A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Seeing God in Nature

Posted on: May 22, 2014

The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will.

~ s. 341 of the Catechism

Ever notice the way a ray of sunshine breaks through the clouds on an overcast day? When I was a little girl, I thought that was God—that he was sending the light from heaven.

When I lived on Vancouver Island, I loved the salty smell of the ocean. And when we left British Columbia for Ontario, I loved the rolling hills of the rural area we moved to.

I had more of an appreciation for the beauty of nature when I was younger. Now I often don’t even notice the flowers, let alone stop and smell them. When I’m heading downtown, I look at the Gatineau Hills in the distance or the Ottawa River, and I appreciate them—but from afar.

In a city where the urban boundary keeps expanding and housing developments stand where farms and forests stood a few years before, we’re increasingly removed from nature and its wonders. We live in our air-conditioned houses and our cars and spend little time outside beyond cutting the grass and pulling some weeds out of the lawn.

And this is true of both adults and children. Last summer, the park behind my house was mostly empty of children, even when it was cooler in the mornings. While people would sometimes bring their children to the splash park, the fields were busy only when soccer games were under way.

cats watching birds

Dedicated bird watchers

But if we want to spend more time with God, a good way to do that is by spending more time outdoors appreciating his creation. Maybe we could do some of these activities this spring or summer:

  • Swimming or building sand castles at the beach
  • Collecting seashells or interesting rocks
  • Canoeing, kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding
  • Hiking at a conservation area
  • Bird watching in the backyard or on a nature walk
  • Camping at a provincial park
  • Growing herbs, fruit, vegetables or flowers in the backyard
  • Visiting a berry farm—and picking the berries

If we have only a little time to spare, we can walk around the neighbourhood and notice the variety of trees, flowers and bird songs and enjoy the sunshine, sun showers or a refreshing breeze.

I pray that we would take time to admire the beauty and variety of God’s handiwork in nature and teach our children to do the same.

If only we let Him, God can continue to amaze us. Even in the midst of terrible struggles, we can experience the beauty of His creation, the gentleness of His touch, and the faithfulness of His love—if we behold Him once more through the eyes of an innocent child.

~ “Eyes of Innocence” by Mary Therese Lambert, Editor, Between Friends, newsletter of the Society of the Little Flower, Spring 2014

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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