Lost in Wonder and Awe

The clean crisp air blew against my face as I stood under a majestic tree adorned with leaves of the most brilliant red, orange and yellow hues. As I breathed in the glories of the autumn season, perhaps my favorite, I noticed a little girl pick up one of the fallen leaves from the ground. She seemed to be mesmerized, perhaps even caught in wonder and awe, by the treasure she discovered. It was as if she were drinking in the beauty she beheld in her little hand. Was this little girl deep in contemplation at God’s creative work? I couldn’t help but think that this tender moment glorified God. Perhaps, in the Lord’s eyes it was an act of praise.

 Often children teach us the simplest, but most profound lessons. Finding ourselves lost in wonder and awe actually leads us to contemplation, which ultimately leads us to foster a spirit of gratitude.

 And it’s not just for the magnificent sights of nature that we should pause. There are a myriad of gifts and blessings to incite this wonder and awe. We began this month with the triumphant celebration of the glorious saints in heaven, those who exemplified radical holiness, a fervent love of God and neighbor and a zeal to bring souls to Christ. Just imagine, we too are called to share in this holiness, to be saints! Perhaps this awe and wonder could lead us not only to praise God and be grateful for their heroic lives, but also to imitate these virtues. He gives us the grace to do so. 

 The following day we celebrated the souls of the faithful departed, those souls who have left this world and are now journeying through purgatory to reach their final destination, the place of primordial innocence, eternal bliss with their Maker. How awesome. It is a wonder to think that we will live forever in eternity.

 Perhaps, this thought of the immortal soul can lead us to give glory and praise to God for our Baptism. For many this gift of entering into God’s family as His sons and daughters is a result of very dutiful Catholic parents, and for others it is a gift found after many years of searching for the Truth. Whatever the story of our Baptism, the spiritual reality of what happened at the baptismal fount is the same extravagant unmerited gift of being called to share in God’s Divine Life! And to continue this abundant lavishing of love, we are given the gift beyond measure of receiving His very Body and Blood in the Sacrament of Communion by which He sustains us and nourishes us. Total gratuitous love! 

 The month of November affords us a day to step out of ourselves and give thanks for the countless gifts bestowed upon us. But actually, we are called to live with this spirit of gratitude every day.  In fact, our very lives can be a hymn of praise and thanksgiving.

 The psalmist says,

 “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.” –Psalm 103

 May this month be a time of fostering a spirit of gratitude like never before, a spirit that calls us to delight in the work of His hands with sincerity of heart, a spirit which beckons us to embrace every cross as a gift,  a spirit which allows us to look away from ourselves and turn our gaze to the Lord with praise and thanksgiving.

 Lord, we ask that you grant us the grace to live with grateful hearts.