by Sr. Joan Jurski, OSF
Welcome Spring, welcome May, a month that sprouts forth a natural beauty in so many forms. The poet, Gerard Manly Hopkins wrote, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” And so, it is. St. Francis of Assisi definitely praised the grandeur of God. He saw the physical world with his heart, whose inner eye transformed the world into the living body of Christ. For him, everything was charged with the grandeur of God. Even in his final days when blindness overtook him he viewed the world solely from within, a world still radiant with the splendor of God. He expressed this splendor in the grandeur of Brother Sun, Sister Moon and Sister Earth in his poem,” The Canticle of the Creatures.” Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs.
Today we cringe in a world suffering many things, hatred, war, needless killings, a natural world being decimated by climate change. The world seems far from grandeur if we let that happen. The beauty the world offers us grandeur in so many ways. We need to take time to look. What we appreciate we should want to preserve. We only need to look at a yellow daisy, a flaming dogwood, a bubbling brook, listen to a morning song of a bird to experience beauty. The song of the divine surrounds us. If we are distracted with overly busy lives we will miss the miracle of creation. Slowing down is good for our physical and mental health.
Some suggestions in slowing down thus assisting us to see beauty in creation can be part of our everyday lives. Do we take time to take a quiet stroll outside? Do we take some time each day to sit quietly and whisper a prayer? How about reading poetry? Poetry, yes! When was the last time you sat and read a poem? Many poems help us to appreciate the beauty of creation, especially spring and summer. Mary Oliver, American poet, born in Ohio wrote profusely about nature. One of her poems entitled PRAYING follows.
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones: just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
Today why not try looking for an iris or small stones!
What few words will you say?