Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Col. 1:23: “…the gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven….”
Every creature under heaven: that is quite a claim! We tend to think the “Good News” – the Gospel – is something to be preached to “all men,” i.e., to all human beings. And so it is. And yet the revelation is a cosmic revelation. It extends to all the spiritual orders of being, and, as this text from St. Paul indicates, to all other creatures as well.
How can this be? Well, there is a cosmic dimension to the salvation effected by Christ that is beyond our limited minds. When we recall that “all was created in Him,” it is a bit less amazing to consider that the gospel has been preached to every creature. Just possible.
Surely the deep, true meaning of this puzzling phrase is deeper than my feeble attempt to understand – we will have to await the Resurrection to see the most marvelous things. But a clue might come to us from the Holy Father’s encyclical Laudato Si, where concern for the created, material universe is brought to the fore of our attention. Not only must we be “preaching the Gospel” with our lives to other humans – but to all the material creation as well. Are we in fact “good news” for the world? If there is not a sparrow in creation but is known to the Father, what is our responsibility to all beings? For after all we are stewards of creation. And part of that, as St. Francis knew, is to be spokesmen for all the elements of creation, joining the Heavens in proclaiming the Glory of God.
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.