Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
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The Ecology of Saints and Blesseds
Catholics conserving nature and protecting life.™
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of
silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the
sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.
+ “Willing Slaves to the Will of God,” A Gift for God (1975)
SUFFERING TODAY is because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. Jesus made it very
clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. Give a glass of water, you
give it to me. Receive a little child, you receive me. Clear.
IF A MOTHER can kill her own child, then what is left of the West to be destroyed?
+ Time Magazine's 1989 Interview Conducted by Edward W. Desmond.
Pope Saint Clement
The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians (Circa 97)
The heavens, revolving under His government, are subject to Him in peace. Day and night run the
course appointed by Him, in no wise hindering each other. The sun and moon, with the companies
of the stars, roll on in harmony according to His command, within their prescribed limits, and
without any deviation. The fruitful earth, according to His will, brings forth food in abundance, at
the proper seasons, for man and beast and all the living beings upon it, never hesitating, nor
changing any of the ordinances which He has fixed. The unsearchable places of abysses, and the
indescribable arrangements of the lower world, are restrained by the same laws. The vast
unmeasurable sea, gathered together by His working into various basins,
never passes beyond the
bounds placed around it, but does as He has commanded. For He said, "Thus far shalt thou come,
and thy waves shall be broken within thee." The ocean, impassible to man, and the worlds beyond
it, are regulated by the same enactments of the Lord. The seasons of spring, summer, autumn,
and winter, peacefully give place to one another. The winds in their several quarters
fulfil, at the
proper time, their service without hindrance. The ever-flowing fountains, formed both for
enjoyment and health, furnish without fail their breasts for the life of men. The very smallest of
living beings meet together in peace and concord. All these the great Creator and Lord of all has
appointed to exist in peace and harmony; while He does good to all, but most abundantly to us
who have fled for refuge to His compassions through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory and
majesty for ever and ever. Amen.
+ Chapter XX.-The Peace and Harmony of the Universe
Saint Ignatius of Antioch (Circa 107)
IF ANYONE confesses the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and praises the creation, but calls the
Incarnation merely an appearance, and is ashamed of the Passion, such a one has denied the faith.
LET ME BE food for wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am Jesus Christ's wheat. I must
therefore be ground and broken by the teeth of wild beasts that I may become His pure and
St. Justin (Circa 100-165)
GOD DELAYS causing the confusion and destruction of the whole world...because of the seed of
the Christians, who know that they are the cause of preservation in nature.
+ The Second Apology of Justin, Chapter VII
THE GOD OF the Christians is not circumscribed by place; but being invisible, fills heaven and
earth, and everywhere is worshipped and glorified by the faithful.
Saint Irenaeus (Circa 129-203)
FOR EVEN CREATION reveals Him who formed it, and the very work made suggests Him Who
made it, and the world manifests Him Who ordered it. The Universal Church, moreover, through
the whole world, has received this understanding from the Apostles themselves.
FOR THE CREATOR of the world is truly the Word of God: and this is our Lord, who in the last
times was made man, existing in this world, and who in an invisible manner contains all things
created, and is inherent in the entire creation, since the Word of God governs and arranges all
things; and therefore He came to His own in a visible manner, and was made flesh, and hung upon
the tree, that He might sum up all things in Himself.
WE ARE ALSO NOURISHED by means of the creation (and He Himself grants the creation to us, for
He causes His sun to rise, and sends rain when He wills). He has acknowledged the cup (which is a
part of the creation) as His own blood, from which He bedews our blood; and the bread (also a
part of the creation) He has established as His own body, from which He gives increase to our
GOD HAS created the world with his two hands, the Son and the Spirit.
THE GLORY OF GOD gives life; those who see God receive life. Men will therefore see God if they
are to live; through the vision of God they become immortal and attain to God himself.
God is the source of all activity throughout creation. He cannot be seen or described in his own
nature and in all his greatness by any of his creatures. Yet he is certainly not unknown. Through
his Word the whole creation learns that there is one God the Father, who holds all things together
and gives them their being. As it is written in the Gospel, "No man has ever seen God, except the
only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father; he has revealed him."
