. . . To gaze on the Lord’s beauty, . . .
Reflection Psalm 27:4b
The Lord’s beauty is everywhere. You can’t help but thank God when you watch a fiery sunset. When you watch the innocence of a baby, you know God is surely present. I am sure you have your own examples of the beauty God has shown you. I see each new day as an opportunity to be aware of the new situations'”or new people'”God is going to bring my way. Sometimes, I imagine I only have a short time to live, and I ask myself, what would I want to be aware of in this world before going home to God? Though I am not sure this is the best way to appreciate God’s beauty, it helps me be aware of today and the people I meet. I don’t use it as a “fear of dying” exercise. Instead, I use it has an opportunity to love more. I am not sick and I am not in a dangerous situation, therefore I fully realize the chances of my death at that moment are slim.
A more positive way to focus on God’s beauty is to start the day with short prayer in which we give our eyes, ears and mind to God, so that we can be open to the beauty and the love He has to show us today. We can strive to be grateful for another day in which to see the goodness in others, and let them know they are to be respected and treated with dignity. Since I work with adults who have severe mental illness, that is my goal every day.
Sometimes, we should simply meditate on the goodness that surrounds us. Maybe you have a backyard with flowers. Sit quietly, and let the flowers speak to you. Not literally, of course! Meditate on the rose, and know that you and the flower are created by the same God. The peace you will feel is incredible. Or, move your hand through water when you are taking a bath. Perhaps this reminds you of your holy baptism. Take a simple object and allow yourself to be with it. This can be a wonderful form of praise and prayer.
You might wonder how this is related to the Lord’s beauty. Remember, these objects were created by God, and, in some way, God is present in it. So, when you are mediating on the object that means something to you, you are mediating on God. You are letting God speak to you through your prayer to Him.
Gazing on the Lord’s beauty can also mean meditating on the love God has shown you. Think of the many gifts God has given to you. Your family, the skills you have, your health, your friends, and the list goes on. Every day, I try to think of the blessings God has given me that day. You can also think of the times you have prayed when you have sensed God’s love. You may want to recall when you have received communion. That is such a powerful presence of God! Maybe there is a special song that reminds you of how much you are loved. Perhaps your reminder is a painting, a photo, a sermon, or a spiritual retreat you have attended. There are a vast number of ways you can experience God’s love.
Often, I remember those times, then relive them in my mind. I allow those memories to wash over me, and I sit with that reflection. I let it speak to me in anyway that it wishes. Many times, it leads me to action of some kind. I will reach out to someone or to a ministry of some kind. I simply can’t keep this love experience I’ve had inside. It is meant to be shared. I have a strong yearning to share it. This happens simply because I gazed on the Lord’s beauty.
I also see the Lord’s beauty in the people I meet everyday. Though I work with adults who have severe mental illness, I have also worked with children with severe physical disabilities. One child I mentioned in my book Joyful Surrender was about eight years old, at the time, and she didn’t have arms or legs. What she did have, however, was a positive attitude and a desire to achieve the goals she had set for herself. When I see one of the staff helping one of the people who attend our program in a caring manner and connecting with that person, isn’t that God’s beauty? Of course it is! And it is a blessing to observe His glory in action.
There are many other examples of God’s beauty, but I think you now get the idea. His beauty helps us realize how alive and active He is today. We know that Jesus lived many years ago, but He is actually still alive today through the examples I gave, and through the many more examples you could give.