Like a Boss: The Ancient Redwoods and The Incarnation

Catherine Arnold, OP
Blog by Sr. Cathy Arnold, OP

OK, so I have never actually used the phrase “Like a Boss” in my speech (and don’t really like some of what I have read about the use of the phrase), but I have heard it used by younger folks, and it occurred to me that maybe in the positive sense of its meaning, acting in an awesome way, it could stretch to include the giant redwoods.

Recently I visited one of our Sisters in Akron General Hospital and a picture (shown to the left) on the wall caught my eye. A quote by Dawna Narkova explained that, “The ancient redwoods as huge as they are, have a very shallow root system. Yet, they cannot be blown over by the strongest wind. The secret of their stability is the interweaving of each tree’s roots with those that stand by it. Thus, a vast GiantRedwoods (2)network of support is formed just beneath the surface. In the wildest of storms these trees hold each other up.”

The quote reminded me of the powerful metaphors that we often encounter in nature which model for us how to become our best selves, supporting each other and holding each other up in the wildest of storms. I think of this especially today as we are called to reach out in support of our Muslim neighbors who are being persecuted. The redwoods model the support we are called to share with each other.

One of the Chapter Commitments of the Dominican Sisters of Peace is to study, contemplate and preach God’s revelation discovered in the unfolding mystery of creation and in Sacred Scripture. As we continue to journey in this Advent season approaching one of the greatest mysteries of our faith, the Incarnation, God-is-with-us in the physical world, I invite you to take an Earth Walk.

Wander outside until something stops you. It may be a tree or a stone or a broken stick or… Tell the thing why you stopped. Wait for the reply. Remember God dwells in everything, so stay open to what the object, or plant or animal may have to teach you. Every time and in every way when we listen and pray, Come, Lord Jesus, Come, whether in Scripture or in our neighbor or in nature, we can be assured that God will respond with love and mercy and will be present with us. And like Jesus who modeled and pours love and mercy on us, may we eagerly share love and mercy with others.

O Wisdom of God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path to truth and knowledge.
– O Antiphon for December 17

May you have a blessed and Holy Christmas!

Posted in News

6 responses to “Like a Boss: The Ancient Redwoods and The Incarnation

  1. Cathy, What a beautiful reflection from the Redwoods, and what a magnificent natural message that God has built into our world ~ what an awesome God we have! Thanks for noticing it on a hospital wall!

  2. What a beautiful morning reflection for me and the message and image just flowed from you. Thank you for all you are, do and will continue to do. You are special Kathy a Holy Christmas Nancy Jane OP

  3. I love the image of the redwoods’ shallow roots intertwined and thus giving support to the giant trees. It’s a great image for the support of community, whether it be the world community of various nations and religions, or a local religious community. Thank you, Cathy, for sharing this reflection.

  4. Thank you, Cathy! Loved your sharing about the redwoods! As my retreat in PA winds down, I am reminded of the many aspects of nature through which God has spoken to me these sacred days. May your “Advent II” be blessed!


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