"Most pictures or statues of people honouring God or the Holy Spirit or pleading for grace show humans looking upward with their hands raised--the assumption being that God is "up there." In the great basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, where Francis is buried, there is a small bronze statue of Francis honouring the Holy Spirit. Francis' posture here is very unusual. Instead of arms uplifted and looking toward the sky, Francis has his hands folded and is looking down into the earth."
....................."The Hiding Place Is Also the Revelation Place of God " an article by Richard Rohr
Fr. Richard Rohr is a contemporary Franciscan mystic and Catholic theologian who has a deep insight into spirituality. In the same article I have referred above, he also writes:
"Two other followers of St. Francis of Assisi, Bonaventure and Duns Scotus, realized that Francis found the Transcendent not just "out there" in the heavens somewhere, but "in here." And they made it into an intellectually satisfying philosophy and theology, so it could move beyond pious sentiment. Together they saw the Transcendent within all of creation. This insight changes everything!"
To me this not an approach steeped in pantheism but a realization of the nature of fundamental implicate order from which all manifestations take place. In pantheism, one tends to objectify the elements of nature and then deify them. In the approach adopted by St. Francis, it is the common essence of both the creator and creations that is venerated. This I would call "Unqualified Monotheism" or as in Vedic theology it can be equated to "Nirguna Brahman".
This is a non-Kantian cosmotheological holistic understanding. This is also radically different from the Stoic theological definition of Cosmo-theology.
If God creates everything out of nothing then that nothing is itself God from which everything proceeds. For if God is something other than nothing then there comes into existence a duality and a great divide comes into play between the implicate nature of the Divine and the explicate nature of creation. This has been the great curse of monotheism wherein we have fossilized God with entirely unfathomable attributes and all mystical experiences are assigned to the benevolent nature of the Divine who dispenses Grace in a purely judgemental way. Fr. Richard Rohr's take on the nature of Divine grace is that it is infused and inherent in all creation.
Meister Eckhart, the Dominican mystic, has quoted St. Augustine regarding defining the ineffable nature of God in the following words:
"...... Whence do I know this, except because God is ineffable? If what I said were ineffable, it would not be said. And for this reason God should not be said to be ineffable, for when this is said something is said. And a contradiction in terms is created, since if that is ineffable which cannot be spoken, then that is not ineffable which can be called ineffable. This contradiction is to be passed over in silence rather than resolved verbally." (italics by the author) .............St. Augustine
We have spent nearly two millennia in trying to intellectually grasp the nature of the Divine and come to the realization, as the great Church father Augustine puts it, that which is ineffable can only be experienced in holy silence.
I would like us now turn to science and one of the founding fathers of Quantum physics says:
" In the enfolded [or implicate] order, space and time are no longer the dominant factors determining the relationships of dependence or independence of different elements. Rather, an entirely different sort of basic connection of elements is possible, from which our ordinary notions of space and time, along with those of separately existent material particles, are abstracted as forms derived from the deeper order. These ordinary notions in fact appear in what is called the "explicate" or "unfolded" order, which is a special and distinguished form contained within the general totality of all the "implicate" orders" ...........David Bohm (1980)
Cosmology points out that all matter on earth comes from a supernova explosion and the atoms in our bodies are from the very beginning of the universe when the first hydrogen atoms were synthesized.
96% of the universe is beyond our comprehension and to unite all forces of nature we require eleven dimensions while we are trapped in the four dimensional space-time.
This limited perception of ourselves and the world around us has contributed our anthropomorphic visualization of God or the motive force behind creation and manifestation, with its debilitating consequences.
God is constantly revealed through the beauty and mysteries our own body and that is available to us in nature and the cosmos. I had a personal experience once when travelling in the Australian outback in a open four wheel drive. It was 8.00 p. m and the night sky in the desert was awash with millions of stars and the great arch of the Milky Way rose from the horizon to the very vault of heaven and sure that was a very spiritual and mystical experience.
Let us like St. Francis look down into the mother earth, in silent prayer of gratitude, wherein she is constantly birthing Divine grace to nourish us and look up at the night sky and sing with the psalmist
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." ......Psalm 19:1
Let me finish this article with a thought provoking quote:
" Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature. Unaware that this Nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshiping." ..............Hubert Reeves
Love to you all