Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts

14 Jul 2017

'. . . and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold . . .' Sunday Reflections, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Sower (November 1888, Arles)
Vincent van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]
Listen! A sower went out to sow . . .
For Readings and Reflections for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A,  click on the following: 

Green Wheat Fields, Van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]
Other seeds fell on good soil . . . 

Wheatfield with Reaper at Sunrise, Van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]
. . . and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen! (Matthew 13:1-9)

24 Jan 2016

Finding life and light in the midst of January doldrums

The prospect of a long winter ahead is daunting especially with memories of the epic snowfall amounts of last year still haunting many of us. I once anticipated January with dread. Winter can be dark, oppressive and confining: the arctic air and biting winds… the deep snows burying the landscape … ice covering the streets and sidewalks … darkness that greets us when we rise and meets us at the end of each work day.

January is a quiet month. Birds don’t come to the feeder; their songs no longer greet me in the morning. Crickets and locusts have gone silent at night.

January was a month without life.

Then I read Henry Beston’s classic, The Outermost House and it changed my perception of winter forever ...

 outermost-house

Click here to continue reading ...

10 Sep 2015

Joyful Spirituality: Kids + Pets

My husband and I believe kids need to relate to animals to grow up into balanced, caring adults who can relate and feel connected to the natural world not just technological society. Just watching our children’s delight in pets and farm animals confirmed how important animals were to their development and happiness.
We love animals almost as much as we love kids. That love has been a powerful source of energy transforming both animals and children into confident, intelligent beings with strong, unique personalities.  Our livestock kept us entertained with their antics even more than our more traditional pets because well-loved farm animals want to part of the family, too.

14 Mar 2015

The Dangers of Techno Pacifers

My contribution to TENDER TIDINGS Spring 2015  is The Danger of Techno Pacifiers. ALL the articles are excellent in this free parenting resource for gentle, intentional, and attachment-minded parents:
For most modern families living in apartments, townhouses, or even the suburbs, it takes a conscious effort to ensure little ones connect with nature and animals and, as a result, connect with God. Nature is suffused with the Presence of the Creator because God sustains and controls nature.

 It seems to me children need to go outside where they can delight in the smallest details because their hearts sense the Spirit of God and His joy when they are in nature. Even adults are growing increasingly discontent with the hectic pace of the 21st century because it is an existence more plugged into technology than to people. Many are more comfortable texting each other than speaking face to face or even talking on the phone.

This disconnect has devastating repercussions, also affecting our relationship to nature, but most especially our relationship with God. Man is losing the ability to even engage in authentic prayer because prayer is all about communion, the ability to relate. continue reading

10 Jul 2014

'Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain.' Sunday Reflections, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

The Sower, Vincent van Gogh
June 1888, Arles, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) [This link is to the readings for the Vigil Mass and for the Mass on Sunday]
Gospel Matthew 13:1-23 (or 13:1-9)  (New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition, Canada) 

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach.  And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up.  Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil.  But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  Let anyone with ears listen!”
[Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
‘You will indeed listen, but never understand,
 and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull,

    and their ears are hard of hearing,

        and they have shut their eyes;

        so that they might not look with their eyes,
    and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn—
    and I would heal them.’

But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.
“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”]
June 1888, Arles. Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam [Web Gallery of Art]










In the spring of 1982 I made the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius at Loyola House, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. We spent 40 days there, a few days of preparation for the Thirty-Day Retreat proper and five days of reflection on the experience afterwards. One of the spiritual directors, though not my own, was an American Jesuit priest named George. He was probably in his 60s at the time. He had worked for some years in South America and he was a recovering alcoholic.

One evening I saw Father George come out of the Jesuit residence dressed very nattily, wearing a rather nice sports coat and hat, his pipe in one hand - and his rosary beads in the other. I said to myself, 'That man has it all together!'

Full post here.

20 Apr 2014

Easter Afternoon


My husband and I hadn't been to Helyar Woods together in years. I remember going with our sons when our puggle was a puppy; Greg doesn't remember the last time we walked the woods together and neither do I.

This 43-acre patch of old growth forest sits hard against U.S. Route One in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Easter afternoon seemed the right time to wander these trails.







Read more here...

18 Sep 2013

We Stop Beneath the Buckeye Tree

The seed pod dropped on the sidewalk and split.
I see the ruddy shine through a slit
in the spiked orb and wonder at its depth
of color, the certain slant of light spent

on its creation and its becoming.
I hold the sharp husk gingerly between
my fingers and thumb and wonder at the satisfaction
in prying apart the halves, the silken rip at the pith.  Notions
of Autumn’s approach, the colored leaves, the drying bits
of grass and flower are upon me.  The death and dormancy that fit
beneath the harvest ground conceal a greater thing:
Latent energy bursting into fullness, our God blossoming
into the son of man ripening into the fullness of his mystery.
I am tempted to hold fast the shells and face
the blank wall, keep myself hidden within the pointed case
and find my way to fullness turned inward.  Yet I strain
against the covering, press into the exterior a plain
and arching back.  I drop against the ground and split
to see a shining depth of light in which
death and birth work together.
Falling away from self I rise in Christ
loving and being loved in turn, this daily practice
our cross and joy.  We tear away the ruined husk
and reveal a softer fruit, one that trusts
in a fertile ground, this nature in the city, this spirit in the flesh,
this cyclical forgiveness.

28 May 2011

Gifts from God

The unusual bouts of rain in the dry season have contributed to the rapid blooming of poui trees across the country, creating a breathtaking sight. The poui, one of my country's (Trinidad and Tobago) most spectacular trees normally flowers a brilliant yellow or mild pink between April and May or nearer to the middle or end of the dry season. Whenever the poui tree shed its leaves in the dry season and a shower of rain occurs, usually a few days later they start to flower.

When in bloom the yellow poui creates a carpet of yellow flowers especially around the Queen’s Park Savannah and on the hills of St Augustine. There are two species of yellow poui—yellow and black, while the pink specie, native to Venezuela, can be seen in abundance up the Islands. 

 I always look forward to my first sight of this unusual tree and the enormous pleasure it gives me. A truly splendid example of nature at its best. The Poui tree is surely a gift from God. 

As the Morning Rising: Under the Eucalyptus Tree

As the Morning Rising: Under the Eucalyptus Tree : It was the eve of the feast day of St James. Two friends and I were chatting, enjoying th...