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flowersBy Nancy R. Catan

There are many references in the Scriptures to Nature. Adam named the animals, Isaiah described salvation as a desert in bloom, Jesus observed the lilies of the field. We too can learn from nature, especially applying it to our life. I share with you some observations made by Br. Timothy Danaher, O.P. on nature, together with my own comments.

Nature is useful. Flowers have color, which attracts insects to pollinate them, which produces fruit, whose sweetness draws animals to eat it, so that the seeds are digested and deposited elsewhere, so that a new plant can grow. So, too, are our lives. What we do helps others, how we live can inspire others, and the words that we say can be heard with modern technology in many places.

For vegetable plants and fruit trees to be productive, they need sun and rain. Regular careful pruning of excess shoots and leaves makes them more fruitful. Our lives need both joys and sorrows, we need to undergo pruning of our wrongdoings. We should learn to be focused on things that matter, not struggling to do so many things that the important ones are neglected.

Life loves to live. Many years ago a strong typhoon downed the mango tree near our home. We cut off the fallen branches and remaining small ones flourished. Now that same mango tree is almost as large as it was originally. Events and happenings in our life change us. But if we overcome the difficulties and meet the challenges head on, we grow into a better person, more capable of living as God wants us to live.

Flowers can endure the full heat of the day, but should be watered at dusk or dawn, lest they go into shock. During the day we meet trials, livelihood situations, relationship problems. But when we stretch out to sleep in the evening, we are assured that in sleep we are all equal. And when dawn comes we are refreshed for the new day.

Nature shows signs of good or poor health. Some leaves turn brown, others become yellow. Plants wilt and droop, blossoms lacking in pollen or sweetness don’t attract the bees. It’s like our faces, which can’t hide happiness or sorrow, so that we can anticipate each other’s needs. It’s like our hearts, which reflect (or not) the goodness and love present in our lives.

rice-fieldsWorking with the earth, with Nature, whether in a backyard garden, or with potted plants in the window, or in a field of rice, corn or coconut trees brings a peculiar kind of peace. It brings back hidden memories of the original Garden of Eden where God placed man.

God has given us the miracle of life, of aliveness. We return thanks to Him for our life as we follow His command to nourish and care for Nature. We are God’s instruments to help Nature face its numerous environmental challenges even as He has, and always will, help us to overcome the challenges in the garden of our life.

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