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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday Meditation: Beauty, Our Invitation from God to Know Him

Changing colors in Maine
The other night we were sitting around a fire with some camping neighbors at St. Andrews on the bay (of Fundy) in New Brunswick. Overhead the moonless sky allowed a dazzling display of stars and the Milky Way. Breathtaking! On our drive through Maine the trees were changing from green to brilliant hues of gold, scarlet, and orange. We would go from a stretch of evergreens with only an occasional dash of color, follow a curve in the road to be met by a hillside of deciduous cousins dressed in fall finery. The sun was shining and the bright blue Mary sky provided the perfect background to set off their beauty.

Beauty -- It is God's invitation to us to know and love him. What is the first thing that often attracts a young man to a woman? Her beauty. He sees her and is attracted and wants to discover more about her. I have a friend who met her husband when she was eating lunch with a co-worker of his and he saw them together and asked to meet her. They married and are getting ready to celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary. Her attraction for him began with her looks, but that was only the invitation to get to know her. It began with beauty (and handsomeness) and matured to seeing the truth and goodness in each other.

Our world is filled with ugliness: the ugliness of deliberate murder of innocence both literally and figuratively, the ugliness of cruelty and selfishness and addictions that kill life and sink its victims into despair. The eyes of the despairing focus on their own inner blackness. Instead of seeing themselves as the images of a God too big for the universe to hold Him, they sink into themselves, too small a puddle to reflect Him.

Nature opens our eyes to the God who created all things. I recently read an article about a man who went on a singular voyage on his small boat. He left port an atheist, and returned several months later a believer. How can one seriously reflect on God's creation and not be moved?

As I write this, I'm looking out the window at a maple tree whose leaves are changing to gold. It's straight with many branches extending from its thick trunk and rising up about forty feet. It reminds me of Joyce Kilmer's poem, Trees, which I learned in grammar school when poetry was still appreciated and taught. Kilmer reminds me that nature points directly to God, although some mistake the creation for the creator.

Show your children and grandchildren the wonders of nature. Perhaps it well help them avoid joining the "nones", many of whom are apostate Catholics, who trade their birthright for a bowl of pottage. Pray for them. Fr. John Hardon, S.J. often said that only believers will go to heaven. Intercede with the help of your loved ones' guardian angels that those who have rejected our loving Father will come to their senses before it's too late.

Mary, Mother of the Savior, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

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