Friday, January 27, 2012

While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about

"We can do no great things; only small things with great love." - St. Therese of Lisieux

Gospel text (Mk 4,26-34):
Jesus said to the crowds:
"This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come."

He said,
"To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade."
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

As educated men and women, we all experienced the wonder of learning about the world around us. Knowledge is valued in and of itself. We can tell how a seed grows into a tree and why the galaxies are shaped the way they are. This information is undoubtedly good and leads us to important discoveries and insights, but sometimes I long for that child-like wonder that comes from not knowing anything. Walt Whitman puts it nicely:

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts, the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the learned astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

During the winter, I love the look of freshly fallen snow, to just sit and enjoy the silence and serenity of it all. When I was a kid, snow days were spent outside until my fingers were numb (I always snuck a few mouthfuls of snow even though my mom told me not to).

Today let us be challenged to take some time to appreciate something very small and recognize God in that thing. Like the mustard seed, there is more to the little things in life than we can possibly imagine at first glance.

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