The maple tree that stands outside of my window is clothed in beautiful red, yellow and green hues. Many of its beautiful leaves now carpet the earth beneath, leaving many branches bare. The tree stands upright as its branches and leaves dance in the howling wind. Exposed to the unpredictable fluctuations in temperature and weather patterns, the maple tree’s beauty is unmistakable. Each morning it peers through my window and joins me in glorifying God for a new day. This tree is one of my daily reminders of God’s enduring presence in the midst of life’s challenges.
View of the maple tree from my window
News of unprovoked violence, murder, illness and injustice as well as the deaths of cherished persons can be overwhelming. So many are battered by life. As I lift all of creation to God in prayer, I am reminded of the passion and resurrection of Christ, the source of our hope. God lovingly accompanies us on our journey in life. God not only empathizes with us but also experiences our sorrows, disappointments, joys and aspirations. The resilience of creation, in the midst of adversity, is a testimony that God’s graces are sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). Like the maple tree, God generously gives us all that we need for every moment of our lives.
Therefore, the love of Christ is the lens through which we are called to reflect upon the hardships of life. My guides along this journey encourage me to hold the light and darkness of this world in tension. As Christians, we are invited to continue to be aware of the darkness that exists so that through our fervent prayer, unconditional love and faithful service, we can intentionally dispel or transform the darkness. The novitiate creates a sacred space through which joys and sorrows can be more deeply reflected upon in the context of God’s merciful love.
Each moment of our lives is a gift from God. The sorrows that we experience in life can never eclipse the graces received from God. God’s mercy abounds anew each day (Lamentations 3:22-23). Thanksgiving Day commemorates God’s bountiful goodness to us and offers opportunities to testify to others about the graces received throughout the year. As we approach thanksgiving, we are invited to reflect upon our lives and the many ways in which God accompanies, sustains and guides us. The more that we embrace a spirit of gratitude, the more we are able to perceive God’s hand at work in the ebb and flow of our lives. In so doing, we are challenged to offer thanksgiving to God each day for the many ways in which God manifests God’s abiding love for us.
Centre: Beauty at the Botanical Gardens
Right: Cathy Buchanan exudes joy during Cathy Arnold's birthday celebration