For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. Philippians 2:13
“Now, therefore, O human, understand and learn. From whence do these things come? What does this mean? It is God Who works in you what is good. How? He has constituted you that, when you act with wisdom and discretion, you feel Him in your reason. For the irrational animal does all its deeds without intellect or wisdom, without discretion or shame; it does not know God, being irrational, though it feels Him, being His creature. But the rational animal, which is Man, has intellect and wisdom, discretion and shame, and does rational deeds, which is the first root fixed by God’s grace in every person given life and soul. These powers flourish where there is a reason, for all of them make people know God, so they may choose what is just. Therefore, the deed that a person embraces in his Savior, the Son of God, through Whom the Father does His works in the Holy Spirit, is productive and perfect and prosperous; and the fiery grace of Christ Jesus calls this to the person’s mind and kindles his enthusiasm anew.”
Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) in Scivias, translated by Columba Hart and Jane Bishop (New York: Paulist, 1990) 384. This classic book title, Scivias, comes from the Latin, Sci vias Domini, meaning “Know the ways of the Lord.”
Hildegard must have loved the outdoors the way she wrote about God’s creatures.
When my son, Sammy, and I go fly fishing, he likes to say that each fish is a “glimpse of God’s extravagance” because of its beauty as a creature made by God and because of its predictable behavior. While fishing or guiding for others, we can locate fish because they do what God made them to do. And the only One enjoying the magnificence of each fish before us was the God who fashioned it. We treat each fish we catch as God’s gift to us, and we release each one as our gift to the next angler.
But we, as humans, are not like the fish (or other creatures). We are rational. We have been given intellect, wisdom, discretion, and shame.
Hildegard reminds us, echoing the Apostle Paul, that when we, as rational humans, do deeds are “productive and perfect and prosperous” it is because God is at work in us, specifically, “the fiery grace of Christ Jesus” is at work in us by the power of the Holy Spirit to do what is good and just and right. Anew an afresh, with enthusiasm, let me urge you today to surrender to the Spirit of God so that “productive and perfect and prosperous” works are wrought in and through you. When you do this, you too will do what you were made to do!
And if you want to see a “glimpse of God’s extravagance” while fly fishing for trout in Colorado, book a day of guided fly fishing with my son, Sammy, and I will tag along at no extra charge should it work in my schedule to join you. Reply to this email promptly as the Sammy’s Fly Shop guiding calendar for June through September 2017 is starting to fill up!Read more