The theme of the 5th Annual St. Francis Canticle Award Ceremony for children and schools, organized by the Franciscan Institute, was “Listen to the Voice of Creation.”
What is meant by “Listen to the Voice of Creation?”
Listening is used as a metaphor for awareness. The voice is a metaphor for communicating messages about situations in life. In this instance, creation (people and the earth) communicates a message about what’s happening to it.
Where does creation receive its “voice” to communicate? Let us draw insights from the Book of Wisdom. There, wisdom is defined as a spiritual being who is the soul pervading creation. For within her [wisdom] is a spirit of intelligent, holy . . .penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits. . . she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things” (Wisdom 7: 22-23)
Wisdom is also described as the Breath of God. “She is a breath of the power of God. . .” (Wisdom 7: 25).
Wisdom is also present in the human spirit. “In each generation, she passes into holy souls. . .” (Wisdom 7: 27b).
Wisdom is understood as the Divine implanted in the soul or heart of creation. Consequently, creation has the capacity to manifest divine-inspired activities in its own unique ways whether through the loving works of human activity, the internal dynamics of hurricanes or a black hole, or the action of a bee collecting nectar from a plant.
Creation’s voice is manifested in its divine-inspired activities. It also “speaks” in those moments when it is prevented from manifesting Divine activities. For example, one of the displays at the St. Francis Canticle Award Ceremony was a piece called the “Withering Bush”. It’s a sculpture of a plant made of plastic. One side has dark “leaves” representing deforestation, and the other side has green “leaves” representing life.
Clearly, the students attempt to portray the voice of creation through art. Metaphorically, creation cries out because humans are preventing it from fulfilling its divine purpose. That ability to cry out or communicate lies in the power of the Spirit pervading creation.
Hence, one component of the synodal journey is “listening to the voice of creation.”
“From the beginning till now the entire creation. . . has been groaning in one great act of giving birth . . .” (Romans 8:22c-23a).