I have always been drawn to beauty, as bees are called to nectar and deserts thirst for rain. When I was an atheist, I found delight in the beauty of the natural world – which I would never have called God’s Creation, but only Earth or universe. As a believing Christian, I now experience the beauty of the created world in a more personal and exquisitely intimate way, with true joy, as profound gift and Mystery.
Our Creator does not create with rigid rationing, but, rather, with generosity and full exuberance: 1000 seeds to bear one fruit tree, 1 million spermatozoa to bear one human being, 1 billion rocky planets to bear one earth…
And, oh, the sacred blue and green of our earth… God’s Creation is full of beauty to please the body, to break and sooth the heart, to refresh the mind, and to awaken the soul.
Too often, we ignore or neglect the joy of this beauty. In so doing, we allow others to reduce the sanctity and abuse the goodness of God’s gift. When humans seek to use Nature in this way, for greedy and selfish ends and not, rather, for the well-being of all life, our human nature becomes abused, deformed, wasted. In our aim to dominate, we miss the mark of our own sublime reality, the preciousness of our existence, the intimate and infinite love that brought each and every one of us into being.
Every life that God has created, every life that God has allowed to exist, is sacred and mysteriously beautiful beyond our knowing. The small endangered butterfly in a remote and shrinking forest, the threatened mango trees of a disappearing delta, the unloved human fetus in the womb. Is not every living thing a gift to be respected? Should not all of our actions speak to beauty and not destruction?
These thoughts stem from reflections upon the words of John Muir in his book, Yosemite. My reach may be broader than his, but the heart is the same…
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little window-sill gardens of the poor, though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gardens, and in our magnificent National parks–the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc. — Nature’s sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world. Nevertheless, like anything else worth while, from the very beginning, however well guarded, they have always been subject to attack by despoiling gainseekers and mischief-makers of every degree from Satan to Senators, eagerly trying to make everything immediately and selfishly commercial…. Thus long ago a few enterprising merchants utilized the Jerusalem temple as a place of business instead of a place of prayer, changing money, buying and selling cattle and sheep and doves; and earlier still, the first forest reservation, including only one tree, was likewise despoiled.”
(John Muir quote taken from a recent Earth Day post from the Catholic Astronomer – a blog well worth reading!)
© 2017 Christina Chase
Christina Chase View All
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.
What a coincidence! I just now finished watching Ken Burns’ documentary series on The National Parks, the underpinnings which are, of course, John Muir’s works. Then your latest writing appears in my inbox. You get it! We’ve made great strides in preserving God’s greatest works. Now we have to preserve His other Greatest Works….the human being and its relationship with its Creator. That’s a much more difficult task than bonding with nature and one I fail at every day 😦 But I keep trying! 🙂 Your writings and inspiration help me understand more, tho! Thank you!~~SIOUX!
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