We thank God for the sunshine, but also for the hard rain that satisfies the thirst of earth, for the driving wind that carries the pollen from one plant to another, for the cold that preserved the seed in the earth, for the storms of spring that washed the land of snow and ice. Thus, you give thanks to God, not only for the happy and sunny events which ripen your life’s fruit. Much that is sad and hard is also mixed in with life’s blessings. And for that you must thank God, because it too has contributed to your spiritual growth.
“Gratitude – the Secret of Life,” in Reverence for Life, translated by Reginald Fuller, Harper and Row, New York, 1947, 1969, p. 41

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Helen Keller was born in Tescumbia in rural Alabama, the daughter of a former Captain in the Confederate Army. As a 19 month-old baby, she caught a fever so fierce that she nearly died. She survived but was left entirely without sight or hearing. The story of Helen Keller is the story of how a blind and deaf girl grew up to become a world-famous author and eloquent public speaker. She learned a simple language of hand signs, and from that progressed to the symbol language of braille. From braille she began the slow journey to speech, entirely without the benefit of hearing. She teaches that we can sense the world and the presence of God with our whole being, and that there is a psychic dimension beyond hearing and seeing which can awaken and sense what is in God’s creation. Helen had an unshakable faith that led her into reflections about the world. Despite being blind, she discerned great injustice in the world and dedicated her life to its eradication. She became a suffragette, demanding equal rights for women and better pay for working class people. While there are many lessons from the life of Helen Keller, the most poignant is her demonstration that there is far more to the world than what can be seen or heard if one would be quiet and feel and sense with one’s whole being. In the garden of the Lord The Word of God came unto me, Sitting alone among the multitudes; And my blind eyes were touched with light. And there was laid upon my lips a flame of fire. I laugh and shout for life is good, Though my feet are set in silent ways. In merry mood I leave the crowd To walk in my garden. Even as I walk I gather fruits and flowers in my hands. And with joyful heart I bless the sun That kindles all the place with radiant life. I run with playful winds that blow the scent Of rose and jessamine in eddying whirls. At last I come where tall lilies grow, Lifting their faces like white saints to God. While the lilies pray, I kneel upon the ground; I have strayed into the holy temple of the Lord.
Quoted in Morrison, Masterpieces of Religious Verse, “The Poetry of Helen Keller,” 1948.

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The joy of the world What a joy it is to feel the soft, springy earth under my feet once more, to follow grassy roads that lead to ferny brooks where I can bathe my fingers in a cataract of rippling notes, or to clamber over a stone wall into green fields that tumble and roll and climb in riotous gladness.
The Story of My Life, Steve van Matre, The Earth Speaks, 1983, Institute for Earth Education, p. 30.

Life is an adventure Helen learned to read lips by pressing her fingertips against them and feeling the movement and vibrations. This method, called tadoma, is a skill few people manage to acquire. She also learned to speak, a major achievement for someone totally deaf. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.
Quoted from “Art Glenn’s Favorite Quotes” website, www.chesco.com/~artman/keller

Contentment in creation Everything in nature has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content....
Art Glenn’s Favorite Quotes website, www.chesco.com/~artman/keller

The most beautiful things are beyond perception

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The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.
Art Glenn’s Favorite Quotes website, www.chesco.com/~artman/keller

Earth and sky That the sky is brighter than the earth means little unless the earth itself is appreciated and enjoyed.
Art Glenn’s Favorite Quotes website, www.chesco.com/~artman/keller

Feeling creation Helen Keller felt the features and creatures of nature, considering each thing an embodiment of spirit. To her the sun had volition, trees had personalities and distinct psychic feelings. “Sweet Mother Nature can have no secrets,” she said, because she discerned the feelings of nature with her whole body. This sensitivity gave her an unusual ability to describe the innate qualities of each part of creation in a way others with sight might not. To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.
Art Glenn’s Favorite Quotes website, www.chesco.com/~artman/keller

I feel eternity in my soul Helen possessed a spiritual sensitivity to things beyond the physical. To her sightless and deaf senses, there was no separation between things physical and spiritual. It was said that she could feel mood changes through her skin; sense attitudes and emotional changes in the people close around her; she could even discern the thoughts of those who visited her. Bound to suns and planets by invisible cords, I feel the flame of eternity in my soul. Here in the midst of the everyday air, I sense the rush of ethereal rains. I am conscious of the splendor that binds all things of earth to all things in heaven.
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Quoted in The Wisdom of Nature, Dayton Foster, editor, Naturgraph Publ., Happy Camp, CA 1993, p. 100

 

T. S. Eliot (1888 - 1965)
T. S. Eliot exerted a profound influence on his contemporaries in the arts as well as on a great international audience of readers. He is a winner of the Nobel prize in Literature, widely honored for his poetry, criticism, essays and plays, and known for his insight and ability to convey deep religious concepts in a few words. His ecological contribution lies in the manner in which he blends the insights of Christian experience with a metaphysics of nature all blended together in the music and meter of poetry.

A consequence of the materialism we call overconsumption Descend lower, descend only Into the world of perpetual solitude, World not world, but that which is not world, Internal darkness, deprivation And destitution of all property, Desiccation of the world of sense, Evacuation of the world of fancy, Inoperancy of the world of spirit....
Burnt Norton III, in Four Quartets, Faber and Faber, London, 1950, pg. 11.

The creatures affirm Thee, O God We praise Thee, O God, for Thy glory displayed in all the creatures of the earth... For all things exist only as seen by Thee, only as known by Thee.... They affirm Thee in living: all things affirm Thee in living; the bird of the air, both the hawk and the finch; the beast on the earth, both the wolf and the lamb; the worm in the soil and the worm in the belly.
Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 19 423

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C. S. Lewis (1893 - 1963)
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Clive Staples ("Jack") Lewis was reared in a bookish home, where the reality he found in literature seemed as tangible and meaningful to him as anything outdoors. Lewis emerged during the era of the Second World War as a religious broadcaster who gained fame as "the apostle to the skeptics" throughout Britain and the United States. His wartime radio essays explaining the Christian faith comforted the fearful and wounded, and were eventually collected and published as Mere Christianity. He is one of the most important Christian writers of the 20th Century.

Experiments on animals Once the old Christian idea of a total difference in kind between man and beast has been abandoned, then no argument for experiments on animals can be found which is not also an argument for experiments on inferior men. If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing up our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies or capitalists for the same reason.
Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 31

Pan’s purge I dreamt that all the planning of peremptory humanity Had crushed Nature finally beneath the foot of Man; Birth-control and merriment, Earth completely sterilized, Bungalow and fun-fair, had fulfilled our Plan; But the lion and the unicorn were sighing at the funeral, Crying at the funeral, Sobbing at the funeral of the god Pan. And the elephant was crying. The pelican in his piety Struck his feathered bosom till the blood ran, And howling at humanity the owl and iguanodon, The bittern and the buffalo, their dirge began, But dangerously, suddenly, a strange ecstatic shuddering, A change that set me shuddering Through all the wailful noises of the beasts ran.
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No longer were they sorrowful, but stronger and more horrible, It had only been a rumour of the death of Pan. The scorpions and the mantichores and corpulent tarantulas Were closing in around me, hissing, Long Live Pan! And forth with rage unlimited the North Wind drew his scimitar, In wrath with ringing scimitar He came, with sleet and shipwreck, for the doom of Man. And now, descending, ravening, loud and large, the avalanche, And after it the earthquake, was loosed upon Man. Towering and cloven-hoofed, the power of Pan came over us, Stamped, bit, tore, broke. It was the end of Man; Except where saints and savages were kept from his ravaging, And crept out when the ravaging Was ended, on an empty earth. The new world began. A small race — a smiling heaven — all round the silences Returned; there was comfort for corrected Man. Flowered turf had swallowed up the towered cities; following His flocks and herds where nameless, untainted rivers ran, Leisurely he pondered, at his pleasure wandering, Measurelessly wandering... Clear, on the huge pastures, the young voice of Man.
The Collected Poems of C. S. Lewis

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Nicholas Zernov (1898 - 1980)
A Russian historian and commentator on relations between the traditional Orthodox Church and the Soviet system, his historical descriptions portray the Russian understanding of God and creation as intertwined. He draws out those elements of Christian faith as understood in precommunist Russia that connect nature and humanity back to God. His descriptions of creation in terms of iconic images imply a transparency to all things so that the world and each thing in it is seen as representative or symbolic of ever deeper meaning and purpose.

Icons as witnesses to a transfigured cosmos Icons were for the Russians not merely paintings. They were dynamic manifestations of man’s spiritual power to redeem creation through beauty and art. The colors and lines of the icons were not meant to imitate nature; the artists aimed at demonstrating that men, animals and plants, and even the whole cosmos, could be rescued from their present state of degradation and restored to their proper “Image.” The icons were pledges of the coming victory of a redeemed creation over the fallen one.... The artistic perfection of an icon was only a reflection of a celestial glory – it was a concrete example of matter restored to its original harmony and beauty, and serving as a vehicle of the spirit. The icons are part of the transfigured cosmos.
The Russians and their Church, SVS Press, Pgs. 107-108.

The human body, creation and salvation: eastern and western views In the West body and spirit are clearly distinguished, and there is a tendency to set them in opposiiton to each other; in the Christian East they are treated as interdependent parts of the same creation. In the West the individual occupies the center of attention; in the East he is always seen as a member of a community. In the West mankind is the main object of redemption; in the East the whole cosmos is brought within its scope. The West likes clear, precise formulae; it is logical and analytical.... The East treats religion more as a way of life than as a doctrine; it mistrusts over-elaborate definitions. It believes that the Church and its sacraments are divine mysteries... and that they will always evade analysis by logical reasoning.
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Eastern Christians look upon the world as one great organism; they approach the divine manifestations of life as an expression of the same reality. The East does not think about salvation in terms of the individual soul returning to its Maker; it is visualized rather as a gradual process of transfiguration of the whole cosmos, culminating in theosis. Man is saved, not from the world, but with the world.
Nicholas Zernov, The Church of the Eastern Christians, SPCK Publ., London, 1947, p. 39, quoted in Jon Gregerson, The Transfigured Cosmos, Frederick Ungar Publ. Co., New York, 1960, pp. 9-10

Creation and the sacraments Zernov describes the differences between the understanding of the Holy Eucharist in the East and in the West which reflect, he says, fundamental differences in cosmology. Because this deals with differences in worldview, this shapes how one sees the environment, which gives this passage ecological relevance. Zernov says that in the West (referring to the theological understanding of the Roman Catholic Church) the Body of Christ in the Eucharist is seen as God coming down from heaven in the process of transubstantiation, and Christ taking form within the blessed host. This reflects the way Christ and creation are understood. In the East, the mysteries of the Divine Life are set in a timeless reality. The words of Christ at the Last Supper are repeated and gradually the Divine Presence is revealed in the metamorphosis or transfiguration of the bread and wine of the Eucharist into the Body and Blood of Christ. During the Divine Sacrifice, streams of Divine Grace flood into the world. Heaven and earth, Infinite and finite, Uncreated and created, God and man come together and become one, or rather, their already existing unity is realized. The Eucharist, for an Orthodox Christian, is not so much a sudden intervention from above, as a gradual revelation of the divine presence which is always here.
Nicholas Zernov, The Church of the Eastern Christians, SPCK Publ., London, 1947

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Dumitru Staniloae (1903-1993)
Dumitru Staniloae is the greatest theologian of the modern Romanian Orthodox Church and one of the more important Christian theologians of the 20th Century. Born in an isolated agricultural village in western Romania, he was steeped in the warm Romanian peasant culture of his childhood and always sought to incorporate its core values – simple faith in God and deep kinship with the earth and all living things – in his mature thought. One of his abiding concerns was the cosmic unity of all creation in Jesus Christ. After becoming a priest he received advanced theological education in Greece, Germany and France, but his greatest love was patristics. In sixty years of teaching and writing, interrupted by his arrest and imprisonment for five years in the brutal Romanian gulag of the communists in the fifties, he almost single-handedly restored Romanian Orthodox theology, giving it a permanent orientation toward patristic spirituality, a creation-caring, Christ-centered cosmology, and the experience of the prayer of the heart. Never an "academic" thinker in the narrow sense, Fr. Staniloae was in life a witness to the wholeness and peace of the Spirit-filled life. His writings continue to bear witness to the Christian art of finding the Creator in and through the creation.

The deification and salvation of the world The economy of God, that is, his plan with regard to the world, consists of the deification of the created world, something which, as a consequence of sin, implies also its salvation.
The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 2, “The World, Creation and Deification,” Holy Cross Press, Brookline, MA 2000, p. 1.

