The Rio Grande passes quietly through the valley where we live in Southern New Mexico. In spite of the current, the surface of the river remains calm because the water flows over a smooth, sandy river bed. To cool off on hot summer weekends, families with children wade or sit in the shallow water near the banks. They stay close to the edges of the river. There can be quicksand near the center.
I’ve been thinking about serenity and peace lately. If I wish to remain outwardly serene, I need to be at peace beneath the surface.
For the most part, I am at peace with myself. Yet, from time to time I find a submerged rock or tree branch that disturbs the surface. Then, there is turbulence for a while, until I figure out what to do with it.
There is something about being in a garden that changes us. Whether or not we name it, we sense the presence of the Creator. It is as if there is a wonderful secret all around us that eludes our minds but speaks to our senses.
On this Solemnity of Pentecost, the poetic beauty of Psalm 104 glorifies the Creator and all of creation. Here are a few lines from the beginning of the Psalm:
"....O LORD my God, you are very great. You are clothed with honor and majesty, wrapped in light as with a garment. You stretch out the heavens like a tent, you set the beams of your chambers on the waters, you make the clouds your chariot, you ride on the wings of the wind, you make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers...." (Ps. 104: 1b-4, NRSV Catholic Ed.)
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and we shall be recreated, and you will renew the face of the earth! (Traditional Catholic Prayer)
We are waiting for the Holy Spirit, and at the same time, the Holy Spirit is already here. Whether we believe a day of creation lasted 24 hours or an eon of time, when creation was complete, God saw that what He had made was ‘very good.’ (Gen. 1:31) We sometimes tend to think that imperfections, illness, and even evil are more real than the underlying goodness of creation. Yet, the underlying goodness remains.
“….There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; And though the last lights off the black West went Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs ― Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.”
(Excerpt from “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins)