Knowing God through creation

Let us pray (in silence) [that through creation we may grow into union with God]


Almighty God,
fount of all wisdom, crown of all knowledge;
give us eyes to see
and minds to understand your marvelous works,
that we may know you through your handiwork
and use your creations to your glory;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.

NZPB p. 625

"Fountain of all wisdom" was used in the preamble of one of the six collects provided new in the 1549 Prayer Book under the rubric "Collects to be said after the Offertory when there is no Communion, every such day one." "Fount of all wisdom" is an attractive image reminiscent of the Roman Catholic second eucharistic prayer, "Lord, you are holy indeed, the fountain of all holiness." That prayer was sourced in Hippolytus (early thrid century) [A different version is found on this site as Eucharistic Prayer 3 from Celebrating Eucharist pp.207-209]. RC Eucharistic Prayer 3 expresses the thought differently: "All life, all holiness comes from you". NZPB's Great Thanksgiving has the same idea: "You are the source of all life and goodness;" (p.421). In this last case there was fear that people would hear and image this as God the "sauce of all life and goodness" (!) However, the revisers need not have feared. In the dozen or so years that these words have been used, most Anglicans have not been able to tear their eyes away from pew sheets, prayer books, OHP, or powerpoint projector screens long enough to be amused or intrigued by the homophone.

The collect above might direct us to the "First Principle and Foundation" of St Ignatius Loyola: we are made for union with God, all things are created to help growth in this union, so we ought to use them in this growth to union with God, and not when they hinder our growth. Our focus is on God - the end, the purpose. Creation, including health, sickness, wealth, poverty, honour, dishonour, a long or short life, are all secondary - the means.

Too often there is a confusion of end and means. The church is not an end, it is a means. Christian authority and leadership is a means. Prayer is a means.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, all for the greater glory of God, as St Ignatius would have it.

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