“World” means man and nature together Salvation and deification have humanity directly as their aim, but not a humanity separated from nature, rather one that is ontologically united with it. For nature depends on man, or makes him whole, and man cannot reach perfection if he does not reflect nature and is not at work upon it. Thus, by “world” both nature and humanity are understood; or when the word “world” is used to indicate one of these realities, the other is always implied as well
The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 2, “The World, Creation and Deification,” Holy Cross Press, Brookline, Mass., 2000, p. 1

West and East on the salvation of nature and man
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Western Christianity has often had the tendency to refer salvation to man as separate from nature. Eastern Christianity, on the other hand, has never conceived them separately from one another, although lately the West too has generally abandoned the conception of man’s salvation as something separate from nature....
The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 2, “The World, Creation and Deification,” Holy Cross Press, Brookline, MA 2000, p. 2

Nature reflects the human condition The dependence of what is human on nature can be said to be a part of the nature of the human being... [The] human being cannot be conceived apart from cosmic nature. This can mean that nature too does not fulfill its purpose apart from human beings or through a human being who works against nature. Through the corruption, sterilization, and poisoning of nature, a human being makes his own existence, as well as that of his fellow human beings, impossible. Thus, nature is [or reflects] the condition not just of individual human existence, but also of human solidarity. Nature appears in a wholly clear fashion as the medium through which the human being can do good or evil to his fellows, as he himself is responsible for his own development or ruin from an ethical and spiritual point of view. Nature is interposed, fully visible, within the beneficial or the destructive dialogue that goes on among human beings, a dialogue outside of which no individual human being, nor the human community itself, can exist.
The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Holy Cross Press, Brookline, MA 2000, p. 2

Spiritual growth through nature [There is an interdependence of humanity with nature.] As a conclusion of the interdependence of men vis-a-vis nature as the gift of God, nature has to be maintained in essence, not only in its elements, but also in its natural syntheses. For it is these syntheses alone that are fertile, rather than static and sterile. They are found within an unceasing fertility and bring forth for humankind the means of existence. As gift of God, nature renews itself continually in the same propitious manner for human existence, without ever being exhausted in the movement of renewal and fertility. Thus, when nature is maintained and made use of in conformity with itself, it proves itself a means through which man grows spiritually and brings his good intentions toward
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himself and his fellow men to bear fruit; but when man sterilizes, poisons and abuses nature on a monstrous scale, he hampers his own spiritual growth and that of others.
The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Holy Cross Press, Brookline, MA 2000, p. 3

Nature as a medium for grace or evil According to our faith, each human person is a hypostasis [microcosmic summary] of the entire cosmic nature, but he is this only in solidarity with others. Cosmic nature is thus common to all human hypostases, although each one hypostasizes it and lives it personally in a way that is particular to himself and complementary to that of others.... Nature as a whole is destined for the glory in which men will share in the kingdom of heaven, and even now that glory is felt in the peace and light that radiate from the person who is a saint. The glory of Christ on Mount Tabor was spread out over nature too. Yet for the eyes and senses of the many it can remain hidden, while nature can be degraded and affected by the wickedness of the few. In its turn nature can be the medium through which the believer receives divine grace or the beneficent uncreated energies, just as it can be the medium through which influences driving him toward evil flow out upon him.
The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, “The World, Creation and Deification,” Holy Cross, Brookline, MA, p. 2-3

The connection between God, the human and creation The world is offered to the human person by God, and to God by the human person. The world is seen by God in the human person and by the human person in dependence upon God. ... God creates the world and time, and he remains in connection with the world through his will for the sake of dialogue with conscious beings whom he wishes to lead into full communion with himself.
The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, “Creation: The Visible World,” Holy Cross Press, Brookline, MA 2000, p. 13

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Creation as tool for deeper communion with God Only in human subjects does the world discover and fulfill its meaning. For only humans beings are conscious of a meaning to their existence and to physical and biological nature and only they are able to go beyond the repetition of the laws of nature, as those who have the capacity to raise themselves to pursue and realize other meanings through nature. Through its contingent rationality and the meaning that humans can perceive through it, the world is at the service of this movement of raising ourselves to our ultimate meaning, or indeed, of achieving our fullness in communion with the personal God. All these things impose on us a responsibility before God and before the world itself, and it is by the exercise of this responsibility that we increase in our communion with God and with our fellow human beings as we humanize or perfect ourselves.
The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, “Creation: The Visible World,” Holy Cross Press, Brookline, MA 2000, p. 18-19

The things of the world as gift God gave us things as gifts not only that we might accustom our strength of will to transcend them his own sake, but for the sake of our fellow humans as well, through our acts of bestowing these gifts upon them. The love we manifest in using these things as gifts must be directed not only toward God but also toward our neighbors so that we might gain love for them, and communion with them (Matt. 10:8). The good things of God as gifts serve as a bond of life between persons, and hence they should not come to be like screens that keep them apart. Created things can serve, therefore, either for the perfecting or for the corrupting of human beings.
The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, “Creation: The Visible World,” Holy Cross Press, Brookline, MA 2000, p. 26

Effort is required to learn from creation

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God does not infuse into the human person ready-made the meanings and the names of what he has created. He awaits the human person’s effort to decipher them, and it was to this end that he gave the human person his inner capability and need. These meanings and the uses of them... are not given to him all at once. Only thus are spiritual growth and liberty implied in the dialogue. The meanings of things are given us objectively, just as our capacity to grasp them is also given us. But at the same time, these meanings have something of the character of a solicitation from God to which humans must expend themselves in responding. God waits for the human person to discover the infinite thoughts he has posited within things. ... God waits for us to have an increasingly better and fuller understanding of the thoughts he has placed within things and of the words he has addressed to us through them.
The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, “Creation: The Visible World,” Holy Cross Press, Brookline, MA 2000, p. 36-37

Created things as the basis for dialogue with God Created things are not given to us only so that each of us can carry on a private dialogue with God; they have been given so that all of us can take part in a dialogue among ourselves and collectively take part in a dialogue with God. Put another way, this dialogue is to take place among ourselves in the consciousness that created things are given us by God so as to be used as gifts among ourselves in his name, following his command, and out of his richness....
The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, “Creation: The Visible World,” Holy Cross Press, Brookline, MA 2000, p. 26-27

Natural revelation and supernatural revelation The Orthodox Church makes no separation between natural revelation and supernatural revelation. Natural revelation is known and understood fully in the light of supernatural revelation. That is why St. Maximos the Confessor does not posit an essential distinction between natural revelation and the supernatural or biblical one. ...
The Experience of God, trans. by Ioan Ionita & Robert Barringer, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline, 1994, p. 1

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Articulating the meanings imbued into creation

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Through created things God has given humans two gifts: first, the possibility to think and to speak, for this arises from the fact that God conceived the inner principles of things and posited them in existence, having created for them beforehand a material covering, adapted to the level of the humanity; and second, the need to conceive and express these inner principles so as to be able to make use of them in human relationships and in this way bring about that dialogue between themselves and God, which God willed to have with them, so that human beings might respond to God through their own thinking and speaking. It is precisely in this that all things find their meaning.... This is how we are to understand the words of Genesis: “So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field... and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name...” (Genesis 2:19). Thus God has asked man to speak inasmuch as he urged him to put within his nature the need to discover the words that God himself communicated to man through created things. For this reason even the words addressed to us by God through created things stimulate us to reach an understanding of them.
The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, “Creation: The Visible World,” Holy Cross Press, Brookline, MA 2000, p. 36.

Population and industrialization as challenges to love As man was forced to live in ever larger groups because of excessive industrialization and the growing urban population, much more effort was necessary to bring about love among him and his fellow-beings. It was easy to live in a small familiar group. Actually we witness today the contradictory phenomenon: the larger the group in which man lives, the more estranged he feels. But this is no joy for him. And we have to do our best to discern in any man in a crowd a valuable face of God that should deserve being loved, that should need my love, a fact which makes me to leave behind the barrenness of loneliness. As a matter of fact, living permanently in a large group of people may help me know every man's unique mystery and make myself richer by what each one of them transmits to me especially. Modern society requires increasing efforts from the Christian faith to fulfill itself and to help this society to go deeper in its humaneness.
1993 interview, “Romanians and their contribution to the world,” website: http://cpcug.org/user/stefan/listro.html

Man and the cosmos as natural revelation Speaking more concretely and in accordance with our faith, the content of natural revelation is the cosmos and man who is endowed with reason, with
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conscience, and with freedom. But man is not only an object that can be known with this revelation; he is also one who is a subject of the knowledge of revelation. Both man and the cosmos are equally the product of a creative act of God which is above nature, and both are maintained in existence by God through an act of conservation which has a supernatural character.
Dumitru Staniloae, The Experience of God, trans. by I. Ionita and R. Barringer, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline, 1994, pp. 1-2

Microcosm and macrocosm Some of the Fathers of the Church have said that man is a microcosm, a world which sums up in itself the larger world. St. Maximos the Confessor that the more correct way would be to consider man as a macrocosm, because he is called to comprehend the whole world within himself as one capable of comprehending it without losing himself, for he is distinct from the world. Therefore man effects a unity greater than the world exterior to himself, whereas, on the contrary, the world, as cosmos, as nature, cannot contain man fully within itself without losing him, that is, without losing in this way the most important part of reality, that part which, more than all others, gives reality its meaning.
Dumitru Staniloae, The Experience of God, trans. by Ioan Ionita & Robert Barringer, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline, 1994, p. 2

Human meaning in relation to the world The entire universe bears the stamp of a personal rationality intended for the eternal existence of human persons.... It is only through an eternal participation in the infinity of this Supreme Personal reality that our being reckons it will see its own meaning fulfilled. This is how the Orthodox Christian doctrine of the deification of our being through participation in God or through grace is to be understood. In other words, Our being reckons that its own meaning and, simultaneously the meaning of the whole of reality will be fulfilled only by virtue of the fact that between our persons and supreme or divine Person, there is no place for an intermediate existence: after God, man is also, in a way, immediate, able to participate immediately in everything God possesses as a degree of the supreme existence, all the while remaining man.
Dumitru Staniloae, The Experience of God, trans. by Ioan Ionita & Robert Barringer, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline, Massachusetts, 1994, p. 11. 437

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910 - 1998)
Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia to a Catholic family of Albanian descent amidst a community of Serbian Orthodox Christians and Muslims. As a teenager she joined the Sisters of Loreto and took the name "Teresa" after St. Teresa of Avila, patroness of the Order. In 1948, while serving as a missionary in India, she came across a halfdead woman lying in front of a Calcutta hospital. She stayed with the woman until she died. From that time on, she dedicated her life to helping those in India whom she called “the poorest of the poor.” She was guided to form an order of nuns called the Missionary of Charity Sisters. Her sisters would, like her, serve the poorest of the poor. The key to Mother’s devotion, says a biographer, is that she saw Jesus in every person she met and she felt His presence in every place she visited. Her devotion to the poor won her respect throughout the world, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Her ecological contribution lies in her awareness that the heights of spiritual attainment include care for the earth.

We need silence to find God We need to find God, but we cannot find him in noise or in excitement. See how nature, the trees, the flowers, the grass grow in deep silence. See how the stars, the moon, and the sun all move in silence.
A Treasury of Spiritual Wisdom, 1996, p. 429

Accept everything with joy The best way to show gratitude to God is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.
Treasury of Spiritual Wisdom, 1996, pg. 278

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Francis Schaeffer is an evangelical Christian who challenged the modern generation to apply biblical values to the task of everyday living. He passionately defended the idea of the inerrancy of Scripture when that idea had become weak; he solidified popular evangelical opposition to abortion; he inspired evangelicals to become serious scholars; and he revitalized the ancient idea of intentional Christian community. Even before the idea of “care for creation” entered Church discussion, he authored a little-read text, Pollution and the Death of Man, in which he applied scriptural principles to ecological concern. Schaeffer correctly predicted that if the Church did not participate in the debates surrounding ecological strategy, the environmental movement would adopt forms of pantheism as its foundational doctrines. In the religious void left by the failure of the Christian churches in the ‘60s and 70's to engage ecological issues, Hinduism, Buddhism and expressions from the New Age Movement have joined to make pantheism a significant option for many in the environmental movement. The legacy of Francis Schaeffer is an evangelical Christian world view which at once cares for creation and points to an intentionally Christian way of thinking and living.

