How We Encounter the World

I was struck by a post by Aidan Rooney, C.M., on Finding our Way, written as he and some Vincentian Lay Missionaries were preparing for their trip to Ethiopia.  A participant’s observations about St. Louise’s artistic side prompted him to wonder about how he encounters the world.

Aidan’s comments directly address the beauty of Ethiopa, but one can apply his description to whatever locale one is in.  For all of God’s earth is “rich in experiences that can engage the senses. There are vistas, flavors, smells, textures, sounds that are all new.” 

Thus we can all ask ourselves the question Aidan asks of himself as he prepared for his trip: “Am I willing and prepared to allow all of this to inform both my head and my heart?”  Is the world and its beauty just the backdrop against which I go about my life?  Do I walk around inside my own head, so preoccupied that I don’t even notice what is there?  Or do I actually encounter the world?  Do I allow the “vistas, flavors, smells, textures and sounds” to engage my being?

And as you ponder these questions, say a prayer for the Vincentian Lay Missionaries as they go about their work in Ethiopia.

Update (added 7/2): I just picked up the current issue of America, which includes a piece by Margaret Silf, titled, Mind Where You Go. She writes, “How mindful are we, as we wander this world of ours? … All it takes is a bit of time, and open eyes and ears. … Time to stop and think and be available to the world around us, eyes to really see and ears to really listen to what is actually there: the wonders, the beauty…. Every square mile of this planet is holy ground if you walk it gently and midnfully and take the time to let it disclose its secrets. Every mile can be sacramental, waiting to reveal something of who God is.”