Monday, November 5, 2012

Smells, Bells, and What They Tell

-       Where do you see God?

   The created world, all around us, is a sign of God's presence.  We read in Genesis that God created the light, the stars, the water, the plants and animals--and called them all good.  

You can look at an artist's painting and deduce something about the craftsman based on his work.  Well, we can look at God's masterpiece (creation) and deduce that God delights in beauty, that He esteems order, and, most importantly, that He loves us so.  Creation is indeed very good.

I once knew an atheist who had a deep love of nature.  He was a hiking enthusiast and was passionate about the outdoors.  I believe it was the beauty and goodness of creation, placed there by God, that was so attractive to him.  Through creation, God was reaching out and touching the heart of this man, inviting him to contemplate the Creator through His creation.

Lest we need any more reasons to acknowledge our physical, created world as "good," Christ Himself walked this earth.  In the Incarnation, God Himself entered our physical world in flesh and blood.  

God uses the physical world as a means to come to us.  It is effective, too, because we are physical beings.  Granted, we are spiritual beings as well (having a soul), but in our bodies, we grasp for something to hold onto, to look at, to touch and to fill our senses.

God fills this need through the sacraments of His Church.  Through sacred, physical signs (water, oil, bread and wine), He comes to us.  These physical parts of creation become conduits of supernatural grace.

But what about finding God in our day-to-day operations?  When we find ourselves in work, at school, at home, with friends--where can we find God?

God's grace is all around us and we can receive it through the "little sacraments": sacramentals.

Sacramentals are the means to sanctify (make holy) our daily life.

Just as Christ is the invisible God made visible, so are sacramentals a visible sign of God's invisible grace.

Holy water, blessed candles, scapulars, holy medals, salt--how do these seemingly ordinary, day-to-day, physical objects become a means for us to grow in holiness, to receive God's grace?

I recently gave a talk on sacramentals and I would like to share parts of it with you, dear readers.  I will be writing more in the days ahead, so be sure to check in again soon!

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