A new sense of beauty The Church has not spoken out as it should have done throughout history against the abuse of nature. But when the Church puts belief into practice, in man and in nature, there is a substantial healing. One of the first fruits of that healing is a new sense of beauty. The aesthetic values are not to be despised. God has made man with a sense of beauty, in a way no animal has: no animal has ever produced a work of art. Man as made in the image of God has aesthetic quality, and as soon as he begins to deal with nature as he should — as having dominion but not exploiting nature as though it had no value in itself, and realizing it is also a creature of God as man is — beauty is preserved in nature.
Pollution and the Death of Man, 1970

The Christian duty of respect Christians, of all people, should not be the destroyers. We should treat nature with an overwhelming respect. We may cut down a tree to build a house or make a fire to keep warm, but we should not cut down the tree just to cut down the tree. We may, if necessary, bark the cork tree in order to have the use of the bark. But what we should not do is to bark the tree simply for the sake of doing so, and let it dry and stand there a dead skeleton in the wind. To do so is not to treat the tree with integrity.
Pollution and the Death of Man, 1970

Nature is to be honored

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So we find that when we begin to deal [with nature] on a Christian basis, things begin to change; not just theoretical things, important as they are, but practical things. Man is not to be sacrificed, as pantheism sacrifices him, because, after all, he was made in the image of God, and given dominion. Yet nature is to be honored, each thing on its own level. In other words, there is a balance here. Man has dominion because he is a moral creature. He has a right by choice to have dominion. But he is also by choice to exercise it rightly. He is to honor what God has made, up to the very highest level that he can honor it, without sacrificing man.
Pollution and the Death of Man, 1970

The nature of human dominion When we have dominion over nature, it is not ours either. It belongs to God, and we are to exercise our dominion over these things, not as though entitled to exploit them, but as things borrowed or held in trust, which we are to use realizing that they are not ours intrinsically. Man’s dominion is under God’s Dominion, and in God’s Domain.
Pollution and the Death of Man, 1970

A right and a wrong dominion Man was given dominion over creation. But since the Fall, man has exercised this dominion wrongly. He is a rebel who has set himself at the center of the universe. By creation man has dominion, but as a fallen creature, he has used that dominion wrongly. Because he is fallen, he exploits created things as though they were nothing in themselves, and as though he has an autonomous right to them. Surely then, Christians, who have returned through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ to fellowship with God, and have a proper place of reference to the God who is there, should demonstrate a proper use of nature. We are to have dominion over it, but we are not going to use it as fallen man uses it. We are not going to act as though it were nothing in itself, or as though we will do to nature everything we can do.
Pollution and the Death of Man, 1970

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We respect creation because God made it The hippies today [writing in 1969] are right in their desire to be close to nature, even walking in bare feet in order to feel it. But they have no sufficient philosophy, so it drifts into pantheism and soon becomes ugly. But Christians, who should understand the creation principle, have a reason for respecting nature, and when they do, it results in benefits to man. Let us be clear: it is not just a pragmatic attitude; there is a basis for it. We treat it with respect because God made it. When an orthodox evangelical Christian mistreats or is insensible to nature, at that point he is more wrong than the hippie who has no clear basis for his feeling for nature, and yet senses that man and nature should have a relationship beyond that of spoiler and spoiled.
Pollution and the Death of Man, 1970

A failure to teach a correct dominion The Church, at a point in history when it had the consensus, as it does not have now, failed (with some notable exceptions) to speak against the abuse of economic dominion. . . . So man has dominion over nature, but he uses it wrongly. The Christian is called upon to exhibit this dominion, but exhibit it rightly, treating the thing as having value in itself, exercising dominion without being destructive. The Church should always have taught and done this, but she has generally failed to do so, and we need to confess our failure.... By and large we must say that for a long time Christian teachers, including the best orthodox evangelical theologians, have shown a real poverty here.
Pollution and the Death of Man, 1970

The value of a tree When we consider the tree, which is “below” the fish, we may chop it down so long as remember it is a tree, with its own value as a tree. It is not a zero. Some of our housing developments demonstrate the practical application of this. Bulldozers have gone in to flatten everything and clear the trees before the houses are begun. The end result is ugliness. It would have cost another thousand dollars to bulldoze around the trees, but they are simply bulldozed down without question. And then we wonder, looking at the result, how people can live there. It is less human in its barrenness, and even economically it is poorer as the topsoil washes away. So when man breaks God’s truth, in reality, he suffers.
Pollution and the Death of Man, 1970

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A test of how we really love the Creator If I love the Lover, I love what the Lover has made.... If I don’t love what the Lover has made — in the area of man, in the area of nature — and really love it because He made it, do I really love the Lover?
Pollution and the Death of Man, 1970

The root of human problems It is either not knowing or denying the createdness of things that is at the root of the blackness of modern man’s difficulties.... Once one removes the createdness of all things, meaning and categories can only be some sort of leap... into an irrational world. Modern man’s blackness, therefore, rests primarily upon his losing the reality of the createdness of all things (all things except the God who always has been).
Genesis in Time and Space, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, 1972, p. 30

Perspective on dominion It is not simply because man is stronger that he is to have dominion (that’s the argument of the Marquis de Sade). But rather he is to have dominion because God gives this as structure in the midst of a fallen world. The Bible makes plain that this relationship is not to be without love.
Genesis in Time and Space, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, 1972, p. 94

Creation gives glory to God Genesis 1 tells us over and over again an important thing about creation: In verse 4 we read, “And God saw the light, that it was good.” This phrase that it was good is repeated in verses 10, 12, 18, 21 and 25. And verse 31 sums up the whole of God’s judgement: “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” This is not a relative judgement, but a judgement of the holy God who has a character and whose character is the law of the universe. His conclusion: Every step and every sphere of creation, and the whole thing put together – man himself and his total environment, the heavens and the earth – conforms to myself. Everything at each of the various levels of creation fulfills the purpose of its creation. The [so-called] machine part of the universe acts with perfect machineness. The animals and
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the plants act with their animalness and their plantness in perfection. Man stands at his particular level of creation as being in the image of God and having a reference upward rather than downward, and God is able to say that man, too, in his mannishness..., is equally good: “Man conforms to myself on his level of creation.” Thus we find a doxology of all creation – everything glorifying God on its own level.... Each thing stands in a proper relationship to God and speaks of what God is.
Genesis in Time and Space, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, 1972, p. 55-56

The universe tells us of God The universe speaks of God’s character. God not only is and is a God of order and reason, but God is good. He created a universe that is totally good, and, as it originally came from God, this too speaks of him.
Genesis in Time and Space, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, 1972, p. 58

The nature of dominion Man has dominion over the "lower" orders of creation, but he is not sovereign over them. Only God is the Sovereign Lord, and the lower orders are to be used with this truth in mind. Man is not using his own possessions. . . . When we have dominion over nature, it is not ours either. It belongs to God, and we are to exercise our dominion over these things not as though entitled to exploit them, but as things borrowed or held in trust which we are to use realizing that they are not ours intrinsically. Man's dominion is under God's Dominion and in God's Domain. . . . By creation man has dominion; but as a fallen creature he has used that dominion wrongly. Because he is fallen, he exploits created things as though they were nothing in themselves, and as though he has an autonomous right to them. . . . Surely then, Christians, who have returned through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ to fellowship with God, and have a proper place of reference to the God who is there, should demonstrate a proper use of nature. We are to have dominion over it, but we are not going to use it as fallen man uses it. We are not going to act as though it were nothing in itself or as though we will do to nature everything we can do. . . .
Pollution and the Death of Man, 1970

Thomas Merton (1915 - 1968)
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An American Cistercian monk and world famous author, Thomas Merton is best known for articulating a popular understanding of the monastic journey. He interpreted a broad range of spiritual, philosophical, literary, cultural and political issues, often exploring the religious questions which these issues posed for society. His writings stretched from monasticism, spiritual practice, and the mystical experience of illumination, to ecumenism, communism, the Vietnam War and the cosmos, plus hundreds of other topics which he engaged with perceptive insight. Despite his large volume of writings, he never articulated a comprehensive theology of creation. Nevertheless, his attentiveness to the physical world brings him repeatedly to issues of nature and a right relationship to creation. His emphasis tends toward descriptions of the mysterious in creation, the world’s infinite depth, its rhythms of life and death, and their participation in the great mystery of God’s Being. As a monastic, he offers a focus on nature as experienced through the contemplative life. One of his most important contributions to a theology of creation involves his vivid descriptions of how silence leads to experience of the presence of God stretched out everywhere across the cosmos.

What is the world? What then is the world? Simply the human and non-human environment in which man finds himself and to which he is called to establish a certain definite relationship. It is true that most men are content to accept a ready-made relationship which the world itself offers them, but in theory we are all free to stand back from the world, to judge it, and even to come to certain decisions are remaking it.
Love and Living, Bantan Books, New York, 1979, p. 107-108.

A society of barbarism Our society seems to be more and more oriented to over-production, to waste, and finally to production for destruction. Its orientation to global war is the culminating absurdity of its inner logic – or lack of logic. The mistreatment of animals in “intensive husbandry” is, then, part of this larger picture of insensitivity to genuine values and indeed to humanity and life itself — a picture which more and more comes to display the ugly lineaments of what can only be called by its right name: barbarism.
Quoted in Andrew Linzey, Compassion for Animals: Readings and Prayers, SPCK Publ., London, 1988, pg. 50

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The beginning of the interior life One of the most important — and most neglected — elements in the beginnings of the interior life is the ability to respond to reality, to see the value and the beauty in ordinary things, to come alive to the splendor that is all around us....
Thomas Merton, as quoted in Wayne Simsic, Songs of Sunrise: Seeds of Prayer, Twenty-Third Publications, Mystic, CT, pg. 19.

Listening to silence When your tongue is silent, you can rest in the silence of the forest. When your imagination is silent, the forest speaks to you, tells you of its unreality and the Reality of God. But when your mind is silent, then the forest suddenly blazes transparently with the Reality of God.
Thoughts in Solitude, Image Books, New York, 1968, p. 97

Silent roots There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility.
Emblems of a Season of Fury, Hagia Sophia, pg. 61

The cosmos as revelation of God Here is the unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us, and we do not understand it. It is wide open....
Ken Butigan, Cry of the Environment, “Thomas Merton’s Vision of the Natural World,” p. 345

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The cosmic dance For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of the wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.
New Seeds of Contemplation, pp. 296-297

Art and craft The artist is not a special kind of man, but every m an is a special kind of artist.... [In the monastery] every monk is, or should be, a special kind of artist. Nothing is more alien to the monastic life that the cult of art for art’s sake. The monk ought never to be an aesthete, but rather a “workman,” a “craftsman” — artifex. ... Where we find buildings that are ugly, furniture ill-made, doors that do not close properly, vines and fruits trees clumsily pruned, materials and fodder going to waste, the lack of skill and care which these things represent might simply be the fruit of a wrong attitude toward work itself — a false orientation of the monastic spirit.
The Silent Life, Dell Books, New York, 1957, pp. 38-39.

To find one’s place in creation Merton writes that human beings often respond to the mystery of the cosmos, not by acknowledging it and participating in it, but by trying to evade or deny it. Thus it becomes a source of fear and anxiety instead of wonder, awe and reverence. One has to be alone, under the sky, before everything falls into place and one finds his own place in the midst of it all.
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, pg. 294

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Selling the rain Merton criticizes the tendency to misuse the natural world because it springs from a disregard of the mystery of the human which is tied into the mystery of creation. We create what he terms a “world-within-a-world,” one which is susceptible to human control, management and manipulation. The time will come when they will sell you even your rain. By “they” I mean the people who cannot appreciate its [nature’s] gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what cannot be sold is not real.... The time will come when they will sell you even your rain. At the moment it is still free, and I am in it.
“Rain and the Rhinoceros,” Raids on the Unspeakable, New Directions Press, New York, 1966, p. 9

What are the rights of beavers? Some beavers in Connecticut have built a dam and are flooding a lot of roads. The highway department of the county where this disaster is taking place has brought the matter to court, asking for the power to remove these audacious beavers. The Attorney General in Hartford hands down a decision making this possible by saying that rights of rational animals are inferior to those of the state, and therefore the rights of beavers are just that much more inferior to the rights of the state. Therefore, the beavers have to get out. On the other hand, the beavers also have rights, and therefore “these little animals should be compensated.” They will be removed to another home where they will be able “to perform and exercise their natural skill and ability.” ... I have no doubt the beavers have certain natural “rights,” but I have every doubt whether those rights can be protected by a human court of law as if they were the rights of human beings. And what are the rights of beavers? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? The court said they had a right to perform and exercise their natural skill and ability. I suppose the same can be said of rabbits. But also I suppose the rights of rabbits are not eternally fixed: they vary according to whether or not the hunting season is on. When it is closed, they have a right to life and the performance, etc., of their skills (which are all very elementary, to be sure), and when the season is open, they lose all their rights. I don‘t suppose even a State supreme court could go so far as to puzzle over the rights of rabbits in relation to foxes. Let us take it for granted that irrational animals have rights before men who are capable of making judgements, but not before other animals.

