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Monthly Meditation on Creation for September 24, 2020

Readings: Psalm 8
O Lord, our Lord,
How awesome is your name through all the earth!
You have set your majesty above the heavens!
Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have drawn a defense against your foes,
to silence enemy and avenger.
When I see your heavens, the work of your hands,
the moon and stars that you set in place - What
are humans that you are mindful of them,
mere mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them little less than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them rule over the works of your hands, and put all things at their feet:
all sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
How awesome is your name through all the earth!

Laudato Si #12

"What is more, St. Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. 'through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker' ( Wisdom 13:5) indeed 'his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world.' (Romans 1:20) For this reason, Francis asked that part of the friary garden always be left untouched, so that wild flowers and herbs could grow there, and those who saw them could raise their minds to God, the Creator of such beauty. Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise."

I have always loved art. I am a fair to average watercolorist who tends to appreciate paintings that are realistic. ( by that I mean you can recognize the subject matter- flowers, trees, clouds etc.) So, when I took my first art course in college and we went to NYC to the museum of modern art, I was completely overwhelmed to see for the first time - Jackson Pollock's gigantic painting #1!! I thought it was appalling. I complained to the teacher that it was just a bunch of paint dripped on the canvas any old way, and that it didn't look like anything. My kind and saintly professor informed me that: "if you want it to look like it appears in reality, take a picture - don't paint one." But, more than that he said, "come up closer to the painting, look at this little section of it. What does it look like to you?" I said: " It looks like bushes in the snow with little red berries on the branches" To which he said: " the beauty of abstract paintings, is that they can be anything that you want them to be." Somewhat enlightened, but not convinced I went home and in my free time started dripping paint on a canvas. Needless to say, nothing that I produced came anywhere near the energy, drama, excitement, movement, and joy found in one of Pollock's paintings. I could not imagine where I went wrong - it was a problem. The more I tried to recreate Pollock, the worse it became. I finally had to conclude, that there was something unique about the way he splattered paint. And, at some point, looking at his splattered paint ceased to be a problem, and simply produced a mysterious joy. After that I had to admit - no one drips pain like Jackson Pollock! Our cosmos is not a problem to be analyzed, deciphered, restructured or rearranged, rather it is the gift of God's love for us, complex, mysterious, deep, unfathomable. O Lord, our Lord, how awesome is your name in all the earth!

Prayer: O God of creation, how wonderful are your many gifts to us, how good they are. Teach us wisdom, so that we may live in right relationship with all of your creation. Show us the way to appreciate what we have and to use it wisely, so that all of your creatures may enjoy it. Amen.

Action: spend some time outside looking at a small piece of God's creation---and say a prayer of thanks.

Providing a contemplative compassionate presence to all, especially the most needy.