One of the hikes took my husband and I up a gravel roadway past patches of forest punctuated by clearings which are ski runs during the winter. After a delightful stay at the top of the trail, we began our descent. On the way down I noticed trees which had fallen in the midst of the healthy forestation and chuckled as I thought of the old Zen koan:* "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" I smiled at that for a moment or two and then began to really think about it. While one could playfully argue both sides of the conundrum, debating it would be missing the point. The issue should focus not on the sound the tree might make in falling, but that God is aware that it fell, regardless of whether any human was there to witness the event. In other words, nothing escapes God's notice. He is aware of every tree that falls, every creature who cries out to Him in praise or in desperation.
Jesus came into the world to give life so that we could live it to the full, (paraphrase of John 10:10.) He healed people everywhere He went. He brought new life to the diseased, the possessed, the injured, and the dying. He even gave life to a dead man. He brought new life through His preaching and teaching. He brought it in loving all sorts of people that no one else would even go near. No one was beyond His love and His efforts to share the Good News. The culmination of this was in giving us His body and blood which give life in a way that is beyond our comprehension. In death there was, and is, incredible life. The One who conquered death gives new life continually.
That is the beauty of our God. He never stops giving us new life. When we need it most, He takes that which seems dead (or nearly dead) and restores it. He does not merely resuscitate us, breathing a bit of air into our oxygen-deprived ‘spiritual lungs’ to give us a jump start. Rather, he gives us better life, and life which will someday be eternal. If we are truly attentive to the gift He offers we realize that the new life is deeper and fuller than what we had before.
If our world was not broken we would not need healing. If the world did not need healing God would not have sent His Son. It is and He did, that is the reality. But the story does not end there. When Jesus rose to Heaven, He left a very powerful force to continue His work: He left us, Spirit-filled, as His disciples so that we could continue to bring the healing that is needed in our world. He has outfitted us, so to speak, with all the gear we need to bring healing into the world. He has given us graces, incredible powers, including faith, hope, and love, which overflow into the world every time we live the message of His Gospel. He has given us numerous gifts so that we might take the message to the lonely and the broken that do not necessarily have to be in far-off places. Many times they are in our own cities, neighborhoods, and our own families. And of course, we, too, are broken.
May we trust that the Father is aware of us at every moment of the day! May we call upon Jesus to help us when we are in need and when we need Him to help us help others! May we be empowered by the Holy Spirit to use the gifts given to us knowing that we can ask for the specific graces we need! May we have gratitude for the beauty of the earth! And may we have the courage to be instruments of love and healing! Let us continue to meet in the heart of Jesus! Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
*Koan: “a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.” Definition found at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/koan
All the photos are mine. They were taken on Copper Mountain in Colorado. They were shot on various trails at upwards of 11,000 feet elevation except the one of the sky at dusk. That was taken at approximately 9,300 feet in the village at Copper Mountain.