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Even if beavers have rights (which I don’t doubt), it doesn’t do any good to talk about them, or to guarantee them, or anything of the sort.... There is one very simple way of dealing with beavers: not according to rights, but according to love. If you love God, you will respect His creatures, and respect all life because it comes from Him, and you won’t waste so much time talking about the rights of irrational beings.
The Secular Journal of Thomas Merton, October 11, 1939, Madonna House, Farrar, Straus & and Giroux, New York, 1959, 1977, pp. 11-13

The love of creation for its Creator The trees indeed love You without knowing You. The tiger lilies and corn flowers are there, proclaiming that they love You, without being aware of Your presence. The beautiful dark clouds ride slowly across the sky musing on You like children who do not know that they are dreaming of, as they play.
Thoughts in Solitude, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1956, 1958, p. 99

The transparency of the world Life is simple. We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through it all the time. This is not just a fable or a nice story. It is true. If we abandon ourselves to God and forget ourselves, we see it sometimes, and we see it maybe frequently. God shows Himself everywhere, in everything — in people and in things and in nature and in events. It becomes very obvious that God is everywhere and in everything and we cannot be without Him. It's impossible. The only thing is that we don't see it.
Audiotape, 1965, cited in Marcus J. Borg, "The God We Never Knew," Harper Books, San Francisco, 1997

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Overwork: the most insidious form of violence To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes the work for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of work, because it kills the inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
Quoted in Angela Kantola, private collection, Thomas Merton section, October, 2000, p. 2

Christian tradition If for some reason it were necessary for you to drink a pint of water taken out of the Mississippi River and you could choose where it was to be drawn out of the river – would you take a pint from the source of the river in Minnesota or from the estuary in New Orleans? The example is perhaps not perfect. Christian tradition and spirituality does not become polluted with development. That is not the idea at all. Nevertheless, tradition and spirituality are all the more pure and genuine in proportion as they are in contact with the original source and retain the same content."
"Monastic Spirituality and the Early Fathers," as quoted in Jim Forest, private communication.

Listening to the rain What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows. Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants, this rain. As long as it talks, I am going to listen.
Raids on the Unspeakable, Abbey of Gethsemani, as quoted in Steve van Matre, The Earth Speaks, 1983, Inst. for Earth Education, Warrenville, IL, 1984, p. 163 451

Rev. Billy Graham (1918 -

)

Born on November 7, 1918, near Charlotte, North Carolina, Billy Graham dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player through most of his youth. He eventually decided to become a preacher, and after high school, enrolled in a series of colleges and bible institutes before graduating in 1943. Throughout the latter half of the twentieth century Billy Graham has been the dominant preacher in Evangelical Christianity and is considered one of the best-known religious figures of the twentieth century. He has not said a great deal about the environment, but what he has said is strong, simple and straight to the point. “Christians,” he says, “ought to take the lead in caring for the earth.”

Christian responsibility for the world It is not right for us to destroy the world God has given us. He has created everything; as the Bible says, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven” (Acts 17:24). To drive to extinction something He has created is wrong. He has a purpose for everything.... We Christians have a responsibility to take the lead in caring for the earth.
Detroit Free Press, reprinted in the RCFC Participant Handbook, Santa Rosa, California, 1998, p. 37

The right treatment of animals According to the Bible, all the animals on the earth were created good and pure (Genesis 1:25). Man was given responsibility for the animal kingdom. However God never intended their abuse.... The Bible’s emphasis is on the good treatment of animals, and not just the forbidding of cruel treatment. For example, not only were men to observe the Sabbath as a day of rest, but they were to allow their animals to rest on the Sabbath also (Exodus 20:10). A working animal was also to be fed properly: “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn” (Deuteronomy 25:4). The Bible says a good man is concerned for the welfare of his animals, but even the kindness of godless men is cruel (Proverbs 12:10)
Detroit Free Press and reprinted in Green Cross magazine, Wynnewood, PA, Winter, 1996, p. 12.

God’s purpose for our planet
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We must take into consideration God's authentic purpose for this planet. We must be responsible stewards of the resources we have been given by God, and I believe we have gone too far too fast and put elements of the environment in jeopardy.
Storm Warning, Word Publishing, 1992, pp. 244245.

Our Christian duty Graham said he also has been increasingly worried about the destruction of the environment: “The Lord said we are to look after His Garden," and he said, "and we are responsible for it.”
"'Our Task Is To Do All We Can – Not To Sit and Wait.'" Interview by Colin Greer, Parade Magazine, October 20, 1996, p. 6.

Our own neglect and excess The growing possibility of our destroying ourselves and the world with our own neglect and excess is tragic and very real. I find myself becoming more and more an advocate of the true ecologists where their recommendations are realistic. Many of these people have done us an essential service in helping us preserve and protect our green zones and our cities, our water and our air....
Approaching Hoofbeats, 1983, 1985

The seriousness of ecological problems The growing possibility of our destroying ourselves and the world with our own neglect and excess is tragic and very real.
Approaching Hoofbeats, 1983. 453

Pope John Paul II (1920 - 2005)
Among the world's recent religious leaders, Pope John Paul II was one of the most vigorous and consistent in advocating for ecological awareness and responsibility. Born Karol Jozef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, his birthday coincided with “the Polish Miracle,” the date of Poland’s first major military victory in two centuries, an event which led to Poland’s rebirth as an independent nation. After ascending to the papacy in 1978, Pope John Paul II became known as the pope who brought down Communism, the pope who raised his voice against consumerism, and the pope who warned America that it was developing a "culture of death" because of the godless ways it treats criminals, the poor, the unborn and the environment. More than any other pontiff in history, Pope John Paul II traveled. A reoccurring theme wherever he spoke was that ecological problems are first spiritual problems. To him, environmental degradation must be solved by seeing the moral side of issues and placing God and the common good before individual greed and selfishness. Everywhere in his pastoral journeys, but especially in the developed world, he admonished the faithful to restrain acquisitive tendencies and embrace a simpler way of life. In clear language, he called all people to undergo “an ecological conversion,” a change of heart and attitude which would allow all people to join in the great challenge of the 21st century: addressing environmental problems.

The ecological crisis is a moral crisis At the beginning of the 1990s, Pope John Paul II chose New Year's Day, 1990, opportune time to emphasize the importance of ecological degradation: as an

The seriousness of ecological degradation lays bare the depth of man's moral crisis. If an appreciation of the value of human life is lacking, we will also lose concern for others and for the earth itself. Simplicity, moderation and discipline, as well as the spirit of sacrifice, must become a part of everyday life.... In our day, there is a growing awareness that world peace is threatened.... by a lack of respect for nature, by the plundering of natural resources and by a progressive decline in the quality of life. The sense of precariousness and insecurity that such a situation engenders is a seedbed for collective selfishness, disregard for others and dishonesty. Faced with the widespread destruction of the environment, people are coming to understand that we cannot continue to use the goods of the earth as we have in the past....
Peace with God, Peace with Creation, World Day of Peace Message, Vatican City, Polyglot Press, January 1, 1990, #1.

Breaking with consumerism

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In 1979 Pope John Paul II became the first Christian leader to address issues of overconsumption. To an overflowing crowd at Yankee Stadium he called for a simpler way of life that reflected the ancient message of the Gospel. Christians will want to be in the vanguard in favoring ways of life that decisively break with the exhausting and joyless frenzy of consumerism. This is not a question of slowing down progress, for there is no human progress when everything conspires to give full reign to self-interest, sex and power. We must find a simple way of living. For it is not right that the standard of living of the rich countries would seek to maintain itself by draining off a great part of the reserves of energy and raw materials that are meant to serve the whole of humanity.
Speech in Yankee Stadium, New York, 1979

The wrong of super-development and consumerism Side by side with the miseries of underdevelopment, we find ourselves up against a form of super-development, equally inadmissible. This super-development, which consists in an excessive availability of every kind of material goods for the benefit of certain social groups, easily makes people slaves of "possession" and immediate gratification, with no other horizon than the multiplication or continual replacement of the things already owned with others still better. This is the civilization of consumption, or "consumerism," which involves so much throwing away and waste. All of us experience firsthand the sad effects of blind submission to pure consumerism: in the first place it represents crass materialism, and at the same time it represents a radical dissatisfaction because one quickly learns that the more one possesses, the more one wants, while deeper aspirations remain unsatisfied and perhaps even stifled. One of the greatest injustices in the contemporary world consists precisely in this: that the ones who possess much are relatively few and those who possess almost nothing are many. It is the injustice of the poor distribution of the goods and services originally intended for all.
Papal Encyclical "Sollicitudo Rei Socialis," Vatican City, 1988, #26-28

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Distinguishing motives for owning and using Pope John Paul II distinguishes between motives for acquisition and notes that consumption and some lifestyles can be improper and damaging. It is not wrong to want to live better. What is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed toward having rather than being, and which wants to have more, not in order to be more, but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself. Equally worrying is the ecological question which accompanies the problem of consumerism and which is closely connected to it. In his desire to have and to enjoy, rather than to be and to grow, man consumes the resources of the Earth and his own life in an excessive and disordered way.
"Centesimus Annus,” Vatican City, 1981, #36-37

The importance of ecological teachings Pope John Paul says that he asks the Lord to give strength to individuals to put these teachings on the environment into practice. For my own part, I wish to insist once more on the seriousness and urgency of this teaching, and I ask the Lord to give all Christians the strength to put it faithfully into practice... One cannot use with impunity the different categories of beings, whether living or inanimate — animals, plants, the natural elements [minerals] — simply as one wishes, according to one's own economic needs. On the contrary, one must take into account the nature of each being and its mutual connection in an ordered system, which is precisely the cosmos. A second consideration is that natural resources are limited; some are not renewable. Using them as if they were inexhaustible... endangers their availability not only for the present generation but... for generations to come.
Papal Encyclical "Sollicitudo Rei Socialis," Vatican City, 1988, #31

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Humanity and the animals Because man shares the creation with the other creatures and has the same elements of the earth in his own being and breathes the same air, there is a relatedness between humanity and the animals. Thus man comes to have a certain affinity with other creatures: he is called to use them and to be involved with them. As the Genesis accounts says, he is placed in the garden with the duty of cultivating and watching over it, being superior to the other creatures placed by God under his dominion. But at the same time, man must remain subject to the will of God Who imposes limits upon his use and dominion over things.
Papal Encyclical "Sollicitudo Rei Socialis," Vatican City, 1988, #29

Dominion and obedience The task is to have dominion, to cultivate the garden. This is to be accomplished within the framework of obedience to the divine law and therefore with respect for the image (of God) which is the clear foundation of the power of dominion recognized as belonging to man as the means to his perfection (cf. Gen. 1:26-30; Wisdom 9:2-3). When man disobeys God and refuses to submit to his rule, nature rebels against him and no longer recognizes him as its "master," for he has tarnished the divine image.
Papal Encyclical "Sollicitudo Rei Socialis," Vatican City, 1988, #30

The evil which faces us "Sin" and "structures of sin" are categories which are seldom applied to the situation of the contemporary world. However one cannot easily gain a profound understanding of the reality that confronts us unless we give a name to the root of the evils which afflict us. In light of these moral criteria we would see that hidden behind certain decisions, apparently inspired only by economics and politics, are real forms of idolatry: of money, ideology, class, technology. I have introduced this analysis above all in order to point out the true nature of the evil which faces us with respect to the development of peoples. It is a question of a moral evil, the fruit of many sins which lead to "structures of sin." To diagnose the evil in this way is to identify precisely on the level of human conduct, the path to be followed in order to overcome it.
Papal Encyclical "Sollicitudo Rei Socialis," Vatican City, 1988, #37

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The solution of the Church The Church does not have technical solutions to offer.... (Neither does she) propose economic and political systems or programs nor does she show preference for one or the other, provided that human dignity is properly respected....There is no justification for despair or pessimism or inertia.... We are all called, indeed obliged, to face the tremendous challenge... because the present dangers threaten everyone.... At stake is the dignity of the human person, whose defense and promotion have been entrusted to us by the Creator, and to whom the men and women at every moment of history are strictly and responsibly in debt. Every individual is called upon to play his or her part in this peaceful campaign, a campaign to be conducted by peaceful means in order to secure development in peace, in order to safeguard nature itself and the world about us. I wish to appeal with simplicity and humility to everyone, to all men and women without exception. I wish to ask them to be convinced of the seriousness of the present moment and of each one's individual responsibility, and to implement -- by the way they live as individuals and as families, by the use of their resources, by their civic activity, by contributing to economic and political decisions, and by personal commitment to national and international undertakings.... In this commitment, the sons and daughters of the Church must serve as examples and guides, for they are called upon, in conformity with the program announced by Jesus himself to "preach good news to the poor... to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).
Papal Encyclical "Sollicitudo Rei Socialis," Vatican City, 1988, #47

The root cause of environmental degradation It is not enough to claim that the destruction of the environment is caused only by excessive industrialization, an uncritical use of science and technology in industry and agriculture, and the pursuit of material gain without taking into account the consequences that these actions will have for the future. Though, it can't be denied that all these actions wreak great havoc, one can easily see that their root cause lies much deeper in an inner disposition of the human person. It appears that the creation and the humanity are most threatened by the lack of respect for the laws of nature and a diminishment in the sense of value of life.
Homily, Zamosc, Poland, 1999

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A universal duty to safeguard creation We are now aware of the threats to entire regions caused by inconsiderate exploitation or uncontrolled pollution. Protecting the world's forests, stemming desertification and erosion, avoiding the spread of toxic substances harmful to man, animals and plants, protecting the atmosphere, all these can be accomplished only through active and wise cooperation, without borders or political power plays.... I would like to reiterate the importance of man's responsibility toward the earth with which God has entrusted him. From the north to the south of your great island, I was able to admire the beauty, the rich variety of the earth and its fruits. And yet we know that the way the earth is being used could degrade and sterilize the land. Around the world, we can see the results of exploitation which destroys much without taking future generations into account. Today, all men have a duty to show themselves worthy of the mission given them by the Creator by ensuring the safekeeping of that creation.
Press conference, Antannanarivo, The Malagasy Republic, as reported in The New Road, WWFWCC publication, Gland, Switzerland, 1989, p. 1.

