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Blessings from Creation – A Reflection

January 26, 2023
This Cardinal often visits our bird feeder on the front porch. The blurry spots are the reflection of the blinds on our windows.

On our daily walks we spend some time walking along the Inter-Coastal Waterway that feeds into the Gulf of Mexico. On that walk we see various birds and wildlife. One time it was a Dolphin swimming with only its dorsal fin showing. Many times we see Great Blue Herons and White Egrets flying, standing in the trees, or fishing in the water. Occasionally we see pelicans flying or sitting on the pier. Today we saw and heard a Cardinal singing in the tree. This experience brought to my mind a piece that Thomas Merton wrote in his book, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. It also brought to my mind Alana Levandoski’s song, “We Do Not Attend” from her album, ”Pointe Vierge: Thomas Merton’s Journey in Song. It is a beautiful interpretation of his words.

How the valley awakes. At two-fifteen in the morning there are no sounds except in the monastery: the bells ring, the office begins… The first chirps of the waking birds mark the “point vierge” of the dawn under a sky as yet without real light, a moment of awe and inexpressible innocence… 

Then they one by one wake up, and become birds. They manifest themselves as birds, beginning to sing. Presently they will be fully themselves, and will even fly. Meanwhile, the most wonderful moment of the day is that when creation in its innocence asks permission to “be” once again, as it did on the first morning that ever was… We face our mornings as men of undaunted purpose. We know the time and we dictate the terms. We know what time it is. 

For the birds there is not a time that they tell, but the virgin point between darkness and light, between nonbeing and being. So they wake: first the catbirds and cardinals. Later the song sparrows and the wrens. Last of all the doves and the crows.

Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us and we do not understand. It is wide open. The sword is taken away, but we do not know it: we are off “one to his farm and another to his merchandise.” Lights on. Clocks ticking. Thermostats working. Stoves cooking. Electric shavers filling radios with static. “Wisdom,” cries the dawn deacon, but we do not attend. (pp. 127-128)

Perhaps that is the blessing offered to us as each new day begins. It is a blessing when we pause to savor the beauty and wonder of Godde’s creation.

  1. I’ve been enjoying your many reflection with Thomas Merton as your guide.

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