March 5, 2021

Guest Column / Richard Etienne

Creation reminds us that ‘God is good’—all the time

Richard EtienneAre you familiar with aroma therapy? I like to apply it when I am walking in the forest.

Do you recognize the scent of a freshly picked pine needle? Can you detect the smell of honey suckle in the surrounding bush? Do you know the aroma of sassafras sap? Do you stop to really savor these experiences?

Do you pause to listen when you are walking in the woods—to the wind in the trees, to the flowing water of a nearby brook, to the rustling of small animals in the leaves? God’s creation is everywhere!

During eucharistic liturgies, we sing or recite the words, “Heaven and Earth are full of your glory.” Said another way: the Earth is full of God’s glory!

How often do you regularly carve out time to reflect on this reality? When was the last time you took the time to truly observe a sunrise, sunset or the majesty of the night sky? Are you a cloud watcher?

It is my fear that too often, focused on the task at hand, we pass by many wonderful experiences.

In the popular hymn “How Great Thou Art,” we hear: “Consider all the worlds thy hands have made. I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed,” as well as, “When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.”

And during the Gloria at every Sunday liturgy—except during Lent and Advent—we say or sing, “We give you thanks for your great glory!”

In the book of the prophet Jeremiah we read, “You, O Lord, know me, you see me, you have found that at heart I am with you” (Jer 12:3). In the early chapters of Genesis in the story of creation, we read about the world that God created. Several passages end with “and God saw that it was good.”

Think about that: in God’s creation story, everything was found to be good.

Make a mental note to become more aware of God’s creation all around you. Or better yet, plan a venture into the “wild” to seek out a quiet place in nature to engage your senses in the wonder all around you.

And don’t forget—God is good—all the time.

(Richard Etienne is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish in Newburgh, Ind., in the Evansville Diocese.)

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