A few weeks ago, I was walking down the sidewalk near my home in DC when something caught my eye. There was a large hawk perched on the fence I was passing, resting at eye level with me. I stopped, then crept nearer until I was about five feet from him. Then I froze in wonder. I could see the crinkles in his talons, clutching the fence; his mottled feathers, blowing a bit in the breeze; his wild, golden eyes. We stared at one another for long minutes, until he lifted suddenly and soared, and I heard the thin shriek of a mouse as he dived down and vanished. It was magic, right there in the middle of the city, where no one would expect such a thing to occur.
No one who gazed at that hawk could ever think God was tame. No one could think he was predictable, or safe, or sweet. Whoever framed that hawk, built bones and added flesh and molded the cruel curve of the beak, was beyond any power we can easily imagine.
And yet, he was so beautiful! So beautiful.
St. Anselm wrote, “I do not seek to understand so that I may believe, but I believe in order that I may understand.” Some mysteries can never be fathomed. They can only be received with open hands.
The Unbelievable! series will resume next week.
I can think of all the things we need to receive with open hands and gratitude. Lovely…