I have been extremely fortunate this summer to have two opportunities to witness the beauty of God’s creation with time to relax and take it all in. The first was a week in Colorado for a retreat in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The retreat was based on St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. It was a marvelous opportunity to ponder the glory of God’s creation in the beauty that surrounded us; to feel the Spirit’s presence in the soft breeze against my face; to hear the infinite power of the Father in the stream rushing down from the mountain breaking against the rocks on its way; to experience the healing welcome of the Son through the word and song of the retreat. It was a silent retreat, providing opportunities for solitary walks in the woods, time for contemplation that I generally do not find in my usual days.
My second opportunity was much different; it was a family vacation with kids and grandkids (19 of us) at a lake in Minnesota. The beauty of the bluest lake, the reds and oranges of sunrises and sets, the multiple greens of the pines, birch and grasses, and the sparkling brilliance of the star studded sky with the moon shining on the water were every bit as inspiring as the mountains of Colorado. However, the silence and songs of the retreat were replaced by giggles, guffaws, teasing, and occasionally the crying of a too hungry or tired grandchild. There was also the companionship of the family including a girl’s night out fishing on the pontoon with daughters, daughters-in-law and teenaged granddaughters. Although the weeks were very different in the settings and their purpose, each provided its own special opportunity to witness the wonder of God’s creation.
In today’s reading, Ezekiel tries to describe God. He has to make comparisons to God’s creations using words such as “Like the bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day was the splendor that surrounded him.” As finite human beings the best we can do is see the glory of God in his creations, in the mountains and lakes and the people who surround us until the time when we will see his full glory for all eternity.
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