Disobedience to God causes disorder in creation When man turns his back on the Creator's plan, he provokes a disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of the created order. If man is not at peace with God, then earth itself cannot be at peace: "Therefore the land mourns and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the air, and even the fish of the sea are taken away" (Hosea 4:3).
Peace with God, Peace with Creation, Polyglot Press, Vatican City, 1990, #1.

The human causes of desertification In a Lenten message for 1993, Pope John Paul II surprised many by addressing the growing problem of desertification that afflicts millions of people in Africa, Latin America and Australia. “We are deeply worried,” he said, “to see that entire peoples have been reduced to destitution and are suffering from hunger and disease because they lack drinking water." The expanding deserts, he continued, “are the results of injustice, an abuse of the world's goods which results in poverty and death for people.”

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Today we are concerned to see the desert expanding to lands which only yesterday were prosperous and fertile. We cannot forget that in many cases man himself has been the cause of the barrenness of lands which have become desert, just as he has caused the pollution of formerly clean waters. When people do not respect the goods of the earth, when they abuse them, they act unjustly, even criminally, because for many of their brothers and sisters their actions result in poverty and death. We are deeply worried to see that entire peoples, millions of human beings, have been reduced to destitution and are suffering from hunger and disease because they lack drinking water. In fact, hunger and many diseases are closely linked to drought and water pollution. In places where rain is rare or the sources of water dry up, life becomes more fragile; it fades away to the point of disappearing. Immense areas of Africa are experiencing this scourge, but it is also present in certain areas of Latin America and Australia. Furthermore, it is quite clear to everyone that uncontrolled industrial development and the use of technologies which disrupt the balance of nature have caused serious damage to the environment and caused grave disasters. We are running the risk of leaving as our heritage to future generations the tragedy of thirst and deforestation in many parts of the world.
Speech in Brazil, "Those who thirst in the world's growing deserts," #1-2

Creation as a map pointing to heaven We see the Creator by contemplating the beauty of creation. Against the splendid setting of the mountains of Colorado, with its pure air which gives peace and serenity to nature, the soul spontaneously is lifted up to sing the Creator's praise: "O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is your name over all the earth!" (Psalm 8:2). Young pilgrims, the visible world is like a map pointing to heaven, the eternal dwelling of the living God. We learn to see the Creator by contemplating the beauty of his creatures. In this world the goodness, wisdom and almighty power of God shine forth. And the human intellect, after original sin, in what has not been darkened by error or passion, can discover the Artist's hand in the wonderful works which he has made. Reason can know God through the “book of nature”: a personal God who is infinitely good, wise, powerful and eternal, who transcends the world and, at the same time, is present in the depths of his creatures. St. Paul writes: "Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been understood and perceived in what he has made" (Romans 1:20). Jesus teaches us to see the Father's hand in the beauty of the lilies of the field, the birds of the air, the starry night, fields ripe for the harvest, the faces of children and the needs of the poor and humble. If you look at the world with a pure heart, you too will see the face of God (cf. Matthew 5:8), because it reveals the mystery of the Father's provident love. Young people are especially sensitive to the beauty of nature, and contemplating it inspires them spiritually. However, it must be a genuine contemplation; a contemplation which
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fails to reveal the face of a personal, intelligent, free and loving Father, but which discerns merely the dim figure of an impersonal divinity or some cosmic force, does not suffice. We must not confuse the Creator with his creation. In order to have life and have it abundantly, in order to re-establish the original harmony of creation, we must respect this divine image in all of creation, especially in human life itself.
Homily in Denver, Colorado to open celebrations for World Youth Day, Cherry Creek State Park, August 14, 1993

The contemplation of nature In contemplating nature, when Francis discovers that everything speaks to him of God, his eyes are filled with joy and he exclaims in the Canticle of Brother Sun: everything "... from you, Most High, bears significance." Dear young people, may you too learn to look at your neighbor and at creation with God́s eyes. Mainly respect its summit, which is the human person.... Learn the careful and attentive use of goods. Do your utmost to see that they are better distributed and shared, with full respect for the rights of every person. In reading the great book of creation, may your spirit open to grateful praise to the Creator.
Address to "Young People in Assisi," Assisi, Italy, August 26, 2001

The majesty of the mountains In front of the majesty of the mountains we are pushed to establish a more respectful relationship with nature.... At the same time...we are stimulated to meditate upon the gravity of so many desecrations of nature, often carried out with inadmissible nonchalance.
Conversation with Lorenzago Dicardore, Italy, discussing hiking in the Dolomite Mountains, July 15, 1996

A call to ecological conversion
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In this January 2001 message Pope John Paul II calls the faithful to what he calls “ecological conversion.” Here we find a succinct summary of his entire message on care for the earth. The alternative, he says, is to be a despot, a despoiler of the land, who breaks the harmony with which creation is innately endowed. The human creature receives a mission to govern creation in order to make all its potential shine. It is a delegation granted at the origins of creation, when man and woman, who are the "image of God," receive the order to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it, and to have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and every living thing that moves upon the earth (cf. Gn 1: 28). Man's lordship, however, is not "absolute, but ministerial: it is a reflection of the unique and infinite lordship of God. Hence man must exercise it with wisdom and love, sharing in the boundless wisdom and love of God." In biblical language "naming" the creatures (cf. Genesis 2:19-20) is the sign of this mission of knowing and transforming created reality. It is not the mission of an absolute and unquestionable master, but of a steward of God's kingdom who is called to continue the Creator's work. His task, described in the Book of Wisdom, is to rule "the world in holiness and righteousness" (Wisdom 9:3). Unfortunately, if we scan the regions of our planet, we see that humanity has disappointed God's expectations. Man, especially in our time, has without hesitation devastated wooded plains and valleys, polluted waters, disfigured the earth's habitat, made the air unbreathable, disturbed the hydro-geological and atmospheric systems, turned luxuriant areas into deserts and undertaken forms of unrestrained industrialization, degrading that "flowerbed" which is the earth, our dwelling-place. We must therefore encourage and support the "ecological conversion" which in recent decades has made humanity more sensitive to the catastrophe to which it has been heading. Man is no longer the Creator's ‘steward,’ but an autonomous despot, who is finally beginning to understand that he must stop at the edge of the abyss. "Another welcome sign is the growing attention being paid to the quality of life and to ecology, especially in more developed societies, where people's expectations are no longer concentrated so much on problems of survival as on the search for an overall improvement of living conditions" (Evangelium vitae, n. 27). At stake, then, is not only a "physical" ecology that is concerned to safeguard the habitat of the various living beings, but also a "human" ecology which makes the existence of creatures more dignified, by protecting the fundamental good of life in all its manifestations and by preparing for future generations an environment in conformity with the Creator's plan.
Weekly homily, delivered in Rome, January 17, 2001.

Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch (1921 -

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His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV was born Ignatios Hazem on April 17, 1921, in the town of Mhardey, Syria. After university studies in Beirut, Lebanon and a decade of service to the Church,
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he was ordained a deacon after which he obtained a doctorate in theology from St. Sergius Theological Academy in Paris. In 1961 he was elected bishop and appointed to a monastery near Tripoli, Lebanon. In 1979, he was elected Patriarch of Antioch, and enthroned as the 170th successor to the Apostle Peter, the first bishop of Antioch. As leader of the Antiochian Orthodox Church he helped establish the Middle East Council of Churches. A theme of his patriarchate has been the preservation of the historical faith while discovering in it answers to the problems of modern life. This has given rise to his wide-ranging and incisive commentary on ecological issues which he places in the historic Arab Christian understanding of responsibility to “transfigure creation,” to raise it to its full cosmological potential. As a key to this understanding, he has emphasized the need to contemplate creation to realize its spiritual meaning.

Recovering Christianity’s cosmic dimensions “Man is an animal called to become God,” said one of the Fathers of the Church. And that is why the Word became flesh: to open to us, through the holy flesh of the earth transformed into the Eucharist, the path to deification. ... But man has wanted to make himself divine by means of his own powers; he wants to build a tower of Babel and not to welcome the New Jerusalem. .... He has wanted to make of the world his prey, to be its tyrant and not its king and priest. He has made for himself, out of the potential transparency of all things when restored in Christ, the mirror of Narcissus. Today that mirror is breaking up; the maternal sea is polluted, the heavens are rent, the forests are being destroyed and the desert areas are increasing. We must protect creation. Better yet, we must embellish it, render it spiritual, transfigure it. But nothing will be done unless there is a general conversion of men’s minds and hearts. Nothing will happen unless our personal and liturgical prayer, our sacramental life, our asceticism regain their cosmic dimension.
“A Theology of Creation,” Lecture to the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, March 10, 1989, Zurich, Switzerland, Sourozh magazine, November, 1989, p. 1, reprinted by the RCFC publications, Santa Rosa, CA, 1997.

The birth of the cosmos The universe is not simply a manifestation of the Godhead.... The universe springs from the hands of the living God, who sees that it is tov, that is, “good and beautiful.” Thus it is willed by God, it is the joy of his wisdom, and exults in that reverential joyfulness which is described in the Psalms and in the cosmic passages of the Book of Job....
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The biblical and patristic conception of creation breaks down the cyclical obsession of the ancient religions. Creation, the perpetual passage from nothing into being through the magnetic attraction of the infinite, is a movement in which we are given simultaneously time, space and matter
“A Theology of Creation,” Lecture to the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, March 10, 1989, Zurich, Switzerland, in Sourozh magazine, November, 1989, London, p. 2-3.

The contemplation of nature The mystical way in Orthodoxy requires as a necessary stage the contemplation of nature, a vision of “the secrets of the glory of God which is hidden in beings and things,” to quote a great mystic who was both an Arab and a Christian, St. Isaac the Syrian. ... For us monks, as for the Fathers of the Church, as for St. Bonaventure in the West..., as for the great Orthodox religious philosophers of our century, the world, and I quote St. Ephrem the Syrian, is “an ocean of symbols.” St. Bonaventure said: “The splendor of things reveals God to us, if we are not blind; it cries out to God and will awaken us, if we are not deaf.”
“The Spirituality of the Creation,” Lecture before the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, March 11, 1989, Lausanne, Switzerland, reprinted in Sourozh magazine, Issue 38, London, UK, November 1989, p. 6

An effect of the contemplation of nature

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Someone who sanctifies himself by practicing the contemplation of nature ceases to make an object of the universe through greed and blindness. His presence lightens and brings peace. ... Contemplation of nature transforms nature, not in the direction of Babel, but in the direction of the New Jerusalem. When an Orthodox hermit, well into the twentieth century, gives vipers little cups of milk to drink, he knows them in a different way from that of the scientist....
“The Spirituality of the Creation,” lecture to the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, March 11, 1989, Lausanne, Switzerland, reprinted in Sourozh magazine, Issue Nr. 38, London, UK, November 1989, p. 7

Deciphering the “book of the world” It falls to man to decipher in a creative way the “book of the world,” this immense logos alogos, or “speechless word,” as Origen defined the world. In Genesis God asks Adam to “name the animals,” a naming which includes all modes of knowledge and expression, from contemplation to art and science.
“A Theology of Creation,” Lecture to the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, March 10, 1989, Zurich, Switzerland, in Sourozh magazine, November, 1989, p. 3.

The world as theophany By withdrawing the intellect from the world of violence and mechanical, objectivised sexuality, asceticism transforms it, by uniting it with the heart, into an “eye of fire” or the “dwelling place of light.” This light is linked to the secret light in things, “that ineffable and prodigious fire hidden in the essence of things as in the burning bush,” said St. Maximus. The Fathers use here an analogy: our physical eyes cannot see the light unless they open and purify themselves, and then only because they harbor in themselves, as the ancient Greek physiology believed, a spark of that same light. In the same way, the eye of the heart sees the secret hiddenness of things, this writing in light, only to the extent that it has purified itself and filled itself with this spiritual light. ... This experience, alas, rare in Western Christianity, has nevertheless found sublime expression in the “Song of the Creatures,” by St. Francis of Assisi, which begins with the praise of the sun: Praise be to thee, my Lord, with all thy creatures, especially my brother sun, who is the day, and by whom thou dost enlighten us. He is beautiful and shines with great splendor,
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bearing thy sign, Most High.

