“Admiration… So Necessary”

elk 3788A few weeks ago a Methodist minister friend of mine, Kenny Faught, sent me a quote he had come across in the writings of  Pope John Paul II.  It reads: “Admiration of creation, admiration of God’s work, is so necessary. Through admiring creation, we admire God; through admiring the visible, we admire the invisible.”  I think there’s a lot to think about here.

To begin with, John Paul II notes that admiring Creation is “so necessary.”  These are strong words.  He didn’t say admiring God’s work was useful or recommended; he said it was necessary.  Paying attention to God’s Creation is something we must do if we want to be in tune with the Creator of the world.  Admiring His handiwork is essential to our spiritual well-being.  Unfortunately, many people do not see the connection that John Paul II alludes to.  They fail to understand how living in awareness of our environment is critical to our spiritual life.

If you go back and reread John Paul’s words you’ll notice that he uses the word “admire” or its derivatives six times in these two short sentences.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines “admire” as “to regard with wonder, pleasure, and approval.  To have a high opinion of; to esteem or respect.”  As Christians we really should regard Creation with wonder, pleasure and approval.  The world God has made is literally full of wonder.  It is, indeed, a storehouse of pleasure.  And just as God paused at the conclusion each day of Creation to affirm its goodness, we can and should offer our approval as well.

cardinal 969Knowing that the world we live in was made by God we should have a very high opinion of it.  We should hold it in esteem and treat it with great respect.  If we don’t we won’t take the time to experience God in what He has made nor will we do what we’re supposed to when it comes to being good stewards of Creation.

In the second sentence Pope John Paul II directly links admiring Creation with admiring God.  He certainly was not indicating that they are one and the same, but he  realized that in many ways they are inseparable.  When we admire and take delight in Creation we are showing our admiration and delight in the Creator.   And when he points out that “through admiring the visible, we admire the invisible” we are reminded that the God whom we cannot see with our physical eyes has graciously made it possible for us to behold a portion of His glory with our eyes in His Creation.  For this reason, and many others, I concur with John Paul that admiration of God’s Creation is “so necessary.”

–Chuck

(The elk and cardinal images were made this past week here in Pikeville, Kentucky.)