FS #78: Nature in Franciscan Spirituality, Part 8 – Jun 17 – Homily – Fr Terrance

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Fr Terrance gives the homily at Bloomington, IN, on Jun 17, 2024, where he speaks on Franciscan spirituality, and how it reveals nature as expressing Christ, with all creation reflecting Jesus, who unites and dignifies everything through His incarnation and mediation. This is a continuation of his series on Franciscan spirituality and the subsection, "Nature in Franciscan Spirituality," emphasizing the Franciscan understanding and appreciation of nature and how it should lead us to God.

St. Francis arrived at the love of creatures and interpreting their language and actions through Jesus Christ. The creative cycle opens to God by means of Christ and brings everything back to God by His mediation, the one mediator between God and man as St. Paul calls Him in 1 Timothy 2:5 https://bible.usccb.org/bible/1timothy/2?5. Blessed Thomas of Celano, St. Francis' biographer, wrote that with a special love, Francis valued and loved things in which he glimpsed a symbol of the Son of God, i.e., the things of nature, seeing Jesus in them. This love is rooted in the fraternal alliance that unites created things and persons from God by means of Christ, and also in the end, which is the glory of God in Christ.

St. Francis loved all creatures created by God because he knew they shared the same generating principle. Both he and they came from the fruitful love of God through Jesus' mediation. St. Paul speaks in Colossians 1:16 - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/colossians/1?16 of all things being created by means of Christ and in view of Him. This principle, a banner of Seraphic spirituality, shows that created things must be seen in Christ and in dependence upon Him because it's from Him that they acquire their significance and life. Jesus Christ, through whom the Father created the world, as we read in Hebrews 1:2 - https://bible.usccb.org/bible/hebrews/1?2, is the origin of everything, the cause of every order and form, the type upon which every creature is modeled.

While only man is created in His image and likeness, all other created beings have a remote likeness to Jesus because they participate in existence and life, which come from Him. Everything is a creature of God, and even Jesus is a creature of God in His humanity. From the Blessed Trinity, created beings were called into existence, but Christ, in His holy humanity, is the first exemplar and the most perfect apex of creation. Being God and man, He is both artist and masterpiece, joined in a single being. As man, He is a creature, part of creation, the same nature as us, because His body stemmed from human birth by means of Our Lady, and all creation is ennobled in an indescribable way because of the incarnation.

Through Christ, creation participates, even indirectly, in the hypostatic union, joining created nature to the divine Word of God. The vital impulse for being comes from above, making the sea of created beings come forth out of nothing. The foundation and meaning of being are from above, from the Lord, by means of Christ, for whom creatures were made and in whom they acquire unity and dignity. The atom, pebble, plant, animal, and man are all tied together by profound solidarity and universal brotherhood. Each is constituted in its grade of being but only in view of a higher power, which surpasses it and gives it place and function. The cosmos is a hierarchy of finite beings, each with its fullness, inserted in the harmony of the universe, participating in God's perfections.

The multiplicity of created beings forms a unity, a harmonious universe, not by mechanical juxtaposition but by a bond from above, substantiating and consolidating everything into a perfect synthesis that tends to a single apex, Jesus Christ, who is the unity of the created and uncreated world. The world of creatures exists and subsists by means of Christ and the bond created with Him, indissolubly uniting every creature to God according to its place in the scale of beings. Let’s ask Our Lady for the grace today to appreciate the greatness of her Son, through whom and for whom all things were created and in whom all things live and move and have their being, as St. Paul also says in Acts 17:28 -https://bible.usccb.org/bible/acts/17?28.

This is a continuation of his series of homilies on Franciscan Spirituality - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNN151zTIO4&list=PLejh_e0-LN4xgMllKrzSasL2Hljd5BHom
and the subsection "Nature in Franciscan Spirituality."

The material for this series comes primarily from Ciccarelli, Marciano M., "I capisaldi della spiritualità francescana" in Italian, which translates as "The Cornerstones of Franciscan Spirituality." No English translations of this book exist at the time of this recording.

00:00 - Introduction
00:09 - Franciscan Spirituality Overview
00:14 - Nature as Christ's Expression
00:46 - Christ as Mediator
02:32 - Christ as Creation's Origin
03:12 - Christ's Humanity and Divinity
04:46 - Universal Brotherhood in Creation
06:18 - Jesus Christ: Unity of All

Ave Maria!

Mass: Monday 11th Week of Ordinary Time - Wkdy
Readings:  - http://usccb.org/bible/readings/061724.cfm
1st: 1ki 21:1-16
Resp: psa 5:2-3, 5-7
Gsp: mat 5:38-42

More on the Readings: https://airmaria.com/r?m=1625

Also on Facebook:
and YouTube: https://youtu.be/5uMsifMsZP4

Further Reading:
- CCC 280 - The Creator and His Creation - http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/280.htm
- CCC 290 - God Creates by Wisdom and Love - http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/290.htm
- CCC 339 - Every Creature's Goodness and Perfection - http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/para/339.htm
- Wikipedia - Life of St. Francis - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_of_Assisi