The beauty of a monarch butterfly.
As we live with faith, amid much that seeks our attention, there is a simple wisdom worth practising.
Reading Ignatian spirituality one is reminded to be grateful for the little ordinary miracles of life: the very fact of waking each day – the gift of a new day of life. I like to imagine bumper stickers. Most are rather long and might require the purchase of a truck, like: “Be here now until you are not here any more!”
Another of the little miracles is the gift of our senses. What we can hear, see and smell. “When in doubt, play Mozart, eat chocolate” is another of my imagined bumper stickers.
Jesus’ wisdom and our own highest intuitive knowledge is that to know what is best, look at the world through the eyes of children. They show us how to reappreciate the miracles of our senses. I recently watched a grandchild stop in her tracks, transfixed by a butterfly dancing.
Likewise the blessing of friendship. All within the ever-faithful friendship of God.
As the poets say, “every friend is a world” of special moments, associations, gifts shared, times of laughter.
St Aelred of Rievaulx, in an Anglican-Orthodox statement, is recalled saying: “God is friendship. The one who abides in friendship abides in God, and God in them.”
The Gospels witness Jesus’ overflowing friendship towards all: the Orthodox Church refers to Jesus as “Philanthropos” – the friend of all humankind.
Then there is “meaning”: our ways of contributing and belonging, the pathways we have found to positive social identity (and our reciprocal obligation to help young people find such a pathway).
We recognise the demand for identity is such that people might become anyone, so long as they can be someone. We don’t want kids feeling there is no alternative to a negative identity.
Listening to refugees, one appreciates afresh the yearning to be free. People will endure terrible things but they will be free. The pursuit and delight of freedom gives meaning to many lives.
Then there is the little miracle of nature – the planet from space, the sight of Uluru in morning light, swimming in the summer ocean, so much more. Hence our stewardship and the importance of sustainable development, amid the dangers of climate change.
In Federation Square recently, I came across folk looking at each other’s faces. They were looking at the face of a stranger – appreciating unique beauty, including faces that are well-lived in.
So many other little miracles, like silence and laughter.
Said one archbishop: no one without a sense of humour should be in charge of anything, not a kindergarten, certainly not a nation.
Are there other little miracles you’d add to this little list? Together let’s be thankful for the little miracles of our daily life. Spirit and matter intersecting!
Philip Huggins is a bishop for the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne.
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