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natureToday is my last day in California. The work of our committee is complete for now; today I will be at the beach with my brother and sister-in-law – a rare blessing! Tomorrow I will repeat my airy trek across the country, but in reverse, and I presume I will again marvel at God’s grandeur. Everywhere I look, here or from the plane or upon my return to New York State I am aware of the diversity and wonder of creation. As I opened my computer this morning there was an image of Pope Francis and an advertisement for his encyclical, On Care for Our Common Home, about the environment. All of the above prompts me to quote in its entirety a piece from Thomas Merton’s book, New Seeds of Contemplation, that just happens to appear as a Monday morning reflection in his Book of Hours.

The forms and individual characters of living and growing things, of inanimate beings, of animals and flowers and all nature, constitute their holiness in the sight of God. Their inscape is their sanctity. It is the imprint of His wisdom and His reality in them. The special clumsy beauty of this particular colt on this day in this field under these clouds is a holiness consecrated to God by His own creative wisdom and it declares the glory of God. The pale flowers of the dogwood outside this window are saints. The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of the road are saints looking up into the face of God. This leaf has its own texture and its own pattern of veins and its own holy shape, and the bass and trout hiding in the deep pools of the river are canonized by their beauty and their strength. The lakes hidden among the hills are saints, and the sea too is a saint who praises God without interruption in her majestic dance. The great, gashed, half-naked mountain is another of God’s saints. There is no other like him. He is alone in his own character; nothing else in the world ever did or ever will imitate God in quite the same way. That is his sanctity. But what about you? What about me?

(I will not have an opportunity to post tomorrow but, God willing, will be back to it on Wednesday.)