The earth, O Lord, is full of your love. (Ps 119:64)
The day was gorgeous until sunset. Skies so clear and blue they seemed to come from a better world, a cool freshness to the air, trees glistering in honeyed light — but then, near dusk, the clouds came in. Banks of them. I kept peering hopefully at the sky, but this transit, which would come only once in my lifetime, was hidden from view. Instead, I ate my dinner, knowing that something wonderful, mysterious, holy, even, was happening just beyond my gaze.
So much of life is like that. We look for God, for the signs that our life is intersected by an unceasing love (or enveloped in it,whole), and yet, so often that love lies hidden behind the things of our ordinary days. We do not see the burning bush or recognize the angel who is speaking our name. We become accustomed to beauty and do not stop to marvel at it, or to wonder why the world should be made so, why a certain tree should have a curve that arrests our heart when we are not rushing by too fast to see it. Or we become ensnared in the too-real pain of this world, our own suffering or that of those around us. But that does not mean the Mystery isn’t there. It does not mean the holy is absent.
All those long years ago, Jesus walked the sandy roads of Galilee, speaking with his disciples. To the men and women weeding their fields or carting their wares to market, he was one traveler among many, unremarkable. But he was God among us, even still.
Speaking of our despoiled world, of the ravages of industry and the bleariness of our souls, Gerard Manley Hopkins writes,There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; And though the last lights off the black West went Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs — Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.