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This experience ought to enable us to include w with Christianity the Hindu and Far Eastern understanding of the world as theophany, not with a view to some impersonal fusion, as is too often the case in the ecological movement, but with a view to personal communion. ...
“The Spirituality of the Creation,” Lecture to the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, March 11, 1989, Lausanne, Switzerland, reprinted in Sourozh magazine, Issue Nr. 38, London, UK, November 1989, p. 7

Transfiguration or disfiguration If nature is not transfigured, she becomes disfigured. Today we are threatened by barbarism and by the suicide of all mankind. By barbarism... [I mean] the transformation of technology into destiny..., into an inevitable, death-like fatality. The fatality of doing all that we can, without first questioning the consequences.... As for the suicide of mankind, we are beginning to realize that it is possible, what with Chernobyl and the determination of the great financial organizations to destroy the forests of the Amazon.... Only the highest of forces, that of the spirit, and then that of spirit united with the heart, to use the language of the Orthodox tradition, can face up to the challenge of technology. Asceticism is necessary in order to fight against the instinct of possession, of blind power and a flight into hedonism.... Asceticism is therefore indispensable if we are to achieve that limitation of needs which will make it possible for us both to respect better the earth, its rhythms and the life which belongs to it, and to bring into operation the necessary sharing on a planetary scale.
“The Responsibility of Christians,” Lecture to the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, March 12, 1989, Lucerne, Switzerland, reprinted in Sourozh magazine, Issue Nr. 38, London, UK, November 1989, p. 11-12.

The spirit of fasting We need to recover, with a view to the transfiguration of nature, the three traditional forms of asceticism: fasting, chastity and vigilance. ... Fasting, that is to say the voluntary limitation of one’s requirements, makes it possible for us, at least in part, to free desire, so that it can recover its original character as desire for God and love of neighbor. ... The spirit of fasting, which today should be diffused throughout the whole of our civilization, involves a change from an exploitive relationship with nature to one which is modeled on the Eucharist.
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Furthermore, tradition tells us that fasting is inseparable from mercy and sharing. The Fathers have underlined that material elements pass continuously from one body to another, and that the universe is therefore in fact but a single body.... That is why, for them, the earth belongs only to God; men are only its managers, and the products of man’s activity, in a prolongation of eucharistic sharing and in a spirit of fasting, should be the subject of a beneficent circulation, a just distribution. A cosmology of transfiguration is t thus inseparable from a sociology of communion, which has continuously to be invented anew in the concrete circumstances of history. It is in a spirit of fasting and with a profound sympathy for nature and our brethren... that Christians have to face up to the absurdity of the present situation, in which publicity multiplies the false needs of some while others are dying of hunger, and where chemistry and biology overstimulate the earth in one place while elsewhere the desert expands....
“The Spirituality of the Creation,” Lecture to the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, March 11, 1989, Lausanne, Switzerland, reprinted in Sourozh magazine, Issue Nr. 38, London, UK, November 1989, p. 8-9

Why do we have this ecological problem? Christianity... has thrust man forward, for the final stage of cosmogenesis, with a mission to explore and assume the universe, from the atom to the galaxy.... Today the earth no longer encloses man in her stifling and fecund maternity. Quite near here, the forest is dying of acid rain, the forest, this primordial temple... Why and how have we come to this? Christianity stopped treating the world as a god, but this was in order to make it holy. Has Christianity betrayed its cosmic mission, has it given up, resigned, withdrawn? The separation of Western and Eastern Christianity in the second half of the Middle Ages profoundly modified the spiritual context in which technology developed. The Age of Antioch, above all in its Syrian dimension, has elaborated a truly cosmic view of love, an immense compassion, for example, for the animal world. St. Isaac the Syrian asked, “What is a compassionate heart? It is a heart which burns for the whole of creation,... for the birds, for the beasts of the earth..., for every creature.... So strong, so violent is this compassion that his heart breaks when it sees the misfortune and the suffering of the least creature. This is why it prays even for the snakes, in the immense, immeasurable compassion which arises in the heart, which is in the image of God.”
“The Responsibility of Christians,” lecture to the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, March 12, 1989, Lucerne, Switzerland, reprinted in Sourozh magazine, Issue Nr. 38, London, UK, November 1989, p. 10-11.

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Creative exorcism through asceticism To asceticism there needs to be joined what I shall call “creative exorcism”: i.e., we need to exorcize the undeclared but invasive totalitarianism of a limitless technology. But this in no way means trying to discredit or limit scientific research. On the contrary, it means fighting at the heart of this research to make it more open and attentive to reality. It means to fight, in the name of the truth of all beings and things, against the Promethean temptation to construct the world as a closed totality of which man would be the little god. What should animate science is both a desire to reduce by rational means the unknown and a respect for the mystery of things when contemplated vertically... Ilya Prigogine writes: “Scientific knowledge can reveal itself today as a poetic listening to nature.” Reason as instrument has “disenchanted” the world, ... and reason as contemplation has now to teach us to admire and to respect it. In this way exorcism becomes creative. It opens up another way of looking at reality through even the most careful research: the look which re-enchants! And at the same time, in relation to technology, it turns us into adults by making us able to distinguish between the possible and the desirable. “All is permitted,” said St. Paul, “but all is not expedient.” If not all, at least very much is technically possible, we might paraphrase, but not everything is expedient.
“The Responsibility of Christians,” Lecture to the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, March 12, 1989, Lucerne, Switzerland

The great task before us Let us summon humanity to a common task, drawn by our love of man as the image of God and of the universe, and as the creation of God. It will be a common task if all Christians take part in it and share their experience and their hope, those of the West and those of the East, those of the North and those of the South. [This is] an immense and concrete task of a renewed ecumenism, in which... I hope the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church will collaborate. Christians will act by giving a cosmic dimension to their prayer, to their hearing of the Word, to their sacramental life, and to their asceticism. Christians will act by example, by showing the cultural, social and ecological richness of traditional ascetic values when they open out onto history: here I am thinking above all, I repeat, of the voluntary limitation of our needs and of a profound sympathy for all life. ... This work of common vivification will provoke a spiritual revolution, the repercussions of which will gradually be inscribed in social and economic life.
“The Responsibility of Christians,” lecture to the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, March 12, 1989, Lucerne, Switzerland.

Philip Sherrard (1922 - 1995)
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Philip Sherrard taught at the University of London and at Oxford, and was widely regarded as one of the preeminent patristic scholars of the twentieth century. He translated numerous volumes of early and medieval Christian writings by masters of the spiritual life and authored numerous texts on Early Christian thought and their meaning for the present. He maintained that the revolutionary changes in mental outlook that took place in western Christianity three and four centuries ago, which led to the scientific revolution, are the major cause of the ecological crisis. The loss of a wholistic Christianity, he says, inhibits the western church from fully engaging the ecological problem because it is crippled at the very foundation of its assumptions about God and creation. From this failure derives a further failure of the modern Christian world view to maintain a sense of the sacred in creation. The desanctification which results fuels the desecration of both the environment and human society. The solution to which he points is a restitution of the ancient Christian sacred cosmology in which creation is perceived, and experienced, as the manifestation of the Logos in which everything has a sacred quality because it is not only in God, but also a manifestation of God. “Once we repossess a sense of our own holiness,” he writes, “we will recover the sense of the holiness of the world about us as well. Then we will act towards the world with the awe and humility that we should possess when we enter a sacred shrine.... Only in this way,” he says, “will we once again become aware that our destiny and the destiny of nature are one and the same. Only in this way can we restore the cosmic harmony.” The ecological crisis One thing we no longer need to be told is that we are in the throes of a crisis of the most appalling dimensions. We tend to call this crisis the ecological crisis, and this is a fair description in so far as its effects are manifest above all in the ecological sphere. For here the message is quite clear: our entire way of life is humanly and environmentally suicidal, and unless we change it radically, there is no way in which we can avoid cosmic catastrophe. Without such change the whole adventure of civilization will come to an end during the lifetime of many now living.
Human Image, World Image: The Death and Resurrection of Sacred Cosmology, Introduction, pg. 1.

A crisis of vision The crisis itself is not first of all an ecological crisis.... It is first of all a crisis concerning the way we think. We are treating our planet in an inhumane, god-forsaken manner because we see things in an inhuman, god-forsaken way. And we see things in this way because that basically is how we see ourselves....

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This means that before we can effectively deal with the ecological problem we have to change our world image, and this in turn means that we have to change our self-image. Unless our own evaluation of ourselves, and of what constitutes the true nature of our being, changes, the way we treat the world about us will not change either. And unless that happens, conservation theory and practice, however well-intentioned and necessary, will not touch the heart of the problem. They will at best represent an effort to deal with what in the end are symptoms, not causes.
Human Image, World Image: The Death and Resurrection of Sacred Cosmology, 1990, Introduction, pg. 2.

The desanctification of nature Having in our own minds desanctified ourselves, we have desanctified nature, too, in our own minds; we have removed it from the suzerainty of the divine and have assumed that we are its overlords, and that it is our thrall, subject to our will.
Human Image, World Image: The Death and Resurrection of Sacred Cosmology, Introduction, pg. 3

Our own depravity writ large Every extension of the empire and influence of our contemporary secular scientific mentality has gone hand in hand with a corresponding and increased erosion in us of the sense of the sacred. In fact, we do not have any respect, let alone reverence, for the world of nature because we do not fundamentally have any respect, let alone reverence, for ourselves. It is because we have lost the sense of our own reality that we have lost the sense of every other reality as well. It is because we cripple and mutilate ourselves that we cripple and mutilate everything else as well. Our contemporary crisis is really our own depravity writ large.
Human Image, World Image: The Death and Resurrection of Sacred Cosmology, Introduction, pg. 9

Recovering a sense of holiness A false self-view breeds a false world-view, and together they breed our nemesis and the nemesis of the world. Once we repossess a sense of our own holiness, we will recover the sense of the holiness of the world about us as well, and we will then act towards the world about us
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with the awe and humility that we should possess when we enter a sacred shrine, a temple of love and beauty in which we worship and adore. Only in this way will we once again become aware that our destiny and the destiny of nature are one and the same. Only in this way can we restore a cosmic harmony.
Human Image, World Image: The Death and Resurrection of Sacred Cosmology, Introduction, pg. 9

The path to the desanctification of nature Our failure to perceive the divine in man has gone hand in hand with a failure to perceive the divine in nature. As we have dehumanized man, so we have desanctified nature.
The Eclipse of Man and Nature, p. 33

Recovering Christian purpose The purpose of the Christian way is the divinization of man. “Not from the beginning were we made gods,” said St. Irenaeus, “but first indeed men, and then finally gods.” “He became man in order to divinize us,” said St. Athanasios, speaking of Christ’s work. God united himself to human nature, said St. Gregory of Nazianzos, “so that I, too, might be made God.” ... This is the significance of the summons to be born again, the significance of the triumph over death: that man must recreate himself into the image of God in which he is created and which, however obscured, lies still in the depths of his being. He must recover his spiritual identity.
Human Image, World Image: The Death and Resurrection of Sacred Cosmology, pg. 26.

How creatures take their being from God Perhaps never before have we been faced so urgently with the question of the significance of creation and man’s role in creation; with the need to justify the world in God, to see how the creaturely world is united with the divine world, religion with aesthetics. We have to attempt the reconquest of the idea that God is not only the Creator of the world, but that He is also in some sense what He creates. A true doctrine of creation must start with the affirmation that any conception of the creature as a second being existing apart from God is a false doctrine.
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Creatures not only take their being from God, but are kept in being by remaining in God. They are in God’s Being: “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). To create does not mean giving independent existence to another – does not mean that the creature can be or subsist on its own.... Creation takes place within God, not outside of God....
Human Image, World Image: The Death and Resurrection of Sacred Cosmology, pg. 151

A kind of second fall The forms of life within which man lived in society [during the early centuries of Christianity] were not in themselves evil – in fact they were often imbued with divine beauty and wisdom, in such a way that merely living within them related him directly to God. The evil that people manifested within these forms was largely the consequence of their own individual choices, independently of the forms, and it did not contaminate the forms themselves. Our situation today is totally different from this. We still have to contend with the forms of evil endemic to the fallen human state. But... we are now forced to live in society... according to forms that not only do not correspond in any way to the reality of the divine, human or natural order, but are themselves actively and positively evil to a degree that goes beyond the evil... that is a consequence of the Fall. For these forms in themselves represent and demand a denial of God’s will. It is as if there has been a kind of second fall, one latent of course in the possibility of the original fall.... As a result, whether we like it or not, we now cannot live in society in such a way that we do not connive in and contribute to this evil.... Nor is there any ascesis through which we can allay or transcend this evil, for not only is it now beyond all human control and comprehension, but such ascesis cannot exempt us from involvement or prevent us from contributing to activities and practices that ensure its proliferation.
“The Desert Fathers and Ourselves,” Divine Ascent, Vol. 1:1, 1997, pg. 26-27

