The Sacraments of Summer

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting

“Green is the season after Pentecost. The Holy Ghost in an abstracted space/ spreads out the languid summer of his peace,/ unrolls his hot July./ O leaves of love, O chlorophyll of grace.” Jessica Powers

I was sitting in the river….and all afternoon I listened to the voice of the river talking./ Whenever the water struck the stone it had something to say,/ and the water itself, and even the mosses trailing under the water./ And slowly, very slowly, it became clear to me what they were saying./ Said the river: I am part of holiness./ And I too, said the stone. And I too, whispered the moss beneath the water.”    Mary Oliver, “Evidence”

“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is./ I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down/into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,/how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day/.… /Tell me, what is it you plan to do /with your one wild and precious life?    Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day.                                                                   

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” writes Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning chimes in: “Earth’s crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God.

Summer glows and grows with the glory of God. It preaches to us of life amazing and tenacious, fertile and fruitful.  You hear it singing in the bird songs of morning, see the pink edges of clouds, the golden shimmer of early sun wobbling toward you over the water, the profuse growth and blossoming of petunias and zinnias and roses, herbs and tomatoes and the tendrils reaching out as the zucchini stealthily captures more ground. Hummingbirds and butterflies. Tiger lilies and Queen Ann’s Lace in weedy plots where fields meet roads. All is holy, calling us to surprise and delight, to a moment’s contemplation of all that “dearest freshness deep-down things” (Hopkins) where God’s ongoing, unfolding creation celebrates seasons present and promised.

Love lives and speaks in bright bits and subtle tones and dangles its green to be noticed. Notice.  Let the small sacraments stir your soul in brief encounters of graced creation, so easily lost in all the noise, the troubles, the constant searing, blearing, smearing (Hopkins) that human progress and fractiousness and technological too-muchness can bring.  See, hear, taste God’s peace and promise of a blossoming beyond our imagining.  And with e.e.cummings, thank God “for most this amazing day” and “for everything which is infinite which is natural which is yes.”

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word

3 responses to “The Sacraments of Summer

  1. Every night as I drive towards the South-West to get home and then watch night move in on the setting sun panorama from my balcony, I experience just what you’ve shared with us. Thank you for capturing it all so beautifully for me!

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