Unique Images of God

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I have spent much of the late summer fascinated by the images coming from NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope. For many science-y reasons I can’t explain, it is a groundbreaking telescope able to capture images of space previously unobservable to us. The clarity and definition of the images are breathtaking. The photos look like paintings. They are artwork. God’s artwork painted in the universe.

I have spent a great deal of time viewing the images and marveling at the wonders they reveal. And always, this marveling has led me to praise of God. Marveling at the Creator of all these wonders. To think that our God created all of that. To think how beautiful, how expansive, how immense the universe, and our God created it all. Oh, what a God we have!

In the midst of this praise and wonder, there is always a soft echo in my heart: “And even with all these wonders, I still thought it necessary to create you, my dear Claire.” “Even with all these wonders, my creation would not have been complete without you to love and cherish.” 

Oh what a God we have! To have created the entire expanse of the universe, an expanse infinite in its depths, and still deem it incomplete without me. To create planets and solar systems and entire galaxies and nebulae and still think little ol’ me, in all my flaws and weaknesses and imperfections, was necessary, was desirable, was lovable. To think, God’s creation wasn’t complete without me.

You were necessary. You were desired. The created world was incomplete to God without you in it.

This is true of me.
This is true of you.
This is true of every single person on this earth.

From the baby in a mother’s womb, to the homeless person wandering the street, to the incarcerated, to the politically or religiously opposite, to the President, to the toddler coloring all over your home, to the difficult person at work, to the person who cut you off in the drop-off line, to the person slowly taking their last breath. Creation was incomplete without every one of these people.

Unique images of God, as diverse and unique as the stars in the universe, every one of them.

May we marvel at the necessity and desirability of ourselves. May we wonder at the necessity and desirability of every person we encounter. Truly we are each a greater marvel than the entire expanse of the universe.

Holy Spirit Wake Up Calls

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My typing skills are best described as somewhat unique. While better than a two-fingered hunt and peck approach, they are far from being a trained skill. I honed it while entering data on a laptop in a parked car with the steering wheel in the way so you can imagine the challenge of the awkward position. The red spell check highlights quickly became my friend.

Today, I type on a couple laptops, keyboards, tablets, and phone and try to begin messages with a salutation. Sometimes a hi or hello, but usually a good morning/afternoon/evening. Oftentimes “good” shows up as “God.” While it might be my lack of typing prowess or sticky keys, I tend to view this as a wake-up call from the Holy Spirit. He is saying to me that it might be a “good” morning, but it is always a GOD morning. When I catch this “error” it seems I am being asked many questions such as:

How am I serving God today?

Have I taken time to see the beauty in the day?

Will I actively live my faith today?

Who will I encounter who might not be having a good day and really needs a God day? Will I seize the opportunity and engage this person? Will I actually serve God and “become Christ” like our mission calls?

This nudge has been occurring for years on countless devices. I type the same way. Why today? What does God want me to realize today? Sometimes I get it, and candidly, many times I struggle. Each and every time it makes me think. It’s a simple queue to make me pause and remember that I am, and we are, here to serve God in all that we do, and in every interaction. God blesses us and gives each of us our unique gifts. What do we do with these blessings?

Poor typing skills makes me stop and ponder. What makes you think about God?


You Can't Quantify Love

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As a young man, I often found myself intrigued by words. In particular, there was one word that stood out to me the most - my name: Francis. I would ask my grandparents why I was given this name and what was significant about it. Frequently, they would respond that I was not old enough to understand the importance of it. As I grew, I would come into an understanding about my namesake: St. Francis of Assisi.

Since learning this, I have often looked to him as someone who truly understood what it means to live poorly. But let me be clear: just because he had a simple life, did not mean he was poor. On the contrary, St. Francis was truly a man who was rich in the love of God - which is something that cannot be quantified.

In our modern day, we often equate success with people who have the best or newest things because we can see what they have and assume they must be living a great life. Yet, society has a habit of scorning those who strive to be pure, dedicated to their faith, and constantly seeking a relationship with God. This is because a relationship with God is not something we can, in fact, quantify. Rather, it is something that we can feel and rely upon even in our most needy of moments.

We must seek God and grow our love and trust in Him. For God is truly all around us, as St. Francis points out in his Canticle of Creation, whether it be in the Sun, the Moon, the Fire, or even in Death. God is always with us. His love knows no bounds, and is not something we can quantify. Be like St. Francis: find God and grow in His life all around you. 

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