Witnessing Christ in Creation


Witnessing Christ in Creation

A superb slender book of excerpts regarding facets of the Christian Life, Ordinary Graces compiled by Lorraine Kisly presents a number of quotations regarding the Christian encounter with the natural world. I'll excerpt two.

from Ordinary Graces compiled by Lorraine Kisly

from the work of Poet Christopher Smart

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven time round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his fore-paws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the fore-paws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having considered God and himself he will consider his neighbor.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying. . .

from The Grain of Wheat: Aphorisms
Hans Urs von Balthasar

Christ as recapitulation of creation: as new Adam he encompasses everything human, but he also incorporates the animal realm in himself, since he is lamb, scapegoat, sacrificial ox, ram, and lion of Judah. As bread and as vine he incorporates the vegetative. Finally, in the Passion, he became a mere thing and thus reached the very bottom of the world's structure. This reification is most evidenced in the sacraments and especially in Christ's quantification in Communion wafers and in his multilocation Christ as printing matrix, as generic article. Such reification has its cause not at all in a subsequent desacralization of the holy by the Church, but in an intensely profound personal decision of the Redeemer, and in the strongest possible effects of the redemption itself, whereby the Lord makes himself irrevocably a thing at the disposal of anyone who requests it.

One quick note--even in his aphorisms von Balthasar is incredibly long-winded.

I loved both of these excerpts because they gave points to ponder--a direction to look in order to see the sacred in the ordinary. To look at one's cat and see the mind of the maker is a cause for great joy--to see how perfectly attuned and constructed such an animal might be to the will of God is indeed an insight.

The second insight probes our understanding of Jesus. Again the notion of Jesus recapitulating all of creation is profound and thrilling. Paul hints around at it in Romans when he says that all creations groans awaiting the redemption--but this direct statement is gorgeous and a new way of thinking about the efficacy and sufficiency of God alone.

I hope the book continues to provide readings of such caliber. There will be much to be learned from it.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 2, 2003 7:59 AM.

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