The poets and the artists bring the light we need to see and to recognise the divine contours of the cosmos of our hearts, and the heart of our cosmos. Unlike many of the official teachers of religion, they have never lost the sense of wonder at the mystery of the indwelling of God in Creation. For them, the smallest particle of creation becomes a window on God’s beauty. Their intense energy is spent on revealing ‘the dearest freshness down things’. They see ‘his blood upon the rose and in the stars the glory of his eyes’. Like ‘flaming from shook foil’, God’s splendour radiates from all the creatures for those who stay blessed with the original vision of childhood. The artist and the mystic use images and symbols to catch the fire-fly glimpses of the extraordinary presence of a Spirit of Wonder beneath the seemingly superficial and ordinary. Pope Francis draws on all sources of beauty, ‘secular’ or not, in his encyclical, to make his point. In Part Two of this book, we attempt to do the same thing.
From its very beginning fourteen billion years ago the world was already permeated and filled with God’s creative and compassionate presence. There never was a time or place in the history of evolution when God was absent from the world. God was always the beating heart of the universe. In the person of Christ the fullness of the tremendous love-story was finally revealed. The human is now the home of the divine. Salvation and healing have taken place. What was begun in Creation is completed in the Incarnation. This long-awaited revelation of a fleshed God has brought a stunning vision to human awareness. The search for God is no longer a dualistic, divisive journey outwards, away from the material, the ‘ordinary’; it is the recognition of what is already throbbing within us. That is what we celebrate in the sacraments –because the immediacy of the incarnate Mother-Creator keeps slipping our doubting minds. We forget. Grace reminds and re-creates us. It is the divine power that energises our daily lives. Grace is life fully lived. God’s basic gift to us is the lives we live and the good earth from which we make our living.
As Christians this insight is offered to all of us. And to the rest of the world too, of course. The smallest particle of Creation is a theophany, a revelation of God – the acorn, the shrill siren of a passing train, the falling star, the shining eyes. All too often our seeing stops at appearances, failing to explore and recognise the love and meaning at the core – the very heart of the Christian revelation. We need eyes to read the wind, people’s faces as they pass, the new runway, the old war-memorial in such a way as to go below the surface. But there are moments that stand out from all the others, moments which come like a gift, moments when, as theologian Sean Fagan puts it, ‘the focus shifts and a single leaf becomes a universe, a rock speaks prophecies and a smile transforms a relationship’.
(From an unpublished work by Daniel 2018)