From the beginning the Son is the one who teaches us about the Father; he is with the Father
from the beginning.
The Word revealed God to men and presented men to God. Life in man is the glory of God; the life
of man is the vision of God. If the revelation of God through creation gives life to all who live upon
the earth, much more does the manifestation of the Father through the Word give life to those
who see God.
+ Against the Heresies, circa 180-185
BUT SINCE CREATED THINGS are various and numerous, they are indeed well fitted and adapted
to the whole creation; yet, when viewed individually, are mutually opposite and inharmonious, just
as the sound of the lyre, which consists of many and opposite notes, gives rise to one unbroken
melody, through means of the interval which separates each one from the others. The lover of
truth therefore ought not to be deceived by the interval between each note, nor should he imagine
that one was due to one artist and author, and another to another, nor that one person fitted the
treble, another the bass, and yet another the tenor strings; but he should hold that one and the
same person [formed the whole], so as to prove the judgement, goodness, and skill exhibited in
the whole work and [specimen of] wisdom. Those, too, who listen to the melody, ought to praise
and extol the artist, to admire the tension of some notes, to attend to the softness of others, to
catch the sound of others between both these extremes, and to consider the special character of
others, so as to inquire at what each one aims, and what is the cause of their variety, never failing
to apply our rule, neither giving up the artist, nor casting off faith in the one God who formed all
things, nor blaspheming our Creator.
+ Against the Heresies, Book II
Saint Hermas (Circa 160)
He showed me again many trees, some budding, and others withered. And he said to me, "Do you
see these trees? " "I see, sir," I replied, "some putting forth buds, and others withered." "Those,"
he said, "which are budding are the righteous who are to live in the world to come; for the coming
world is the summer of the righteous, but the winter of sinners."
+ Pastor of Hermas
Saint Theophilus of Antioch (Circa 115-168-181)
HE IS LORD, because He rules over the universe; Father, because he is before all things; Fashioner
and Maker, because He is creator and maker of the universe; the Highest, because of His being
above all; and Almighty, because He Himself rules and embraces all. For the heights of heaven,
and the depths of the abysses, and the ends of the earth, are in His hand, and there is no place of
His rest. For the heavens are His work, the earth is His creation, the sea is His handiwork; man is
His formation and His image; sun, moon, and stars are His elements, made for...seasons, and
days, and years, that they may serve and be slaves to man; and all things God has made out of
things that were not into things that are, in order that through His works His greatness may be
known and understood.
CONSIDER HIS WORKS, the timely rotation of the seasons, and the changes of temperature; the
regular march of the stars; the well-ordered course of days and nights, and months, and years;
the various beauty of seeds, and plants, and fruits; and the divers species
of quadrupeds, and
birds, and reptiles, and fishes, both of the rivers and of the sea; or consider the instinct implanted
in these animals to beget and rear offspring, not for their own profit, but for the use of man; and
the providence with which God provides nourishment for all flesh, or the subjection in which He
has ordained that all things subserve mankind. Consider, too, the flowing of sweet fountains and
never-failing rivers, and the seasonable supply of dews, and showers, and rains; the manifold
movement of the heavenly bodies, the morning star rising and heralding the approach of the
perfect luminary; and the constellation of Pleiades, and Orion, and Arcturus, and the orbit of the
other stars that circle through the heavens, all of which the manifold wisdom of God has called by
names of their own. He is God alone who made light out of darkness, and brought forth light from
Clement of Alexandria (Circa 153-193-217)
HUMAN ART produces houses, and ships, and cities, and pictures. But how shall I tell what God
makes? Behold the whole universe; it is His work: and the heaven, and the sun, and angels, and
men, are the works of His fingers. How great is the power of God! His bare volition was the
creation of the universe. For God alone made it, because He alone is truly God. By the bare
exercise of volition He creates; His mere willing was followed by the springing into being of what
He willed. Consequently the choir of philosophers are in error, who indeed most nobly confess that
man was made for the contemplation of the heavens, but who worship the objects that appear in
the heavens and are apprehended by sight. For if the heavenly bodies are not the works of men,
they were certainly created for man. Let none of you worship the sun, but set his desires on the
Maker of the sun; nor deify the universe, but seek after the Creator of the universe. The only
refuge, then, which remains for him who would reach the portals of salvation is divine wisdom.
