“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” ~Blessed Mother Theresa
The beauty of creation surrounds us everywhere. In the trees, flowers, rivers, waterfalls, animals, mountains, deserts, jungles…the list goes on and on. For me, I find that being in nature always makes me feel closer to God. It’s hard to walk through the woods on a beautiful crisp fall day with the sun shining through the colorful leaves without thinking of the Creator. When you look out at the sun rising over the ocean with water and sky merging in glorious colors as far as the eye can see, how can you not marvel at what our God has created? In the midst of these gorgeous landscapes, we are reminded of the wonder of our God. We are reminded of His perfection. The next thought I usually have is, with all of this wonderous perfection…what have we done to it?
God created everything we see. We have all heard the creation story countless times. (Genesis 1) God created the heavens and the earth, the light and the darkness, the sea and the sky, all things that grow, all creatures of the sea, sky and land, and man in His very own image. He saw everything He created, and it was good. He didn’t look at what he had created with regret or determine that only some of His creations were a success. He looked at everything He had made and found it to be good. In that very beginning everything was good. Just as God had created it. Man was given dominion over animals but was also given animals to be companions. Everything was peaceful and glorious until sin entered the world.
Since then, we have lost sight of the beauty and perfection of nature. Our God has created such beauty and we are the ones who choose again and again to mess it up. The trees and mountains and the sea seem to show creation as it was intended. Beautiful. Silent. We are too often surrounded by the noise of our modern-day society to notice the beauty of the earth. Sometimes we are too concerned with our own personal needs to look upon the needs of God’s creation. We have an obligation to care for His creation. In caring for His creation, we can better care for the people who are a part of that creation. By taking care of the plants and animals and doing what we can to reduce pollution, these are things we can do to protect God’s creation and thus make the world a better place for everyone. Pope Benedict XVI spoke of this at the 2010 World Day of Peace when he chose the theme “If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.” You can read his full message here http://conservation.catholic.org/ along with several other passages speaking of creation.
Taking care of creation includes animal life as well. I recently saw the new movie “Big Miracle” with my husband (it’s the one about the 3 Alaskan whales tarpped in the ice). It was a wonderful movie and when we left the theater I thought, how awesome that everyone came together for these beautiful whales! Wouldn’t it be even more awesome if we could all work together to protect every aspect of creation? Including animals, plants, land, sea, sky, and people too! We need to do what we can to care for animals and respect them. God created all creatures and we need to do what we can to keep them from becoming endangered or extinct, just like we need to do our part to protect the forests and rivers that God created and just like we need to protect our fellow man.
In Psalm 148, all of creation is praising God. If even the trees and the rivers can praise God for what He has made, how much more should we praise our Creator? By looking at His creation we are reminded of everything we are given. We are called to join in praise with the heavens, the angels, and all of creation! This is such a beautiful thought. It almost seems like a fairy tale. All the trees and mountains andlions and elephants and even whales joining in praise with the angels and with all people, young and old. But this doesn’t have to be a fairy tale picture. When we are immersed in nature, at the ocean , walking in the park, climbing in the mountains, we can silently offer our prayers of praise to God with the land we are surrounded by. We can care for the creation surrounding us, from the land to the sky to the creatures that we share this earth with. And we can care for the people. For our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all a part of creation and can all do our part to protect every aspect of creation that we are able. And to forever praise our God. To open up with creation like the roses open up near running water. Open up our souls to the glory and praise of our God.