Sunday, February 14, 2010

Winter Thoughts of God

We have had two snow storms in a week, with a third on its way tonight. Last night as I was praying through lectio divina, I came upon this passage in Isaiah:

Yes, as the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide see for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do. (Isaiah 55: 10-11)

There is also a passage from Daniel that is applicable to these dreary winter days:

Cold and heat! bless the Lord:
give glory and eternal praise to him.
Dews and sleet! bless the Lord:
give glory and eternal praise to him.
Frost and cold! bless the Lord:
give glory and eternal praise to him.
Ice and snow! bless the Lord:
give glory and eternal praise to him.
(Daniel 3:67-70)

Finally, I was thinking of the opening to Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God:

That in the winter, seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time the leaves would be renewed, and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the providence and power of God, which has never since been effaced from his soul. That this view had perfectly set him loose from the world, and kindled in him such a love for God that he could not tell whether it had increased during the more than forty years he had lived since. (p. 15)

What I like so much about these passages is that they help us to keep in mind that the natural world can point us towards the supernatural world. Creation can orient our vision towards the Creator. The unpleasantness of winter can be transformed into a penitential experience: we can offer up our frustrations (such as waiting in traffic when it snows) and our discomforts (such as the bitter cold winds). The bare trees can make us think of the coming spring, which can enhance our Lenten preparation for Easter. As Brother Lawrence points out, God is watching out for us. Let us watch for God, in the falling snow, in the hanging icicles, in the wind that blows where it will.

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