The deepening perversion of man and nature As a result of this perversion of human thought represented by modern science and its technological ramifications the nature and purpose of human and other created things themselves have been perverted and abused. This perversion and abuse have now permeated into the forms that dominate our society to such a degree that we can no longer prevent them from having the consequences that they in fact are already having. One might say that not even God can prevent the development of this evil and its consequences.
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God is just, and when He makes a covenant with man, He does not break it. His covenant with man is that what man does must not be imposed on him by God, but must result from the exercise of his own free will. A rider to this, though, is that man himself must accept the consequences of what he chooses to do and does. This is part of God’s justice. He will not violate man’s freedom by intervening to prevent the consequences of man’s free choice, even if these consequences are disastrous for man.
“The Desert Fathers and Ourselves,” Divine Ascent, Vol. 1:1, 1997, pg. 26-27

A “Second Fall” Each individual is now enmeshed not only in the consequences of Adam’s fall, but also in those of the second fall, and cannot get out of this enmeshment unless he totally divorces himself from every form of life in society that is permeated with this evil.
“The Desert Fathers and Ourselves,” Divine Ascent, Vol. 1:1, 1997, pg. 28

Can we be in grace and live in modern society? Before we can be in a state of grace must not our inner being accord with the outer activities in which we engage? Can we be in a state of grace while sitting in an aeroplane or a car vomiting poison into the air? And by simply living in today’s societies can we avoid engaging in practices equivalent to, in fact, far worse than, sitting in an aeroplane or a car vomiting poison into the air and equally a violation of God’s will? Do we not have to do God’s will on earth as in heaven before we can be in a state of grace or actualize the divine image within us? Can we assimilate and incarnate God’s mercy while we continue wittingly and willfully to crucify the cosmic Christ, the divine embodied in every God-created form?
“The Desert Fathers and Ourselves,” Divine Ascent, Vol. 1:1, 1997, pg. 28

The conception of creation ex nihilo The conception of creation ex nihilo lies at the root of our contemporary ecological crisis. It can be equally affirmed that as this conception was formulated and promoted by theologians whose claim to be Christian theologians has not been disputed by the Church, the Christian Church, at
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least as represented by those responsible for its major dogmatic, canonical and conciliar orientations and decisions, bears a direct and incontrovertible responsibility for the desecration of the cosmos. It is absolutely no accident that a purely materialistic view of nature first arose not within the Hindu, Buddhist, or Islamic world, but within the Christian world. It is absolutely no accident either that the official responses of the Church, whether of the Christian East or Christian West, to what we call the ecological crisis have been lamentable: the “official” theology of the Church being so hamstrung by precisely those conceptions that have directly promoted this crisis, it is hardly surprising that the pronouncements are as vapid as they are ineffectual.
Christianity: Lineaments of a Sacred Tradition, Holy Cross Press, 1998, p. 235

God creates within Himself In this idea of God creating the universe within Himself there is no separation between God and creation that is capable of growing into an unbridgeable gulf.... Creation is nothing less than the manifestation of God’s hidden Being
Human Image, World Image: Golgonooza Press, Ipswich, pg. 152

Man’s priestly role in creation The fact that God is present in all things simply by virtue of their being created, and hence that no special sacramental activity is needed in order to imbue them with divine grace, does not mean that man has no priestly role as mediator between God and creation. That God is present within all created things, and that all created things are therefore intrinsically holy, and should be treated as such, does not mean that this divine presence is always actualized in all things, or “in actu”; it can equally be latent in all things or in potentia. Thus there is a need of sacramental activity in order to bring His divine presence, whether in man or in other created things, from a latent to an actualized state.

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It is precisely in relationship to this sacramental activity that man possesses a mediating role. Yet... we must not forget that if man possesses a mediating role between God and creation, creation equally possesses a mediating role between God and man; for it is by means of the created elements of wine and bread that man communes with God in the Eucharist. From this point of view, we can say that if the actualization of the image of God depends upon man, the actualization of the image of God in man depends upon creation; and that if man is the bond between God and creation, creation is equally the bond between God and man.
Christianity: Lineaments of a Sacred Tradition, Holy Cross Press, 1998, p. 243

Interdependence between God, man and creation There is a relationship of interdependence, interpenetration and reciprocity between God, man and creation; and it is the loss by the Christian consciousness of awareness of the full significance of this relationship that is a basic cause of today’s ecological crisis. If the Christian Church is to offer a positive response to the challenge of this crisis, it can only be through reaffirmation of the full significance of this relationship, ... which is no more, if no less, than a reaffirmation of the full significance of its central sacrament, the Eucharist, with all that that means with regard to the miracle of creation and to man’s responsibility for fulfilling it.
Christianity: Lineaments of a Sacred Tradition, Holy Cross Press, 1998, p. 243

The most crucial issue that we confront today A consciousness blind to the presence of the Divine in every created form is a consciousness that is radically distorted, and the type of theology it represents and promotes will be equally distorted, whatever authority it appears to represent. This question of the meaning of the nihil [in creation] constitutes the most crucial theological — and existential — issue that we confront today; for the answer we give to it will shape our anthropology and our cosmology — in fact our whole attitude to life. If we continue to adhere to the first, the negative interpretation, we will continue to nourish the cankers of nihilism, meaningless violence and despair which our bondage to it has already nourished in our souls. If we can espouse the second we will at least make it possible for ourselves to set out once more on the path that brings us to experience in our own being the revelation that “every thing that lives is Holy.”
Christianity: Lineaments of a Sacred Tradition, Holy Cross Press, 1998, p. 244

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The concept of creation ex nihilo: A root of our ecological crisis It can be categorically affirmed that the conception of creation ex nihilo lies at the root of our contemporary ecological crisis. Correspondingly, it can equally be affirmed that as this conception was formulated and promoted by theologians whose claim to be Christian theologians has not been disputed by the Church, the Christian Church, at least as represented by those responsible for its major dogmatic, canonical and conciliar orientations and decisions, bears a direct and incontrovertible responsibility for the desecration of the cosmos. It is absolutely no accident that a purely materialistic view of nature first arose not within the Hindu, Buddhist, or Islamic world, but within the Christian world. It is absolutely no accident either that the official responses of the Church, whether in the Christian East or Christian West, to what we call the ecological crisis have been, as I have already said, lamentable: the “official” theology of the Church being so hamstrung by precisely those conceptions that have directly promoted this crisis, it is hardly surprising that the pronouncements are as vapid as they are ineffectual.”
Christianity: Lineaments of a Sacred Tradition, 1998, p. 235

How the natural world represents the spiritual world All that is in the natural world, then, from its minutest particle to the constellations, the whole and each particular of the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, is nothing but a kind of representational theatre of the spiritual world, where each thing exists in is true beauty and reality. Each natural form is the center of an influx coming from its divine archetype or theophanic Divine Name. Thus each natural form is the image – the icon or the epiphany – of its archetype, and by virtue of being such an icon each possesses an affinity with its archetype, it corresponds to it, symbolizes with it.
Christianity: Lineaments of a Sacred Tradition, Holy Cross Press, 1998, p. 243

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Metropolitan of Delhi in the Indian Orthodox Church and a former president of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Paulos Mar Gregorios chaired the 1979 World Council of Churches Conference on “Faith, Science and the Future” at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. He is known for his lively translations of the Bible into English, but particularly for his emphasis on the seriousness of environmental problems and the responsibility of the Church to address this dimension of religious and social insensitivity through a return to the traditional Christian understanding of creation. In the early 1970s he was one of the first modern Christians leaders to call for a Christian theological response to ecological problems.

Humanity is on the wrong path Every crisis is a judgement, a call to see where things have gone wrong and to seek to set matters right, both within our consciousness and in society. The environmental crisis, the economic crisis, the crisis of justice, the crisis of faith, the employment crisis, the monetary crisis, the crisis of militarism — all these are symptoms not only that humanity has to yet become what it has to be, but also that we are on the wrong track.
The Human Presence: Ecological Spirituality in the Age of the Spirit, Amity House Press, Amity, NY, 1989, p. 3

How we know that our modern vision is defective The chariot of human development has gained momentum but seems to be running amok without a charioteer. We know that consumerism is bad, but what can we do except go on consuming more and more? We know that the gap between the rich and the poor is widening, but what can we do except live with our guilt and lend an occasional hand to the poor? The affairs of the world are largely in the hands of people who are expert at making money, waging war, and playing politics. Our age is characterized by the absence of true charisma among the leadership of the nations and churches of the world.... We know that our vision of reality is defective because of too much reliance on science and technology, but what alternatives can we develop?
The Human Presence: Ecological Spirituality in the Age of the Spirit, Amity House Press, Amity, NY, 1989, p. 3

The concept of nature

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The concept of “nature” is totally alien to the Hebrew tradition. Those who have too easily credited Christianity the Old Testament doctrine of creation with making it possible for western civilization to know and control nature should note that the Hebrew had no notion of something “out there” which they were to set about “desacralizing” and then dominating.
The Human Presence: An Orthodox View of Nature, The Christian Literature Society, Madras, India, 1978, p. 19

Respect for the created order: A Christian duty Christians cannot say that nature is to be worshiped. Christians would say that the created order, not nature, is to be respected as the order that has given birth to us, sustains us, and will still be the framework for our existence when the whole process of creation-redemption has been consummated. We respect the created order both because it comes from God and is sustained by him, and because it is the matrix of our origin, growth and fulfillment as human beings. But we do not worship the creation. We have to tend the creation, use it for our own sustenance and flourishing, but we also have to respect it in itself as a manifestation of God’s creative energy and cooperate with God in bringing out the full splendor of the created order as reflecting the glory of the Creator.
“New Testament Foundations for Understanding the Creation,” Au Sable Forum paper, Mancelona, Michigan, 1985

Giving back to nature [No biblical rationale can] justify the mindless affluence of consumer society. To impose austerity on a society may be unwise, but it is even more unwise to impose affluence on a nation through hidden persuasion, and to make some people more affluent than others. In taking what is given by “nature,” we should be careful to give back to “nature” what it needs to maintain its integrity and to supply the needs of the future.
“New Testament Foundations for Understanding the Creation,” Au Sable Forum paper, Mancelona, Michigan, 1985

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Why creation is incomprehensible Creation is not fully comprehensible in as much as we are unable to stand outside that creation to gain perspective of the creation as a whole.... Even if we had a vantage point from which we could see the diastemic creation as a whole, since the creation is a contingent reality dependent upon the Creator, it cannot be comprehended in a clear and distinct object in itself. Any understanding we can thus have of the relation between Creation and Creator has to be necessarily indistinct.
“The God-World Relationship,” in Cosmic Man: The Divine Presence, Sophia Publications, New Delhi, India, 1980, p. 219

Stewardship versus dominion Replacing the concept of dominion with the concept of stewardship will not lead us very far, for even in the latter the hidden possibility of the objectification and alienation which are the root causes of the sickness of our civilization... We would still be reducing nature to “nothing but,” that is, nothing but an object given into our hands for safe keeping and good management.
The Human Presence, p. 84, as quoted in Ian Bradley, God is Green: Ecology for Christians, Image Books-Doubleday, 1992, p. 94.

The concept of nature The biblical approach to creation does not pit humans against creation, but acknowledges that we too are creatures. The language of the Bible makes no provision for the modern concept of the environment or of man as separated from the rest of creation. “Nature,” in the sense of non-human self-existent reality does not occur in the Old Testament; it is a concept alien to the biblical world.
Quoted in Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, ed., Tending the Garden: Essays on the Gospel and the Earth, Eerdmans, Publ., Grand Rapids, MI, 1987, p. 86

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Patriarch Bartholomew (1940 -

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Patriarch Bartholomew was born February 29, 1940, in the village of Aghioi Theodoroi on the Aegean island of Imvros (Turkey), to Christos and Meropi Archontonis who christened him Demetrios. He entered religious studies, was ordained and eventually became a bishop and then metropolitan. As Metropolitan Bartholomew he attended the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Australia in 1991 where he assumed a leading role in framing Orthodox objections that the WCC was departing from essential Christian beliefs. Later that same year, after the death of +Patriarch Dimitrios, he was elected Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome, the title which attends his position as Ecumenical Patriarch. As patriarch his emphasis has been the great need for spiritual leaders to engage in the issues of the world. He has especially prioritized theological reasons for environmental care and has convened conferences, addressed the religious importance of environmental care, and bluntly declared that pollution of the air, land and water involves sin. He has devoted so much attention to the environment that the media have often called him the "Green Patriarch." As the leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew is the 270th successor to the Apostle Andrew and spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.