FOR IF WE HAVE as our teacher Him that filled the universe with His holy energies in creation,
salvation, beneficence, legislation, prophecy, teaching, we have the Teacher from whom all
instruction comes; and the whole world...has already become the domain of the Word.
THE DELIGHT derived from flowers, and the benefit derived from ointments and perfumes, are not
to be overlooked.
Saint Anthony of Egypt, Father of Monasticism (Circa 251-356)
MY BOOK, philosopher, is the nature of created things, and as often as I have a mind to read the
works of God, it is at my hands.
+ Quoted in The Greening of the Church, Sean McDonagh, 1990, Maryknoll: Orbis Books
Saint Athanasius (296-373)
THE FIRMAMENT, through its magnificence, beauty and order, is a prestigious preacher of its
author, whose eloquence fills the universe.
(PG 27, 124)
THE CREATURES are like letters proclaiming in loud voices to their Divine Master and Creator the
harmony and order of things.
THE FATHER creates and renews everything through the Word in the Spirit.... All creation
participates in the Word in the Spirit.
+ Letter to Serpion
IT IS, THEN, proper for us to begin...by speaking of the creation of the Universe, and of God its
Artificer, that so it may be duly perceived that the renewal of Creation has been the work of the
self-same Word that made it at the beginning.
DIVERSITY of bodies and parts argues a creating intellect.
THE WORD, then, visited that earth in which He was yet always present; and saw all these evils.
He takes a body of our Nature, and that of a spotless Virgin, in whose womb He makes it His own,
wherein to reveal Himself, conquer death, and restore life. For this purpose, then, the incorporeal
and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God comes to our realm, although he was not far from
us before. For no part of Creation is left void of Him: He has filled all things everywhere, remaining
present with His own Father. But He comes in condescension to show loving-kindness upon us, and
to visit us.
FOR THOUGH man was created in grace, God, foreseeing his forgetfulness, provided also the
works of Creation to remind man of Him... For whereas the grace of the Divine Image was in itself
sufficient to make known God the Word, and through Him the Father; still God, knowing the
weakness of man, made provision even for their carelessness: so that if they cared not to know
God of themselves, they might be enabled through the works of Creation to avoid ignorance of the
SO IT WAS open to them, by looking into the height of heaven, and perceiving the harmony of
Creation, to know its Ruler, the Word of the Father, Who, by His own Providence over all things,
makes known the Father to all, and to this end moves all things, that through Him all may know
MAN, UNMOVED by Nature, was to be taught to know God by that sacred Manhood, Whose deity
all Nature confessed, especially in His Death. But all this it seemed well for the Savior to do; that
since men had failed to know His Providence revealed in the Universe, and had failed to perceive
His Godhead shown in Creation, they might at any rate from the works of His body recover their
sight, and through Him receive an idea of the knowledge of the Father, inferring, as I said before,
from particular cases His Providence over the whole.
+ ON THE INCARNATION OF THE WORD
THE CROSS has been not a disaster, but a healing of Creation.
FOR THOUGH THE body has eyes so as to see Creation, and by its entirely harmonious
construction to recognize the Creator; and ears to listen to the divine oracles and the laws of God;
and hands both to perform works of necessity and to raise to God in prayer; yet the soul,
departing from the contemplation of what is good and from moving in its sphere, wanders away
and moves toward its contraries... And so, instead of beholding the Creation, she turns the eye to
lusts, showing that she has this power too; and thinking that by the mere fact of moving she is
maintaining her own dignity, and is doing no sin in doing as she pleases; not knowing that she is
made not merely to move, but to move in the right direction... Evil, then, consists essentially in
the choice of what is lower in preference to what is higher.
+ AGAINST THE HEATHEN
Saint Ephraim the Syrian (Ephrem, Ephraem) (306-373)
THIRTY YEARS He [Jesus] went in poverty upon the earth! The sounds of praise in all their
measures let us twine, my brethren, to the years of the Lord, as thirty crowns to the thirty years.
Blessed be His Birth!
