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Posts Tagged ‘Worship’

Jon_Drew

What could possibly bring a Greenpeace activist (Drew Barrymore), the executive of an oil company (Ted Danson), American politicians of the Reagan era, Soviets, the National Guard, media from around the world, de-icing machine business owners from Minnesota, and a tribe of traditional Inupiat whale hunters in the frozen wilds of Alaska together, in addition to reuniting a broken-up couple (Barrymore and John Krasinski)?

Eskimos

If you saw “Big Miracle” or read my previous post about the film, you know that what united them in the 1980s was a mission to free a family of gray whales trapped in the Alaskan ice.

But what was it about this event that inspired such a variety of groups, some of whom were notoriously unfriendly toward one another, to collaborate?  And were they all drawn to this collaboration by the same thing?  No doubt, ambition, publicity, and other personal interests could have been behind some people’s involvement — at least initially.

Big Miracle 2

But whether they knew it or not, what brought them together in the end was the fulfillment of their vocation, our vocation, as human beings — what it means to have “dominion” over the earth and all its creatures.

Mankind is the priest of God’s creation, as Sacred Scripture attests:

The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it (Genesis 2:15)

“Cultivation” and “care” are priestly functions. We are God’s “caretakers,” called to exercise good stewardship over the earth and all its creatures.

Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator … requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation (CCC 2415).

Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness (CCC 2416).

When the Old Testament was written, the creation account of Genesis and the gift of the Land to Israel were both understood liturgically.  It was not just that mankind and Israel were given “real estate” purely for their own use and enjoyment; rather, the point was that with the land, they had something to offer God in praise and Thanksgiving — not because He needed it, but because He rested on the seventh day.

Sounds funny, doesn’t it?  Let me explain: When Scripture talks about God “resting” on the seventh day, this is an expression of worship as the ultimate purpose of creation.  As creatures made in God’s image and likeness, human beings are called to order all things to the glory of God, Who is love itself (1 John 4:8).

God, Who is perfectly happy from all eternity and needs nothing outside of Himself, created the world from nothing in a sheer act of generosity.  His goodness can be seen in the mere existence of creation and in His providential care for all that exists.

The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created (CCC 294).

So in exercising benevolence toward our fellow creatures, we can always see something of what we were made for.  And how could this not melt our hearts a little and bring us closer together, for however brief a time?

Images obtained through a Google image search.

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