The cosmic liturgy The entire universe participates in a celebration of life, which St. Maximos the Confessor described as a “cosmic liturgy.” We see this cosmic liturgy in the symbiosis of life’s rich biological complexities. These complex relationships draw attention to themselves in humanity’s self-conscious awareness of the cosmos. As human beings, created “in the image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26), we are called to recognize this interdependence between our environment and ourselves.
Remarks at the Symposium on Religion, Science and the Environment, Santa Barbara, California, November 8, 1997

The world as a sacrament of thanksgiving The Ecumenical Throne of Orthodoxy, ... [has] followed with great interest and sincere concern, the efforts to curb the destructive effects that human beings have wrought upon the natural world. We view with alarm the dangerous consequences of humanity’s disregard for the survival of God’s creation. ... Orthodox liturgy and life hold tangible answers to the ultimate questions concerning salvation from corruptibility and death.... And our sin toward the world, or the spiritual root of all our
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pollution, lies in our refusal to view life and the world as a sacrament of thanksgiving, and as a gift of constant communion with God on a global scale.
Remarks at the Environmental Symposium, Santa Barbara, California, November 8, 1997

Humans are part of the environment Our first task is to raise the consciousness of adults who most use the resources and gifts of the planet. Ultimately, it is for our children that we must perceive our every action in the world as having a direct effect upon the future of the environment. At the heart of the relationship between man and environment is the relationship between human beings. As individuals, we live not only in vertical relationships to God, and horizontal relationships to one another, but also in a complex web of relationships that extend throughout our lives, our cultures and the material world. Human beings and the environment form a seamless garment of existence; a complex fabric that we believe is fashioned by God.
Remarks at the Symposium on Religion, Science and the Environment, Santa Barbara, California, November 8, 1997

To hurt the earth is a sin To commit a crime against the natural world, is a sin. For humans to cause species to become extinct and to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation... for humans to degrade the integrity of Earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the Earth of its natural forests, or destroying its wetlands... for humans to injure others humans with disease... for humans to contaminate the Earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life, with poisonous substances, these things are sins.
Remarks at the Symposium on Religion, Science and the Environment, Santa Barbara, California, November 8, 1997

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Priests of creation In the bread and wine of the Eucharist, as priests standing before the altar of the world, we offer the creation back to the Creator in relationship to Him and to each other. Indeed, in our liturgical life, we realize by anticipation, the final state of the cosmos in the Kingdom of Heaven. We celebrate the beauty of creation, and consecrate the life of the world, returning it to God with thanks. We share the world in joy as a living mystical communion with the Divine. Thus it is that we offer the fullness of creation at the Eucharist, and receive it back as a blessing, as the living presence of God.
Remarks at the Symposium on Religion, Science and the Environment, Santa Barbara, California, November 8, 1997

Environmental care urgent for every person Care of the environment... constitutes a most urgent question for each and every human person. With every passing day the danger threatening the survival of life on this beautiful planet proves to be yet more clear.... A host of international organizations, governments and leading non-governmental bodies are sending the same message....
Welcome of His All Holiness at the Opening of the Environmental Seminar, “The Environment and Justice”, Island of Halki, June 25, 1997

Repentance for failure to respect life We invite Orthodox Christians to engage in genuine repentance for the way in which we have behaved toward God, each other and the world. We gently remind Orthodox Christians that the judgement of the world is in the hands of God. We are called to be stewards and reflections of God’s love by example. Therefore we proclaim the sanctity of life, the entire creation being God’s and reflecting His continuing will that life abound. We must love life so that others may see and know that it belongs to God.... We lovingly suggest to all people... that they help one another to understand the myriad ways in which we are related to the earth and to one another. In this way, we may begin to repair the dislocation many people experience in relation to creation.
Remarks at the Environmental Symposium, Santa Barbara, California, November 8, 1997

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Asceticism as a key to environmental healing There is also an ascetic element in our responsibility toward God’s creation. This asceticism requires from us a voluntary restraint, in order for us to live in harmony with our environment. Asceticism offers practical examples of conservation. Our abundance of resources will be extended to include an abundance of equitable concern for others. We must challenge ourselves to see our personal, spiritual attitudes in continuity with public policy.... We do this out of a personal love for the natural world around us. We are called to work in humble harmony with creation and not in arrogant supremacy against it. Asceticism provides an example whereby we may live simply. Asceticism is not a flight from society and the world, but a communal attitude of mind and way of life that leads to the respectful use, and not the abuse of material goods. Excessive consumption may be understood to issue from a world view of estrangement from self, from land, from life, and from God. Consuming the fruits of the earth unrestrained, we become consumed ourselves by avarice and greed. Excessive consumption leaves us emptied, out-of-touch with our deepest self. Asceticism is a corrective practice, a vision of repentance. Such a vision will lead us from repentance to return, the return to a world in which we give as well as take from creation.
Remarks at the Symposium on Religion, Science and the Environment, Santa Barbara, California, November 8, 1997

Dominion is not domination or tyranny We are of the deeply held belief that many human beings have come to behave as materialistic tyrants. Those that tyrannize the earth are themselves, sadly, tyrannized. We have been called by God to “be fruitful, increase and have dominion in the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Dominion is a type of the Kingdom of Heaven. Thus it is that St. Basil describes the creation of man in paradise on the sixth day, as being the arrival of a king in his palace. Dominion is not domination; it is an eschatological sign of the perfect Kingdom of God, where corruption and death are no more.
Remarks at the Environmental Symposium, Santa Barbara, California, November 8, 1997

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A call to halt global climate change We call on the world’s leaders to take action to halt the destructive changes to the global climate that are being caused by human activity. And we call on all of you here today to join us in this cause. This can be our important contribution to the great debate about climate change. We must be spokespersons for an ecological ethic that reminds the world that it is not ours to use for our own convenience. It is God’s gift of love to us and we must return his love by protecting it and all that is in it. ...
Remarks at the Environmental Symposium, Santa Barbara, California, November 8, 1997

Defining our relationship to God We are urging... a more satisfactory ecological ethic. This ethic is shared with many of the religious traditions.... All of us hold the earth to be the creation of God.... He imposed on humanity a stewardship role in relationship to the earth. How we treat the earth and all of creation defines the relationship that each of us has with God. It is also a barometer of how we view one another. For if we truly value a person, we are careful as to our behavior toward that person. The dominion that God has given humankind over the Earth does not extend to human relationships.
Remarks at the Environmental Symposium, Santa Barbara, California, November 8, 1997

The Lord infuses all creation The Lord suffuses all of creation with His Divine presence in one continuous legato from the substance of the atoms to the Mind of God. Let us renew the harmony between heaven and earth, and transfigure every detail, every particle of life. Let us love one another, and lovingly learn from one another, for the edification of God’s people, for the sanctification of God’s creation, and for the glorification of God’s most holy Name.
Presentation to Metropolitan Nikitas of Hong Kong, Manila and The Philippines, February, 2000

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Love God, love His creation The Orthodox Church, following the teaching of Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition, accepts that God created the world very good, and that the poor functions of nature are a result of the disobedience of man to the correct path and way of life shown to him by God.... Because the plunder and the destruction of the natural environment come chiefly from human greediness and ego-centrism. Opposite to this stand, he who loves the Creator of the world and the natural environment, loves also his creation, because he respects it as the work of the one who loves him, and it is worthy of love and care.
Presentation of His All Holiness to Metropolitan Nikitas of Hong Kong, Manila and The Philippines, February, 2000

Sensitive souls admire and respect creation It is observed that almost all sensitive souls love and respect God the Creator and Father, but at the same time they admire and respect all that he has formed. While it is true that they use natural goods for their lives, they do not destroy nature without cause or for their own benefit. They enjoy these goods only with much care, only what is needed, so that the earth is maintained in a state of constant production, and that life will continue normally.
Presentation of His All Holiness to Metropolitan Nikitas of Hong Kong, Manila and The Philippines, February, 2000

Each person has a role to play Today's technological development has invited unusual environmental aggravations, reaching far beyond the point of their emission. These are for example the atmospheric, sea and water pollutants, the radioactive pollutants, the destruction of the ozone, the warming of the global atmosphere, the penetration of indissoluble toxic substances into the food chain, and others. For all these side effects of technological development it appears that on occasion it is the subordinate one who is irresponsible, but if we look closer at things we shall affirm that each of us is able to do something for the betterment or the worsening of the situation.
Presentation to Metro. Nikitas of Hong Kong, Manila and The Philippines, Feb. 2000

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Care for the environment is care for justice We have come to believe that the understanding of the [environmental] problem and the knowledge of the governmental and individual measures taken contribute greatly to the bettering of the situation. On the one hand, they exert effective communal pressure against those responsible for environmental aggravation by looking to abolish it; while on the other hand, regardless of how small the contribution of each person to the formation of the general condition, the behavior of the large masses may seriously worsen or better the situation. On account of this, we do not consider the attempt to enlighten and sensitize the common opinion for the care of the natural environment to be in vain, but rather beneficial.
Presentation of His All Holiness to Metropolitan Nikitas of Hong Kong, Manila, The Philippines, February, 2000

Each person shares responsibility for climate change The recent floods in Europe, India and Russia... bear witness to the disturbance of climatic conditions caused by the overheating of the atmosphere of our planet. These disasters have persuaded even the most incredulous persons that the problem is real, that the cost of repairing its damages is comparable to the cost of preventing them, and that there is no margin left for continuing to remain quiet. The protection of our fellow human beings from destructive floods, storms, tempests... is our duty; and... failure to take appropriate measures for avoiding such phenomena is chargeable to us as... a crime of negligence.... The greatest part of ...this crisis is due to excessive waste of energy by isolated individuals. Thus, the restriction of wasteful consumption will blunt the acuteness of the problem, while the increase in the use of renewable sources of energy will contribute to its alleviation. However insignificant the contribution of every individual to the averting of new catastrophic natural phenomena may appear, we are all obliged to do whatever we can, because only then we shall be able to pray to God boldly to supply what is lacking in our own efforts and possibilities. Hence, we paternally urge everyone to come to the realization of their personal responsibility and do whatever they can to avert the increase of the temperature on the earth and the aggravation of environmental conditions. We pray fervently to God that He should look favorably on the common effort of all and prevent other threatening disasters on our natural environment, within which He ordered us to live and to fight the good fight in order that we enter the Heavenly Kingdom.
Letter to the Entire Plenitude of the Church,

The Feast of Cre

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Stranger When no one listens to the quiet trees When no one notices the sun in the pool Where no one feels the first drop of rain Or sees the last star Or hails the first morning of a giant world Where peace begins and rages end: One bird sits still watching the work of God: One turning leaf, two falling blossoms, Ten circles upon the pond. One cloud upon the hillside, two shadows in the valley and the light strikes home. Now dawn commands the capture of the tallest fortune, The surrender of no less marvelous prize! Closer and nearer than any worldly master, Thou inward Stranger Whom I have never seen, Deeper and cleaner than the clamorous ocean, Seize upon my silence, hold me in Thy Hand! Now act is waste and suffering undone Laws become prodigals, Limits are torn down For envy has no property and passion is none. Look, the vast Light stands still, our cleanest Light is One!
In The Strange Islands, New Directions, publ. by The Abbey of Gethsemani Inc., 1956.

The wall of the Lord Lord, it behooveth me to scale that wall of invisible vision beyond which Thou art to be found. Now the wall is at one and the same time all things and nothing. For Thou, who seemest to me to be as it were all things and naught of all things at once, dwellest within that lofty wall which no genius can scale by its own power.
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The Vision of God, ch. XII:2

The generative power of a tree Thou seemest to me to behold all things in Thyself, as if power were looking on itself. Even so, the generative power of a tree, if it could behold itself, would see in itself the potential tree, because the generative power is virtually the tree. But, after this, it seemeth to me that Thou dost not see Thyself, and all things in Thee, as power. For the aspect of a tree in its potential state differeth from that of a tree in actuality. And then I discover how Thine infinite power surpasseth a mirror or generative power, and the coincidence of shining and reflection, of cause and effect alike, and how that Absolute Power is Absolute Sight, which is very perfection, and above all modes of seeing: for all modes which explain the perfection of seeing are, without mode, Thy sight, which is Thine essence, my God.
The Vision of God, XII:2

Creating and creation are one Creating and being created are one — yet this is no real difficulty, since with Thee creation and existence are the same. And creating and being created alike are naught else than the sharing of Thy Being among all, that Thou mayest be All in all, and yet mayest abide freed from all.
The Vision of God, XII:3

The call of wisdom in all things Wisdom in shining in all things invites us, with a certain foretaste of its effects, to be borne to its effects, to be borne to it with a wonderful desire. For life itself is an intellectual Spirit, having in itself a certain innate foretaste through which it searches with great desire for the very Font of its own life.
“On Learned Ignorance,” as quoted in The Quotable Spirit, Macmillan & Co., New York, 1996, p. 276.

God cares for the creatures the same as for the cosmos While observing how that gaze [of God] never leaves anyone, one may see that it takes such diligent care of each one as though it cared only for him, and for no other, and this to such a degree that one on whom it rests cannot even conceive that it takes care of any other. One will also see that it takes the same most diligent care of the least of creatures as of the greatest, and of the whole universe.

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The Vision of God, quoted in The Fire and the Cloud: An Anthology of Catholic Spirituality, David Fleming (ed.), Paulist Press, New York, 1978.

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