“Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.” Romans 1:20
Our house is situated near a smallish man-made lake. The back of the house has a room that is comprised of nearly all windows and each one of them provides a stellar view of the small, man-made “mud pit,” as some local residents like to call it. In the heat of the day, this room can be rather suffocating, as the windows act as a greenhouse and intensify the afternoon heat and sun to nearly unbearable levels. The ceiling fan, if flicked on, reflects the sunlight off the blades and gives a headache with the pulsating, reflecting light across the floor, the couch, and anything else situated between the fan and the floor; including any book you might be reading. But the room is a perfect place to bookend your day, mornings especially are a thing of wonder.
God shows up in the sunrise
The entire house sits caddy corner to East, so that if you enter this sunroom, position yourself just so, and time it just right, you can watch the sun rise over the lake. Each morning, without fail, it first throws it’s orangey pink rays across the sky and then proceeds to cast them carelessly over the water. Here, the ripples catch and hold each sparkle for just a moment before haphazardly letting go in favor of that next ray of light.
I try to arrive on time each day so as not to miss it.
You might be tempted to think it’s obvious that the sun comes up daily, without fail, and that there true miracle would happen if the sun didn’t rise one morning; if I was a witness to the darkness, instead. But I find myself on the side of the children, and of Chesterton,
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
If you can’t wake up early enough to watch the sun, you could position yourself the other direction, that is, to face West, and watch it sink away.
Not that you have to be someone who delights in nature at all. I have heard some people say they never see God in the sunrise. That they just don’t “get it.” Perhaps these people see Him elsewhere.
Man is made in the image of God
I have arrived at the hospital three times in my life with nothing but a bulging belly and a lot of pain. There had been promise that life was developing within me, and to be sure I felt it. At first I felt the slight flutterings move across my stomach, and then later, the distinct foot pushing outward. Usually the life within sought more room with a foot shoved up into my ribs – the space between each bone empty and therefore a perfect place to rest 5 small toes. At least that’s what it felt like.
I would arrive at the hospital with only my husband, but we never left alone, at least not those times. Thank God. I left each of the three times on those visits to the hospital with a new little person; completely tiny and yet so very much larger than life. It’s a mystery, life is, from its creation, its incubation, the birthing, and then consequent tending, all the way to the end. The breath of God sustaining it – sustaining me – now and forever.
God comes to us in the Eucharist
And this wouldn’t be a Catholic blog if I didn’t mention – first and foremost – the arrival of God, in the appearance of bread and wine, each Mass. Again and again. Sunday of course, at the weekly obligation. But also each Mass daily, repeated endlessly throughout the world. Here we see it best.
God shows up big time.
Of course, in each of these moments, God comes in the quiet. The sunrise, the everyday moments of life, the Mass – to experience each one of these you need to quiet and still yourself against the noise. Cardinal Sarah wrote an entire book about it.
Which is why I don’t understand – and you won’t find me visiting – the local microphone toting Catholic celebrities. “God will show up big time,” they promise. But I’m suspicious of the earthshaking noise and the fire of exuberance. He didn’t come to Elijah in either an earthquake or a fire. He came to Elijah in a still quiet breeze.
And He comes to me – in the most humbling and personal encounter – in the Eucharist.
We need – I need – to get down to the hard business of listening to the still quiet breeze of the voice of God, of His love. We don’t need to go searching for it, it’s already there in the quiet of our heart’s desire, in the rare still moments in which we stop to listen and not merely conjure.
Conjuring didn’t work for Dorothy, when she left Kansas to find her happiness in the dream of Oz, and it won’t work for us either. “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard.” She warns us. “Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”