Monday, February 11, 2019

Daily word, 11 Feb 19

Fifth Monday of the Year (11 Feb 2019) Gn 1. 1-19; Ps 104; Mk 6. 53-56
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J., 8-day retreat
God’s Self-Expression
Before mass: The Second Vatican Council stated something fitting: faith and science are not opposed—they are different but not opposed.1 It is fitting for us because we begin to hear faith’s view of creation. Science is about real, tangible, measurable things; faith points us to what we cannot measure and is more real, more vital.
In our creeds we profess God makes heaven and; earth and all things visible and; invisible2: God does this daily, Psalm 104 sings. “Creation is the bodily expression of God’s spirit.”3 Creation has need of stewards. Our Creator has given us God’s self-expression not as slavish stewards but partners with God. Supporting creation, working with it for our good and the good of others, preserving it as our common home4 allow us to make a return of love to God more readily.

Creation is grand mystery. God creates every moment, and God’s motive is for us—our good: grander mystery. Poetry addresses mystery well because poetry freely sets aside physical laws and plumbs hearts; enlightens minds to notice what is always present yet readily overlooked; poetry sets hearts soaring on updrafts of joy that condors can never pilot with their magnificent wings; poetry gives humans taste and longing for every fruit of cooperation, conserving, companioning.

Clothed in human poetry Genesis speaks God to us. Indeed, the rhythm of God creating begins with speaking: When God was about to create, all was darkness and formless: God spoke, Light…God saw the good light. God separated [out] light from the darkness. God called the light day and darkness night.

God’s rhythm of speaking, seeing, separating and calling reveals desire, intention, clarity, collaboration. Light; water; land; vegetation; heavenly luminaries: all are God’s self-expression. All that existed was God’s spirit—the word we translate wind also means spirit. Creation is the bodily expression of God’s spirit; the poetic words of God creating will continue this week.

If we linger longer with God’s rhythm of self-expression and God’s desire, intention, clarity, collaboration, may we not notice God creating us on our retreats? God creates us every moment—why we exist, as Bernie reminded us here. Is our retreat living with its prayer times offering us clearer light? Are our retreats freeing us to separate essential from non-essential? to notice how we share God’s self-expression? Are we allowing God to water wastelands within, to cultivate new life and to let us see our good selves?

Noticing the manifold ways God creates us restores us to our true selves. Retreat unites us to that varied assembly of people who sought to touch the tassel on Jesus’ cloak and. . .were made well, made whole. Made well and its cousin, healed, always return us to ourselves. The self-expression God began and continues God will fully restore as surely as evening comes and morning follows. On your retreats continue to fall into the mystery of God creating you so you may feel truly alive and behold God with clearer, inmost sight.

  1. The Church in the Modern World, Ch. III, esp. ##35-36.
  2. A teacher’s words I always remember; later they were published. Luke Timothy Johnson, The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why it Matters, 2004: The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition, p. 326. 
  3. Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed, respectively.
  4. Pope Francis favoured the expression in Laudato si!—13 times throughout his encyclical, subtitled On Care For Our Common Home.

Wiki-images Hubble Peers into Storm by NASA CC BY 2.0; Sun Provides CC0 1.0

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