A Gift for You:
Open the video to full screen, and watch this video with the beauty of God’s creation.
For the Beauty of the Earth – John Rutter
“Question the beauty of the earth, the beauty of the sea, the beauty of the wide air around you, the beauty of the sky; question the order of the stars, the sun whose brightness lights the days, the moon whose splendor softens the gloom of night; question the living creatures that move in the waters, that roam upon the earth, that fly through the air; the spirit that lies hidden, the matter that is manifest; the visible things that are ruled, the invisible things that rule them; question all these. They will answer you: “Behold and see, we are beautiful.” Their beauty is their confession to God. Who made these beautiful changing things, if not one who is beautiful and changeth not?”
Sometimes when we are stuck in the midst of the suffering of illness, we become trapped in self-misery. Illness is full of uncertainty and pain. We feel left out as others around us get to experience life to the fullest. It becomes a very lonely place to be when we lose our sense of wonder and awe. We might struggle to find significance in our life and miss seeing the moments of joy and grace God has in store for us even in our sick bed. This week we are going to focus on beauty and what that means.
God has given us a great gift; the gift of the breath-taking beauty of nature. Often referred to as the Book of Nature, we see God’s hand in all his creations. Who can gaze upon a magnificent sunrise or the majestic mountain range from the heights and not see God’s handiwork? However, when we are stuck in bed or our home, we can become separated from the beauty of creation.
There are ways for us to remain in touch with God’s beauty. We can watch amazing videos on YouTube. We might be able to see a special on PBS. Someone might send us a pretty bouquet of flowers or a plant to dress up our room. We may have an attractive view from a window or have the opportunity to sit on a patio or deck to feel the breeze and breath fresh air.
We can also see God’s beauty in those around us. See God’s beauty in those who care for us. See God in a genuine smile from another patient in the infusion center. See God in the laughter of a child playing. See God’s sense of humor in a bird which visits our window. Feel God’s touch in the snuggle of a beloved pet who joins us for some quiet time. Think of those things that happened today that showed some beauty. Can you?
Let us look to a great saint of the Church who knew his share of suffering who can help us find joy and beauty in all things. He changed his world and rebuilt the church, though he was no more then a poor beggar. Saint Francis was known for his love to all creatures and love for all peoples.
“Song, music, and poetry were so deeply a part of the nature of Saint Francis that in times of sorrow and sickness as well as of joy and good health he spontaneously gave voice in song to his feelings, his inspirations, and his prayers.” (Francsican Friars TOR Website on the Canticle)
Saint Francis at the time of his bodily death, ravaged with disease and suffering, received this beautiful poem, the Canticle of the Sun. (a PDF to share and print) He shared it from the depth of his heart to the brothers gathered around him in perfect joy and praise. He praised God for the beauty of the earth from his death bed. He even praise sister death who he knew would visit him shortly.
In the clip below we hear some of the poem in the song from the Movie “Brother Son, Sister Moon.” Listen to the lyrics, they talk about him being preoccupied by self-misery. Being sick or caring for the sick, we are very familiar with misery. By focusing on the beauty in life and finding things to be thankful like Francis, we can focus on praising God outside the misery. It lifts our spirit and opens us to the gifts and graces that Christ, who loves us and desires to give so much more.
Clip from Brother Son, Sister Moon – YouTube Clip
This scene of the movie clip does not depict the death scene of this little Saint’s life. Shortly before this clip, Francis had an illness with a severe fever that almost took his life. When he recovered he received an overwhelming gratefulness for being alive. He left his father’s house to celebrate his simple but profound joy in what God was doing in him.
When one recovers from a long sick bed, it can be like seeing little things new for the first time. One can see the beauty in the simplest things and be grateful to be alive to enjoy them. The end of the clip depicts Francis’ call when he comes upon a little chapel in ruins and hears Christ’s mission for him to rebuild his Church. His sick bed became the beginning of a conversion that would change the world.
Moments of joy and thanksgiving even on a sick bed can work miracles in human heart. From such a bed, I received the call to start this blog. This blog is just the beginning of grace and gifts from God. This blog helps me to focus on things of beauty and on others, outside my own misery. I am appreciative for the little joys and things of beauty that have helped me on this long journey of discovery in my life.
No matter how much pain or struggle we face, we can find things to be thankful for. They do not need to be big things like a mission. They can be little things, like a smile from one we love, the beauty of a sunrise, the sweet smell from a flower, or warm purrs from a kitten. We too can experience little joys for the gifts, and graces God has given to us through the ordinary things of life. When one has a heart of praise, and one finds joy – Jesus may even surprise one with a beautiful gift.
Challenge for this Week: Think of those things you find wonder and awe in. Write a list of the graces and joys that God has given you in your life. Hold on to this list and add to it each day this week. Then save it with your prayer journal, bible, or in your bedside table. When you have a difficult day, pull the list out and reflect on the good things God has done.
Are you still struggling to find things to be thankful for? Watch a video that celebrates the beauty of the Earth, like funny kitten and puppy videos on YouTube (34 minutes of laughter.) Did you laugh despite the pain? How you do feel after laughing? Can you thank God that you could laugh and smile on a hard day? Keep working on having a grateful heart. Take it one day at a time, Jesus knows where you are right now. He wants to give you the gift of joy and gratefulness, just ask.
Pray This Simple Prayer: O God, You are never far from those who sincerely search for You. Accompany those who err and wander far from You. Turn their hearts towards what is right and let them see the signs of Your Presence in the beauty of created things. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Need More Joy? Watch below another beautiful song by John Rutter. So good for the soul and heart. Have a joy filled week. I am praying for you!
Look at the World – John Rutter
From YouTube Channel: Arendientje
Performed by: The Cambridge Singers