St. Bonaventure, who lived shortly after St. Francis (1181-1226), and John Duns Scotus a little later yet, both observed as intellectuals what St. Francis was seeing and doing intuitively. They saw that he, exactly like Jesus, found the transcendent not “out there” but “in here”—the transcendent was largely revealed at the depth and “inner” of things. Years ago, a dear friend and theologian, Walter Wink, made the strong case that this was what we actually mean by “angels.” Angels are the transcendent within of things. Everything, therefore, has its angel or “messenger”! They make all things “fly,” as it were, and all things are messengers of deeper messages.
What’s happening is inherent, and all things blossom from within and at their depths. Grace is not something you invite into the world as if it’s not already there. This is why a Christian should never have the least trouble with evolution. People only have trouble with it because they believe grace is extrinsic to the universe. Too many evangelical Protestants and conservative Catholics did not learn from Franciscanism. For them, God is doing everything from outside and God’s love is not organic to creation. It is from the depths and the inside that life is generated, as all DNA, every seed, nuclear fusion, and all things born make very clear.
From an unpublished conference recording in Assisi, Italy, May 2012