Aleteia

Why we should thank God for every part of nature

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Each part of creation speaks of God’s glory, even those we don’t like!

While it is relatively easy to thank God for the beautiful sunsets and stunning vistas, we tend to have a much more difficult time thanking him for the more unpleasant parts of nature.

Unfortunately, this view of creation can easily lead to a desire for domination, where we try to alter it to fit our own personal desires.

Pope Benedict XVI commented on this unhealthy view of creation in his message on the World Day of Peace in 2010.

Human beings let themselves be mastered by selfishness; they misunderstood the meaning of God’s command and exploited creation out of a desire to exercise absolute domination over it. But the true meaning of God’s original command, as the Book of Genesis clearly shows, was not a simple conferral of authority, but rather a summons to responsibility. The wisdom of the ancients had recognized that nature is not at our disposal as “a heap of scattered refuse.” Biblical Revelation made us see that nature is a gift of the Creator, who gave it an inbuilt order and enabled man to draw from it the principles needed to “till it and keep it” (cf. Gen. 2:15). Everything that exists belongs to God, who has entrusted it to man, albeit not for his arbitrary use. Once man, instead of acting as God’s co-worker, sets himself up in place of God, he ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature, “which is more tyrannized than governed by him.” Man thus has a duty to exercise responsible stewardship over creation, to care for it and to cultivate it.

This requires a profound change in our hearts to not only see the good side of nature, but to see each part as a beautiful symphony that God has designed for our benefit.

Above all, it requires us to see nature as a gift of the Creator, something that is given to us to cultivate and not subdue to our own wills.

One way to help foster this appreciation of nature is to recite daily the canticle featured in the book of Daniel that is part of the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours. It recalls each part of God’s creation and praises God for it.

If you find yourself often seeing nature as something to be used, try praying this canticle every day and let God change your heart.

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord.
You heavens, bless the Lord.
All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord.
All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Sun and moon, bless the Lord.
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.

Every shower and dew, bless the Lord.
All you winds, bless the Lord.
Fire and heat, bless the Lord.
Cold and chill, bless the Lord.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord.
Frost and chill, bless the Lord.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord.
Nights and days, bless the Lord.
Light and darkness, bless the Lord.
Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.

Let the earth bless the Lord.
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord.
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
You springs, bless the Lord.
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord.
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord.
You sons of men, bless the Lord.
(Daniel 3:57-88, 56)

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