By Members of Our Lady's Warriors
Commentary Copyright 1998 by Our Lady's Warriors. All Rights Reserved.
Note: Watch words and phrases are underlined; commentary is presented following Renew 2000 text.
God, Our Creator
Focus of the Session
God created everything, and all that exists depends upon God who gave it being. God made the universe with wonderful order and formed us as human beings with great dignity. No matter what our life circumstances have been, we can depend on God's creative power and trust in God's faithful goodness to all creation.
SHARING OUR EXPERIENCE
Take a few minutes to read the following rejection silently.
For many, it can be mind-boggling to think about how God could have created our universe with such great order. Sometimes when we take the time to reflect upon both the miracle and mystery of creation, we encounter serious questions. Have you ever struggled with the question, "Does God really exist?" Many find it difficult to look at creation and not come to the conclusion that the answer to that question has to be "Yes."
Perhaps the question many of us could ask before "Does God really exist?" is, "Do I trust life?" If we do not trust that life is good and that our needs will be met, it may be difficult to recognize the goodness of a creator. When we are born, we are not immediately conscious of the presence of God; rather, we come to know goodness or evil from our surroundings. If we have parents and/or families who love and nurture us, we learn to trust life. We know that if we are hungry, we will be fed; if we are cold, we will be warmed. If, on the other hand, however, we are not cared for with love, it can be very difficult for us to trust life, to trust that our needs will be met. We may, in fact, need to spend much of our life trying to fill those early needs and to forgive those who did not meet them. Perhaps most of us fall somewhere in the middle of being totally cared for and totally abandoned. To some extent, therefore, we all live with the question, "Do I trust life?"
We will probably not be able to answer that question affirmatively unless we look to a creator who loves us fully and unconditionally. We believe that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen 1: 1) and throughout the creation process, 'God saw that it was good" (Gen 1:4ff.). No matter what our fears or struggles in life, we can look to a God who created us in love and know that "all things work together for good" (Rom 8:28).
SMALL COMMUNITY SHARING
Take a few moments of silence to reflect on the Following. Then share your reflections.
A time I had the grace to trust that my needs would be met was
When has it been difficult for me to trust that "all things work together for good"?
LISTENING TO THE WORD
Read Wisdom 13:1-9.
Pause for a few minutes and meditate on the creative power and goodness of God.
Take a few minutes to read the Following reflection silently.
The author of the book of Wisdom challenges us not only to appreciate the beauty and wonder of creation, but also to recognize the One who created it. How easy it is for us to walk through this world and forget to notice its beauty. When we do notice, we can't help but be in awe of the creator and the unconditional love that is at the heart of creation. Throughout the creation story, the author of Genesis reminds us again and again that all God created was good. God created our universe not only to provide a place for us to live but also as a total expression of who God is.
The more we come to know God's beauty, the more we desire to see the order and goodness that is inherent in all of creation. We desire to see, as did St. Francis of Assisi, that creation is a "mirror of God." We desire to be, like Francis, people who reverence and bless each created thing and person. When we reflect on creation, we come to know anew the immeasurable depth of God's love for us. We are called not only to bless all that has been created, but also to participate in the life of grace. This sharing in the "life of grace,' a sharing to which we are introduced through baptism, brings with it membership in a faith community (a faith community with personal knowledge of God as Triune) and specific obligations. Among these obligations is the sacred responsibility for preserving and caring for all creation.
How rich our lives would be if we recognized the great worth and dignity that we have. God created us with a soul, a deep spiritual identity in our inmost selves. Although this dignity was dimmed through sin, it was more than restored, even enhanced, through the coming of Christ. Baptism entitles us to fully participate in his life, death and resurrection. No matter what happens, we can depend on God who wants more for us than we could ever even want for ourselves. We are worthy of love; we are worthy of living in right order with others and with all of creation. We are worthy to bless the goodness of others. As creator, God gave us a world that is not total and complete; rather, it is very much in a state of ongoing creation. It falls on us, as a responsibility before God, to reverence that creation at each moment.
As we enter the 21st century, we Christians are called to recommit ourselves to Christ-that is, to allow ourselves to be "heavenly leaven" for the world and to witness to the kingdom of God. Pope John Paul 11 wrote, in his Apostolic Letter, As the Third Millennium Draws Near, to bishops, clergy and lay faithful: "The best preparation for the new millennium, therefore, can only be expressed in a renewed commitment to apply, as faithfully as possible, the teachings of Vatican II to the life of every individual and of the whole Church' (#20). Not least among the challenges issuing forth from Vatican II is the call to respect and reverence the universe in a new way; a reverence based on the recognition of the dignity of each person as a child of God, and of creation as the gift which it is. Over the past centuries, many of us have looked upon Earth as an object that we have tried to "dominate." Today, we are facing an ecological crisis. We are coming to understand that we are part of a living universe; our challenge is not to dominate but to live in right relationship with all of creation. As we come to a greater understanding of our relationship as part of this "living universe," we hear all the clearer our call to reverence and respect life in all of its forms. We are not human beings isolated from our home, Earth, but rather people very much in relationship with Earth.
We are facing a critical time in our human history. Life has become very expendable. Violence against one another is rampant. Respect for the human person requires a concern for the common good. Because of our own preoccupation with individualism, consumerism and materialism, however, many persons in our world live in conditions unworthy of human beings. We are all challenged to share Earth's goods and resources justly and to live in harmony with all creation.
We trust and we believe that all God has created is good. Let us be grateful for the gift of creation and look at how we are participating in God's loving, creative power.
SMALL COMMUNITY SHARING
Take a few moments of silence to reflect on the following questions. Then share your reflections.
LIVING OUR FAITH
No sharing would be complete without a commitment to putting our faith into practice. As you reflected on God's word and shared insights with others in your small community, you may have experienced the grace of God. What is the specific action God is inviting you to take to change your own life or to respond to someone else's need? Listen and choose a specific, concrete action that flows from your sharing. The examples below are given only ask eas to generate a creative response.
Put in writing what you have determined you will do to respond to this session.
If you wish to do so, share your commitment with others in your small community.
For Next Time
Begin this week with a commitment to grow in your awareness of creation. Think of ways in which you can participate in being a co-creator or in which you can bless the goodness of God's creation. Come to the next session prepared to share your actions and how you lived your faith during the week.
If it is possible, go outside and stand in a circle.
Reread Wisdom 13:1-9 slowly and reflectively.
Spend a few minutes in silent prayer; then offer to God whatever prayers of praise, blessing or gratitude you wish for the wonder of creation.
Please read and reflect on the upcoming session, Jesus, Our Loving Friend and Healer, before the next meeting so that you can come prepared to listen and share.
Excerpts from Renew 2000 text are presented in italics.
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