The white haired architect had just finished a long day in the office. He was half a step ahead of me as we went through the doors out onto the street. I saw him look up to the sky and heard him gasp: “Wow!” Then I looked up and saw it too: the full moon, bulging, ivory white, resplendent and radiant, regally climbing the night sky. “Wow!” was the only word for it. Awe.
It wasn’t only the majesty of the moon that captured my attention that evening. I was moved by this older man, drained by a hard day’s work under flourescent lights, able to refresh his soul with the primordial vision of the rising moon.
Today it is all too easy for us to be mesmerized only by the works of our own hands, the sophisticated products of human technology. A simple taste for the awesome beauty and ingenuity of natural things needs to be cultivated. Rather, it needs to be preserved, or recovered, from childhood.
How fascinating it can be to accompany children as they discover the natural world--the wonders of a leaf, a rabbit, or splashing water. Through children we get to see and marvel at the world as if for the first time. But, as I witnessed with the architect, “children” of every age can delight in God’s creation. “Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the reign of heaven” (Mt 18:3).
Awe overcomes us when we glimpse a bit of heaven here on earth. May we be child-like enough to be carried beyond ourselves by nature’s beauty, able to relish a sublime sunset or moonrise. May our psalm of praise to God be: WOW!
Ronald Stanley, OP