O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.
Today’s O Antiphon draws on the ancient name for God found throughout the Hebrew Bible: Sapientia (Latin), Sophia (Greek), Hochma (Hebrew), Wisdom. This symbol of divine immanence calls to mind a God who is not remote and far away nor a Creator God that is disinterested in the everyday reality of the creation brought into existence, but a God who so loves that which is created that God draws near to it.
In addition to creating everything ex nihilo (“from nothing”) as the Christian tradition has asserted for centuries, we also believe that God creates in a manner known as creatio continua (“ongoing” or “continual creation”). In other words, creation is not a one-time act of an absent God, but an unfolding reality of every moment in which God is actively involved and invested. Another way to talk about this is to talk about this is to talk about being sustained in every moment of existence by God.
It is God who “governs all creation” and not us. This truth has been frequently forgotten and overlooked by humanity in our self-centered quest for dominance over the rest of creation. Even improvements on the outlook that says we should not act with such ruthless and reckless sovereignty over the rest of creation but instead be good “stewards” of it, nevertheless fall short of the theological, scriptural, and even scientific truth toward which today’s O Antiphon points us. Namely, that it is God who governs all of creation and not us. It is God who “gardens,” “tends,” or even “stewards” the creation loved into reality. And that we human beings are one part of creation like everything else that is.
Kinship is at the heart of creation, a familial bond that always already exists in the way the cycle of life in this universe unfolds daily and for aeons. We cannot survive by ourselves, provide nourishment for ourselves, even breathe for ourselves without the aid of our sister and brother creatures: plants and animals, algae and non-sentient creation and so on. We are interdependent and interrelated, whether we are conscious of it or not. We are part of a community, a family of creation.
Today’s O Antiphon invites us to reflect on what place we have in the creation that God governs with both strength and tenderness, love and concern. When we pray that Christ “come and show your people the way to salvation,” we are to recall that salvation is not just for the homo sapiens, but for all creation (e.g. Romans 8, etc). May we recall that the Word of God, the Wisdom of God of and to whom we speak today, became sarx (“flesh”), which includes a tie to all creation and not humanity alone.
The joy of the “reason for the season” is not limited to our species alone. It is indeed a cosmic celebration of a God who not only loves and governs from afar, but draws near to us to become part of that very creation to show us the way to salvation.