In the first year, that is chieftain over the treasures and Dispenser of abundant blessings, let the
Cherubim who bare up the Son in glory, praise Him with us!...
In the fourth year, let the whole earth praise Him with us. It is but small for the Son, and it
marveled because it saw that it entertained Him in its bed that is so very mean. He filled the bed,
and filled the Heaven. To Him be Majesty!...
In the fifth year, the Sun shone unto the earth. With its breath let it praise our Sun Who brought
His breadth down low, and humbled His mightiness, that the subtle eye of the unseen soul might
be able to look upon Him. Blessed be His brightness!...
In the sixth year again, let the whole air praise Him with us, in whose wide space it is that all
things are made glorious, which saw its mighty Lord that had become a little Child in a little
bosom. Blessed be His dignity!
In the seventh year, the clouds and winds rejoiced with us and sprinkled the dews over the
flowers, for they saw the Son who enslaved His brightness and received disgrace and foul spitting.
Blessed be His Redemption!
In the year also that is eighth, let the fields give praise, that suckle their fruits from His fountains.
They worshipped because they saw the Son in arms and the pure One sucking pure milk. Blessed
be His good pleasure!
In the ninth year, let the earth glorify the might of her Creator, Who laid seed in her in the
beginning that she might bring forth all her produce; for it saw Mary, a thirsty land, who yielded
the fruit of a Child that was a wonder, yea, a marvel. [Then] it praised Him more exceedingly, for
that He was a great Sea of all good things. To Him be exaltation!
In the tenth year, let the mount Sinai glorify Him, it which trembled before its Lord. It saw that
they took up stones against its Lord; He received stones, Who should build His Church upon a
Stone. Blessed be His building!
In the eleventh year, let the great sea praise the fists of the Son that measured it, and it was
astonished and saw that He came down, was baptised in a small water, and cleansed the
creatures. Blessed be His noble act!...
In the sixteenth year, let the wheat praise by its type that Husbandman, Who sowed His Body in
the barren earth, since it covers all, spreads itself out and yields new Bread. Blessed be the Pure
In the year that is thirtieth, let the dead praise Him with us, because they are quickened, and the
living, because they have turned to repentance, because height and depth were set at one by Him.
Blessed be He and His Father!
FOR SEE HOW, when He was wholly hanging upon the Cross, His Power was yet making all
creatures move! For He darkened the sun and made the earth quake; He rent the graves and
brought forth the dead! See how when He was wholly on the Cross, yet again He was wholly
Thus was He entirely in the womb, while He was again wholly in everything!... For while His Power
was dwelling in the womb, He was fashioning infants in the womb! His Power compassed her, that
compassed Him. For if He drew in His Power, all things would fall; His Power upholds all things;
while He was within the womb, He left not His hold of all. He in His own Person shaped an Image
in the womb, and was shaping in all wombs all countenances.
Whilst He was increasing in stature among the poor, from an abundant treasury He was nourishing
all! While she that anointed Him was anointing Him, with His dew and His rain He was anointing
The Magi brought myrrh and gold, while in Him was hidden a treasure of riches. The myrrh and
spices which He had prepared and created, did the Magi bring Him of His own.
It was by Power from Him that Mary was able to bear in Her bosom Him that bears up all things! It
was from the great storehouse of all creatures, Mary gave Him all which she did give Him! She
gave Him milk from Himself that prepared it, she gave Him food from Himself that made it!...
The sea when it bore Him was still and calmed, and how came the lap of Joseph to bear Him? For
every creature whether above or below obtains each his measure of knowledge; He the Lord of all
gives all to us...
He made the water wine as Maker: and yet he drank of it as a poor man...
By power from Him did Simeon carry Him; he that presented Him, was by Him presented [to God].
He gave imposition of hands to Moses in the Mount, and received it in the midst of the river from
John. In the power of His gifts John was enabled to baptize, though earthy, the heavenly. By power
from Him the earth supported Him: it was nigh to being dissolved, and His might strengthened it.
Martha gave Him to eat: viands which He had created she placed before Him. Of His own all that
give have made their vows: of His own treasures they placed upon His table.
