A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘creation

As my son and I headed to our music lessons last night, the sky to the north was the colour of lead. Given that and the humidity, rain would’ve been no surprise.

But as I stepped outside after my lesson, I saw something amazing: a double rainbow.

It might not be rare, but I’d never seen one before, and I wished I had a camera so I could snap a photo to show my son. (The best I can do is suggest a visit to the Weather Network’s website.) I could only say, “Wow. That is so…beautiful.”

And then I remembered what God told Noah about rainbows after the flood:

“When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.”

~ Genesis 9:14-15*

When we have a spiritual “dry spell”—when we feel as though God is far from us—we have only to look to nature to see how close he is. Notice a cooling breeze on a hot summer day when we’re gardening. Warming rays of sunshine on a chilly winter morning. Crocuses springing to life after a long winter. Refreshing rain after some humid weather, and the rainbows that follow. Just read chapters 38 to 41 of the book of Job for more thoughts on God’s work in nature.

If we need reassurance that God is everywhere, that he hears our prayers and knows what we need before we ask, we can look to creation. We can praise God for the beauty he shares with us and the constant reminders he gives us that he is present, if only we’re willing to notice them.

Praise him, sun and moon,

praise him, all you shining stars!

Praise him, you highest heavens,

and you waters above the heavens!

 

Let them praise the name of the LORD!

For he commanded and they were created.

And he established them for ever and ever;

he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed.

~ Psalm 148:3-6

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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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

After a few days of unpredictable weather ranging from sun to rain to snow and back again, my cat and I enjoyed watching some birds from my bedroom window this morning.

Of course, my cat noticed only the ones swooping down into the yard, but I spotted many little birds scratching in my yard and hopping through the fence, along with the leaves emerging from the bulbs in my garden. It’s a beautiful day to celebrate Earth Day.

As David wrote, creation itself speaks volumes about God:

The heavens are telling the glory of God;

and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.

There is no speech, nor are there words;

their voice is not heard;

yet their voice goes out through all the earth,

and their words to the end of the world.

(Psalm 19:1,3-4, Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition)

Bible passages like Genesis 1-2 and Psalm 104 also remind us of God’s role as Creator. So do hymns like “Morning Has Broken,” “For the Beauty of the Earth” and “All Things Bright and Beautiful” that praise God for the gift of creation in all its diversity.

We have a duty to care for our world and use its resources responsibly, as s. 2415 of the Catechism reminds us:

Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbour, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.

I think we appreciate the wonder of creation. People never cease to marvel at photographs and video footage of animals in the wild, mountains, waterfalls, and distant stars. The problem lies with our stewardship of nature. Despite the threat of global warming, habitat destruction and species loss, we don’t seem to worry enough about what kind of world we’re leaving for the next generation.

I’m still surprised at the number of people who put out no blue or black box on recycling day, admit they don’t use their green bins because these can get smelly, or throw out pop cans rather than look for a place to recycle them. But these are some of the easiest things we can do to help the environment.

Here are a few more simple things: Read the rest of this entry »


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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