The author of the Book of Revelation, John of Patmos, wrote that in his vision he saw a new heaven and a new earth. He described it as being filled with light, bedecked in jewels, and with living water running through its midst. Though symbolic, the reality he was describing was a place which is perfect. It is where God is and where we will one day be. He said, “God Himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.” (Rev. 21:3-4) This is the reality to which our eyes, and consequently our hearts, will be opened.
The Scriptures are filled with references to the beauty of creation. A cursory browsing of the Psalms will attest to the many praises given to God glorifying Him for all He has made. Though we like to think of the Old Testament as mostly historical and full of laws, it surely is not. There are numerous references and descriptions throughout these Scriptures about the blessing of created things. When the phrase ‘flowing with milk and honey’ was used to describe the Promised Land, for example, the writer was referring to the loveliness and bounty of the land which God had given them. The references are there, but we have to stop and ponder them to truly appreciate the love and reverence for the earth that the writers possessed and therefore desired to impart.
©Michele L. Catanese
The first image is The Holy Spirit The Lord and Giver of Life The Paraclete Sender of Peace by Fr. William Hart McNichols. If you peruse Fr. Bill's website you will see many icons with God's hand coming from above. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this one, it can be purchased as a card, plaque, or other format, at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-holy-spirit-the-lord-the-giver-of-life-the-paraclete-sender-of-peace-093-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
Next is an image of the Earth as taken from space. I love every image of the earth from space; it is home sweet home, but there will be better in the next life! If you want to see some fabulous photos, check out this wonderful article and photos: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150721-pictures-earth-nasa-dscovr-spacex-space-science/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_fb20150722news-earthpicsnasa&utm_campaign=Content&sf11219650=1
Next is a painting called St. Paul and St. Barnabas in Listri by Simone Peterzano (1572-73). It shows Paul and Barnabas in Lystra struggling with the crowds who mistakenly thought they were the gods Mercury and Zeus after a particularly powerful speech by Paul. Chaos ensued when some angry folks from Antioch and Iconium showed up. (See Acts 14:8-19)
The next three photos are my own, taken in Rockport, TX. Overall, I had in mind the Canticle of Daniel (Dan 3:52-90). The first photo of a chicken represents the bounty of the land. "Everything growing on the earth, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever." (Dan 3:76)
The next photo is of three dolphins. Part of this trio was a mother and her baby. "You sea monsters and all water creatures, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all forever." (Dan 3:79)
The last photo is a lone seagull seeming to float over the water. "All birds of the air, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever." (Dan 3:80)
Last is an image, the Viriditas Triptych, part of a larger work called Viriditas - Finding God in All Things by Fr. William Hart McNichols. These are his words: "This is the center panel of the full image, Viriditas at Loyola Chicago University. If you look at nature closely in the early spring, all green things begin with red (wounds) buds, shoots, and branches. Then they flower into green and abundant colors of infinite life. The leaves, vibrant rocks and stones are living examples of how nature praises the Creator. Earth's atmosphere, usually a thin line of blue is, in this version green, with the life of the Holy Spirit. Twelve tongues of the Spirit's flames hover round the World as in a New Pentecost which St John the XXIII and St John Paul II prophesied for the 21st Century." It can be found at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/viriditas-triptych-william-hart-mcnichols.html. As noted above, you can go to the link and purchase the triptych or the entire work, Viriditas, as a plaque, card, or in another format.