The Book of Nature

In God Loves Mountains, reference was made to the “Book of Nature.” Brother Francis, in his profound little volume, The Challenge of Faith, has the following meditations on that subject under the heading, “The Book of Nature.” These products of a truly contemplative mind are truly worthy of being savored.

  1. The whole world was created for man: very little of it for his use, and all of it for his instruction.
  1. Jesus, the Eternal Word through whom all things were made, taught in parables; that is, pointed to the wisdom that was hidden in things from the foundation of the world.
  1. Nature is God’s art, meant to lead us to contemplation. Human art presupposes and imitates nature. Some art aims at utility; all art aims at contemplation.
  1. Things closer to us, being more intimate and more familiar, (like salt and the mustard seed), are not less objects of contemplation for being also useful. Some values can be taught only by things utterly useless, like the stars.
  1. Flowers are reflections of eternal beauties on the flux of time. Different flowers, by something innate to each, suggest different values (love, sadness, modesty, purity, aspiration, etc.). Trees teach us the beauty of life and of growth, and specific trees seem to be incarnation of human feelings and human ideals. The mountains are teachers, and so are the rivers and the seas; so are the days and the nights, and the seasons; so are birth, sickness and death . . .
  1. Even ordinary household objects are our teachers; are also fitting objects for our contemplation. Doors teach us courtesy, patience, hospitality; clothes teach us modesty, purity, elegance, dignity, consecration; tools teach us poverty. Work days teach us joy and dedication; feast days teach us joy and devotion.
  1. One grain of sand could teach us the mystery of creation, of existence, of purpose, indeed the secret of the universe.