2- prayer in relationship with creation introduction in both the scriptures and the story of faith, creation is the first awakening t

2- PRAYER IN RELATIONSHIP WITH CREATION
Introduction
In both the scriptures and the story of faith, creation is the first
awakening to a relationship with a God who is creator of all. Our
ancestors looked to the sun, the moon, the rivers and seas and
recognised a source of power that was beyond their understanding.
Creation itself spoke to them of a creative power that we have come to
understand as Christians to be the God of Creation – and the first
person within the Trinity. So our relationship with God begins with
creation. God who has created each of us, created all that is, seen
and unseen. All of creation is celebrated in the scriptures from the
story of the Exodus, the psalms, through to the parables of Jesus and
the final redemption of the entire world in Revelations.
Today, as you pray, open your eyes, indeed all your senses to the
beauty and wonder of God’s creation. Ponder the power of a God who
loved you into being and continues to pulse with life in all of
creation. You can enter more deeply into relationship with God, by
contemplating the revelation of God in creation. To know creation is
to know God. The greatest revelation of our new understanding of the
evolution of our world, the new universe story, confirms what our
spiritual ancestors knew intuitively and that is that all of creation
is connected. Join with all of creation in giving praise to our
creator God.
In your prayer today we invite you to pray with and in creation and
with all the members of the Earth community who are giving praise to
God.
Invitation
You might like to go in memory to one of your favourite landscapes or
seascapes or recall a sunrise, a sunset, mountains, woods, lakes,
rivers, flowers, lambs frolicking, waterfall, seashells, butterflies
etc.
Maybe recall some moment of encounter with creation that opened you to
the presence of God and be with that experience again.
Or you can go quietly to some part of the garden or the vineyard, the
riverbank or the park here in Angers to listen to God in creation. Be
inspired by St. Mary Euphrasia’s symbol of the sunflower: “Like
sunflowers that look towards the sun…so your minds should always turn
to our Lord.”1
Or
Choose one place or one element of creation: as you ponder this aspect
of creation allow your senses to awaken to experience the God of
creation.
What can you see, hear, touch, smell, taste? Soak it in.
Let it penetrate you with its spirit. Let it take root in your soul.
Move with awe and wonder into the mystery of the aspect of creation
that you have chosen; let the mystery live in you.
We now call to mind that all things are created through Christ, in
Christ and for Christ and that the planet earth and all of physical
creation has value in itself. We read in Genesis that God said “ it is
good”. So the earth is God’s creation and to be respected for its own
sake.
We can ponder for a moment Christ’s own relationship with creation
when here on earth. Through the Incarnation, Jesus of Nazareth, our
God walked the earth and lived in close relationship with creation, as
is evidenced in the Gospels.
Jesus lived close to the mystery of creation and prayed often in the
hills or by the sea. (Luke 6:12, Mt 17:1;Mk 6:46; Mt 14:23) Like Moses
he gave his key speech, the Beatitudes, on the mountain top. The
miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes took place in a
lonely place (John 6:1-15) and many miracles took place by the shore
of the sea. Many of Jesus’ parables are centred on Nature: The Sower
(Mt 13:4-9); The True Vine (Jn 15:1-17); The Lost Sheep (Luke 15:4-7);
The Good Shepherd (Jn 10: 1-18); Birds of the Air and Foxes and their
lairs (Mt 6:26)
All of the passages mentioned here remind us of Jesus’ close
relationship with creation. What is very powerful for us is to see how
Jesus used the gift of creation in a metaphorical and symbolic way. In
the Gospels we listen for the voice of God in the symbolic language of
the parables Jesus told, that comes through in the earthy ways of
speaking of spiritual growth, the kin-dom and relationship with God
and one another.
Meditation Introduction
Scripture Reflection: Parable of the True Vine : Jn 15: 1-12
As you pray with this Parable of the Vine, you might like to go to the
vineyard close to us here, to the right as you exit the tunnel. This
vineyard was part St. Nicholas’ Benedictine monastery from the twelfth
century. It was bought by St. Mary Euphrasia in 1854 and subsequently
the sisters cultivated the vineyard.
