Appreciating the gift of God in Creation during lockdown
by Sr Teresa Kennedy PBVM
In this bewildering time when we are perhaps wondering where God is in it all, we can sometimes miss the opportunities God gives us to raise our hearts to Him in His creation which is, like life, His precious gift to us.
Having to totally isolate for age and health reasons, I decided early on to see how I could respond even in a small way to Pope Francis and his prophetic insights in Laudato Sí and create a greater awareness of nature etc. during these weeks of lockdown. I have been so surprised at how this awareness in so many ways has grown!
I love flowers: planting them, seeing them shoot forth, and delighting in their display as they burst into bloom. Sadly we do not have a ‘ garden’ or even a blade of grass around White Street, but we do have concrete space! Over the past two years I have accumulated a number of planters of all shapes and sizes, and put in bulbs and seeds to brighten up this back space for some of the year at least.
This year I made a special effort as I had more time! Early on in lockdown, various blooms began to appear above the soil, daily surprising me – magnificent coloured pansies in rich blues, yellows and deep reds; tall and stately narcissi and hyacinth, heavily scented, shy clematis slowly opening along the trellis, every petal and bloom precious and opening to glorify their Creator.
In Psalm 104 we are told, ‘the Lord rejoices in all His works’ and I feel sure He does here! Never have the colours been more brilliant or the scent more strong and inviting. Pope Francis in Laudato Sí reminds us that ‘the entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us…soil, water, flowers, mountains, everything is, as it were, a caress of God.’ These flowers in their splendid, simple array certainly moved and still move my heart to praise the Lord and glorify Him in union with them.
Another feature of this lockdown time is my increasing awareness of the cheery chirping of so many birds I never noticed before in the big tree overlooking our house. Their songs delight and are another reminder of God’s living presence in creation all around us. I watch them as they peck on food, and gather twigs to build nests, always so busy! The clearer skies and purer air, with less pollution, allow this appreciation in a new way.
Even the spider creating his web (and we have many around) is a cause for admiration and wonder! Such a work of art!
In Laudato Sí, Francis urges us to care for the earth and creation but we have been very slow to respond sensing that such would require major changes. Is it possible that through this crisis God has been creating the conditions for these changes to take place? Through our slowing of pace and deepening of the contemplative spirit, we are learning a new language and creating a new awareness of the beauty of the wonderful world of nature all around us and hopefully resolving too, to protect it in every way.
Are we the new ‘rainbow’ people allowing God’s glory to shine through us? During this time of lockdown have we truly begun to live Laudato Sí?
Francis reminds us:
‘We are children of the great King, of the Creator, capable of reading his signature in all of Creation. We are not safeguarding that creation today, but that creation holds the signature of God who made it out of love. May the Lord make us understand this ever more deeply and lead us to say “thank you”; and that “thank you” is a beautiful prayer.’