When the church in Corinth was disturbed by factions, St. Clement, one of the earliest popes, wrote the Corinthians a gentle but firm letter reminding them that Christians should live together in peace and submission to the will of God. All of creation, he says, peacefully obeys God’s law, and we should learn peace and obedience from nature.
The heavens turn, ruled by the Lord, and are peacefully subject to him. Day and night run along the tracks he made for them, never getting in each other’s way. The sun and moon, and the legions of stars, roll on in harmony by his command, in their own prescribed limits, never deviating from them.
The fruitful earth, by his will, brings forth food in abundance, at the proper seasons, for humans and animals and everything that lives on it—never hesitating, never changing any of the laws he has fixed. The unsearchable abysses and the indescribable plan of the lower world are kept in their bounds by the same laws.
The vast immeasurable sea, gathered together by his work into the different basins, never passes beyond the bounds set around it, but does what he commanded it to do. For he said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed” (Job 38:11). The ocean, which no man can cross, and the worlds beyond it are regulated by the same divine legislation.
The seasons peacefully make way for one another.
The winds from all directions serve without hindrance at their proper times.
The ever-flowing springs, made for our enjoyment and our health, give their breasts for our life without fail.
The very smallest creatures meet together in peace and good order.
The great Creator and Lord of all has appointed all these things to exist in peace and harmony. And he does good to all, but most generously to those who have fled for refuge to his compassion through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory and majesty forever. Amen. –St. Clement, 1 Corinthians, 20
Do I move in harmony with God’s law, or am I standing in the way of what God wants?
Am I listening to what God wants to teach me through the natural world?
Father, I thank you for everything beautiful in the world, and for all the happiness you give me: for the light of the sun, and the light of your Word; for the earth and all its people; and for the life you have given me to enjoy.
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