Vatican City, 21 May 2014 (VIS) – The gift of knowledge, ‘scientia’, that “is not limited to human knowledge, but which through creation leads us to perceive the greatness of God and His love for His creatures” was the theme of the Pope’s catechesis during this Wednesday’s general audience.
In the presence of more than 50,000 people in St. Peter’s Square, Francis explained that this gift of the Holy Spirit also enables us to discover how the beauty and immensity of the cosmos speaks to us of the Creator and invites us to praise Him “from the depths of our heart and to recognise that all that we have, and all that we are. It is an inestimable gift of God and a sign of His infinite love for us”.
In the first chapter of Genesis, at the very beginning of the Bible, it is made clear that God is pleased with His creation, and the beauty and goodness of everything is repeatedly emphasised. If God sees that creation is good and beautiful, then we too should assume this attitude. … And when God finished creating man, He did not say that what he saw was good, but rather that it was ‘very good’. In the eyes of God we are the most beautiful, the greatest, the best of His creation: even the angels were beneath us, we are greater than the angels. The Lord loves us, and we should thank Him for this. … The gift of knowledge places us in profound harmony with the Creator and allows us to participate in the clarity of his vision and judgement. And it is from this perspective that we are able to perceive in man and woman the peak of His creation, as the fulfilment of a plan of love that is inherent in each one of us, and enables us to recognise each other as brothers and sisters”.
“All this is a reason for serenity and peace, and makes the Christian a joyful witness to God, like St. Francis of Assisi and many other saints who knew how to sing and to praise their love through the contemplation of creation. At the same time, however, the gift of knowledge helps us to avoid falling prey to the danger of … considering ourselves to be the masters of creation. Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or even less, is it the property of only a few. Creation is a gift that God has given us, so that we might take care of it and make use of it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude. The second mistake is the temptation for us to limit ourselves to creatures, as if they were able to offer the answer to all our expectations”.
The Pope returned to the first risk, that of seeking to appropriate creation instead of protecting it. Creation is “a gift from God to us … and when we exploit it, we destroy the sign of His love. Destroying creation is like saying to God, ‘I don’t like it’, and this is not good, it is a sin. Care for creation is care for God’s gift to us, and it means saying to God, ‘thank you, I am the custodian of creation, but to enable it to progress, never to destroy your gift’”.
“This must be our attitude in relation to creation”, continued the Holy Father: “to protect it, because if we destroy creation, creation will destroy us! Do not forget this”. He went on to recount a story of a very simple person he once met, who loved flowers and took great care of them. “He said, we must look after these beautiful things God has given us; creation is ours so that we may benefit from it, not to exploit it but to protect it, because God always forgives, we human beings forgive sometimes, but creation never forgives and if you do not protect it, it will destroy you”.
“This should make us think, and to ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of knowledge to understand well that creation is God’s most beautiful gift. He has made so many good things for the greatest creation of all, the human person”.
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