A vineyard is usually referred to by its place, as each plantation has
specific geographical and geological characteristics, which may be
conveyed in the wine. The people who have currently rented the
vineyard use the biodynamic method of viticulture, which embraces a
holistic approach to the tasks involved and is open to the spiritual
and mystical perspectives.
To ensure the optimum fruitfulness, the vine is trained along a
trellis, an open framework, in this case of wire, which supports and
displays the climbing branches. Pruning is an important part of the
process of viticulture. It involves the targeted removal of damaged,
non-productive, diseased or structurally unsound growth so that the
vine can produce more growth.
This parable offers us a wonderful opportunity to let the earthy
symbol of the vine speak directly to us, as we allow the images speak
to us of our own growth and our relationship with God. I offer you
some points to contemplate as you pray with this scripture passage and
questions for reflection.
v. 1-3
Jesus begins this parable by repeating his favourite theme of “being
one with the Father”, whom he refers to as the Vinedresser or as we
might say the grape farmer. Jesus is not independent of the Father;
they are always co-operating in every activity.
The imagery of the vine puts the focus on fruitfulness in life. This
is not about your successes or human achievements, but comes from your
relationships and your being planted in Christ. It is through Christ
that all nourishment comes to you, as the nourishment of each branch
and tendril of the vine passes through the main stalk.
Listen to what Jesus is saying to you about what is life-giving in
your life at this time and where he knows you are being pruned. Talk
to him about how you feel. Stay with this process and become aware of
areas of fruitfulness which you may have ignored.
It is a law of life that there is no growth without sacrifice; there
is no fruitfulness without pruning, without cutting off what is not
life-giving. But pruning is always for the sake of the “more” to which
you are continually called: “to make you bear even more”. Talk to
Jesus about the “even more “to which he might be calling you at this
time.
V 4- 9
Here Jesus invites you to a wonderful reciprocity of belongingness and
“at-home-ness”. Just as the vine and branches are inextricably linked,
in like manner, Jesus wants you to be intimately united with him. It
is only by staying close to Jesus that you can bear fruit.
By your belief that Jesus is the Christ and your embracing him as your
Saviour, Redeemer and Friend and uniting all your thoughts, feelings
and desires with his, you respond to the initiative he takes in loving
you.
How does Jesus’ invitation to intimacy touch you? What feelings arise
for you as you become aware of his desire for closeness with you?
Listen to his words “make your home in me, as I make mine in you”.
What response do you want to make? Talk to Jesus as familiarly as you
can.
V 10 -12
As a genuine, intimate, mutual relationship with Jesus deepens, you
want to treasure the Word of God in your heart and behave in a way
that is congruent with the will of God. Love and obedience go hand in
hand.
This “remaining in my love” and “keeping my commandments” is the
framework, the trellis which supports your inner life and shows that
you are a disciple of Jesus. It is not an imposition, nor a hindrance
but a support.
Remaining in Jesus’ love, leads to joy, the “joy which we experience
daily, amid the little things of life, as a response to the loving
invitation of God our Father”2. Joy, like wine, the fruit of the vine,
is associated with abundance of life, which joyfully celebrates
intimacy and fecundity. Jesus wants your joy to be founded on his love
for you and he is promising you more and more joy until your “joy is
complete”.
What supports have you in place to nurture your intimacy with Jesus?
In what way can you accept more easily the gift of joy which Jesus is
offering you?
“Do not deprive yourself of the day’s enjoyment”. (Sir 14:11,14) How
does this inspired word get lived out in your daily life?
Further scripture passages for prayer: Psalm 148; Psalm 104; Rom 8:22;
Job 38 & 30
Sing together: How Great Thou Art
1 St. Mary Euphrasia Conferences No 3
2 Evangelii Gaudium No. 4
4

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