God in nature
These experiences are good things in themselves and we do well to take advantage of them whenever we can.
Sadly, however, too many people crush the spirit out of these experiences by refusing to go beyond the beauty and wonder of these created things to the infinite beauty and wonder of the God who made them and who sent his Son among us, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Tragically, some people today actually pervert the spiritual experience of nature into modernized versions of pantheism and even paganism.
Thus, the ancient message of today’s first reading (Wisdom 13:1-9) resonates even more strongly.
But either fire, or wind, or the swift air,
or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water,
or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world,
they considered gods.
Now if out of joy in their beauty
they thought them gods,
let them know
how far more excellent than these
is the Lord;
for the original source of beauty fashioned them.
Or if they were struck by their might and energy,
let them from these things realize
how much more powerful is he who made them.
For from the greatness and the beauty of created things
their original author, by analogy, is seen.
But yet, for these the blame is less;
For they indeed have gone astray perhaps,
though they seek God and wish to find him.
For they search busily among his works,
but are distracted by what they see,
because the things seen are fair.
But again, not even these are pardonable.
For if they so far succeeded in knowledge
that they could speculate about the world,
how did they not more quickly find its Lord?
May we find peace and refreshment in nature, but may the beauty of nature always draw us closer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through whom all things were made.