It’s in those moments of witnessing the beauty and awesomeness of nature that I feel and recognize God’s presence and purpose. This happens because I begin to do more than just view or notice God’s creation and say, “Oh, that’s pretty,” but I see God’s creation and recognize how it reflects God in its beauty and purpose. My murmurs and thoughts of “That’s pretty” become silent moments of wonder and awe at God’s creation.
I see God in the trees and in the sky. I see God in the insects (even those darn mosquitoes) and in the birds. I see God in the rivers and in the mountains. I see God in the rocks and in the flowers. Yes, I see God’s thumbprint all over His handiwork. Everywhere. Sometimes when I’m admiring a vista, I think to myself, “If God saw fit to make all this beauty, He had a purpose behind it. Even if that purpose was for beauty itself. Because it is in beauty that we see God.”
For some people, nature is the primary way they experience God. The feeling and ability to recognize God in nature is more than a feeling many of us care inside our souls. Scripture says one way we can know God is through nature: “Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.” (Romans 1:20)
Or, in one of my favorite verses about God in creation, “But now ask the beasts to teach you, the birds of the air to tell you; Or speak to the earth to instruct you, and the fish of the sea to inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of God has done this? In his hand is the soul of every living thing, and the life breath of all mortal flesh.” (Job 12:7-10)
Sometimes people will use their relationship with God in nature as a reason to not attend Mass. Please don’t do that! Just because you can experience God in nature and maybe even hear him better while out in nature doesn’t mean you can skip Mass. As Catholics we need to be part of a community, which is part of the reason we attend church with others.
Spending time in creation can connect, or reconnect, many of with God. Time in God’s creation, out in nature, takes us away from technology and noise and busyness. It removes us from our regular comforts of things like air conditioning. It provides us with a chance to silence ourselves, quiet our souls and to pay attention to our surroundings and listen to God.
So if you haven’t gone out on a hike or enjoyed a local park recently, why not go soon? (Well, relatively soon. Even though we can recognize God’s presence in things like the heat and the sun, we need to be cautious when out in Texas heat.)