A father of a family went to our Catholic campus library one day, looking for books on how to see God in nature.
He didn’t really find what he was looking for. There was a book that I was able to recommend to him, Inheriting Paradise: Meditations on gardening, by the Armenian Orthodox Catholic, Vigen Guroian. The connections in there really help to draw one closer to living scripture and church liturgy.
But I kept thinking, wondering, where had I learned how to see God in nature around me -did any particular books lead me to see what I am beginning to know now?
The more I looked and thought and mulled, mostly as I sat in my outdoor morning coffee nook, or out across the green garden bed, snippets of poetry and scripture kept coming to my head.
“I see his blood upon the rose,
And in the stars the glory of his eyes…
His crown is every thorn,
His cross is every tree.”~Joseph Mary Plunkett
This morning, looking at an ancient eastern redbud leaning over Loyola’s old stone steps, I saw that much of the tree was still alive, covered in spade-shaped leaves. Yet some of his large branches were quite dead, no longer fed by the life-giving trunk. This called to mind simultaneously, the grape vines in Dad’s garden and
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.”John 15:5
That lead to further contemplation.
If the source of our inner life is not that of the King of Kings, then eventually all that flows from us will eventually wither, like those dead, cut-off limbs. But if we are open, content to be acted upon by the Divine Gardner’s will, then in due time we shall bear fruit, fruit that will never wither with time and that will last into Eternity.
Later, I went back to my room, and pulled out my old sketchbooks and nature journal to see if there was anything within to use for this post, and you know what I found, what struck me the most?
If first one wishes to see God in his creation,
- One must know creation.
- One must know God, the source of creation.
It is first in knowing that loving begins. (For example, you won’t love chocolate ice cream if you’ve never tasted it, or anything chocolate for that matter!)
How do you get to know something better? Make time for it. Read about it. Ask about it. Slow down for it.
Where can we know God? The Holy Bible and Liturgy is a great way to start, and any good reading. And sometimes spending time in His Presence before the Blessed Sacrament reveals more than any book could.
Where can we learn more about creation? It really depends upon how you learn. But spending time in it and working with it are the key ingredients.
You may first have to go through learning to love nature and creation on a natural level, getting to know it, without worrying about incorporating the supernatural.
As a society we really have lost a connection with the natural world around us.
As you spend more time out there in the garden, in the woods, or even just sitting, nothing things on your front porch, or sitting under the tree with the baby, you’ll begin to see and wonder.
Maybe you’ll see the following:
- Do we know that trees are like people, young, gangling saplings -little discipline in their ways? Or great gnarled, massive swirling men, weathered by many years?
- Have we seen the order of bees? The design in each of their hidden activities?
- Do we see how the morning dove flies, pumping the air with vigorous strokes, in order to keep afloat?
- Have we slowed down enough to see the starlings and robins building their nest one or two long grasses and twigs at a time?
If we watch long enough, if we read the word of God enough, then certain phrases will begin to stick, phrases such as
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?Matthew 6:26
If we patiently prune about the plants after the flowers have gone, we might even thing back to John 15:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.
Remain in me, as I in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.John 15: 1-4
As we spend more time observing creation, and exposing ourself to the Word of God, then we will begin to make connections.
Maybe with each connection we will see it as the fingerprint of our God.
And when we see God in each little bit of daily life, than we will, as a Adam did in, “walk with him” in the garden of this earth, and in the garden of our souls.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed this longish reflection. If you have any books or stories to recommend on this topic, please let me know!
I’d be honored if you like, follow or share this with others! Thanks so much for your time and attention; hope this helps you spend some time with Our Creator today!
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