LONG YE FOR my Well-beloved, that He may dwell in you; and ye also that are impure that He
may sanctify you! ye Churches also, that the Son of the Creator Who came to renew all creatures,
may adorn you! He received the foolish who worshipped and served all the stars; He renewed the
earth which was worn out through Adam, who sinned and waxed old. The new formation was the
creature of its Renewer, and the all-sufficient One repaired the bodies along with their wills.
THE WHOLE CREATION became for Him as one mouth and cried out concerning Him.
+ NINETEEN HYMNS ON THE NATIVITY OF CHRIST IN THE FLESH.
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386)
AND WHY DID he call the grace of the Spirit water? Because by water all things subsist; because
water brings forth grass and living things; because the water of the showers comes down from
heaven; because it comes down one in form, but works in many forms. For one fountain watereth
the whole of Paradise, and one and the same rain comes down upon all the world, yet it becomes
white in the lily, and red in the rose, and purple in violets and hyacinths, and different and varied
in each several kind... Thus also the Holy Ghost, being one, and of one nature, and indivisible,
divides to each his grace, according as he will: and as the dry tree, after partaking of water, puts
forth shoots, so also the soul in sin, when it has been through repentance made worthy of the Holy
Ghost, brings forth clusters of righteousness.
+ Lecture XVI, as found on Christian Classic Ethereal Library server at Wheaton College
BUT HE WAS crucified not for sins of His own, but that we might be delivered from our sins. And
though as Man He was at that time despised of men, and was buffeted, yet He was acknowledged
by the Creation as God: for when the sun saw his Lord dishonored, he grew dim and trembled, not
enduring the sight.
+ LECTURE IV, ON THE TEN POINTS OF DOCTRINE.
THE DIVINE NATURE then it is impossible to see with eyes of flesh: but from the works, which are
Divine, it is possible to attain to some conception of His power, according to Solomon, who says,
For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionally the Maker of them is seen. He said
not that from the creatures the Maker is seen, but added proportionally. For God appears the
greater to every man in proportion as he has grasped a larger survey of the creatures: and when
his heart is uplifted by that larger survey, he gains withal a greater conception of God.
+ LECTURE IX. ON THE WORDS, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, AND OF ALL THINGS VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE.
AT WHAT SEASON does the Savior rise? Is it the season of summer, or some other?... The winter
is past, the rain is past and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the pruning is
come. Is not then the earth full of flowers now, and are they not pruning the vines?... It is already
spring... This is the season of the creation of the world: for then God said, Let the earth bring
forth herbage of grass, yielding seed after his kind and after his likeness. And now, as thou seest,
already every herb is yielding seed. And as at that time God made the sun and moon and gave
them courses of equal day (and night), so also a few days since was the season of the equinox. At
that time God said, Let us make man after our image and after our likeness. And the image he
received, but the likeness through his disobedience he obscured. At the same season then in which
he lost this the restoration also took place. At the same season as the created man through
disobedience was cast out of Paradise, he who believed was through obedience brought in. Our
Salvation then took place at the same season as the Fall: when the flowers appeared, and the
pruning was come. A garden was the place of His Burial, and a vine that which was planted there:
and He hath said, I am the vine! He was planted therefore in the earth in order that the curse
which came because of Adam might be rooted out. The earth was condemned to thorns and
thistles: the true Vine sprang up out of the earth, that the saying might be fulfilled, Truth sprang
up out of the earth, and righteousness looked down from heaven.
+ LECTURE XIV.
Saint Gregory Nazianzen (328-389)
YOU, [FATHER], have created the universe, giving each thing its corresponding place and
sustaining it by the power of your providence... Your Word is God the Son. He is, in fact,
consubstantial with the Father, equal to him in honor. He has reconciled the universe harmoniously,
to rule over all things. Embracing all things, the Holy Spirit, God, cares for and protects all things.
I will proclaim you, living Trinity, the one and only monarch...the unshakable force that rules the
heavens, whose face is inaccessible to the eye but who contemplates the whole universe and
knows all the secret depths of the earth down to its abysses. O Father, be kind to me...may I find
mercy and grace, because to you are glory and grace forever.
+ Carme 31, in Poesie/1, Rome, 1994, p. 65-66.
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