If we seek Jesus, the word, we must be able to see Him in the created things around us—in the hills, the fields, the flowers, the birds and animals that He created, in the sky and the trees. We must be able to see him in our contact with nature. Nature is no obstacle to our contact with Him, if we know how to use it.
— Thomas Merton
Seeing God in creation is very natural for some and most challenging for others. The early church had a real problem with pantheism- the worship of nature as God. Fear of pantheism, fostered by well-meaning Christians, tends to negate the contribution of God’s creation to our spiritual development. Merton asserts that the created earth must be a vital part of our pilgrimage.
His most important statement is that nature is not an obstacle to our contact with God if we know how to use it. An essential challenge for us today is to relate God to His creation without making His creation our god. Far too many Christians see creation care as contrary to their spirituality. There is an unmerited fear that truly seeing God in a sunset or a beautiful flower is contrary to orthodox Christianity. Next time you see something beautiful, give God the glory.
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
- Help Us To Understand (allsaintsrussellville.net)
About 2000 years ago, God sent us the perfect love gift – Jesus Christ. From His miraculous birth to His miraculous resurrection, the life of Jesus tells humankind the greatest love story of all time. The heart of God and His awesome love for us is clearly revealed in the image of His perfect Son in a crude feeding trough and on a crude wooden cross. The forgiveness and freedom He accomplished there exacted a price that only God could pay. The extraordinary thing about God’s gift, is that it is freely given to all people – no favorites, no exclusions. Your name is on God’s gift list! You are included!
All that Jesus accomplished for you and me was intended to bring the abundance and delight of God’s love and grace into our lives. For Christians, every day should be a unique opportunity to revel in that freedom and show that grace to others.
Christ should bring to mind love images for those of us who are believers. An innocent virgin-born baby in a manger with the glow of heaven on His face. A savior – healing with His gentle touch, calming a storm with His mighty words, playfully cuddling children on His lap.
During this season of Lent, we must also see Christ heartsick and weeping in a garden, hanging broken and bleeding on a cross, and gloriously alive after the resurrection.
In response to this great gift of love, Christians should bring to mind love images to the world. Non-judgmental people with our hearts and arms open to all. People who practice peace and scatter hope. People who understand forgiveness and look for the good.
Jesus Christ – God’s perfect gift for all people, for all time. You are on the gift list.
PRAYER: Father – Thank you for the perfect gift of Christ. Thank you for including us all.
- Living for Christ (catholicdevotionalforyouth.wordpress.com)