The psalms frequently exhort us to praise God the Creator “for his steadfast love endures forever”. They also invite other creatures to join us in this praise: “Praise him, sun and moon, praise him all you shining stars!   Laudato Si #72

 When I worked in Ethiopia there was a beautiful book portraying, through photos, the richness and cultural diversity of the country. It was entitled “Under Ethiopian Skies” and it was this phrase that came to mind when I stood alone at night looking up at the sky contemplating the vibrant beauty and grandeur of the heavens – the imminent presence of the creator God. I felt both privileged and humbled. Our God was truly “in the heavens” and yet just as truly a part of my world and my life. Now in Kenya I think more of under African skies. The sense of awe has not left me and at night or early morning, when the sun is coming up and the moon has not quite disappeared, I feel eager to greet my God and allow God to greet me in whatever appearance is chosen for that particular time and day; red skies, pastel hues, full moons, shifting clouds, or a shining myriad of stars, all beautifully accompanied by the dawn chorus or the cricket cantata depending on the time of day. There is beautiful simplicity in the encounter. I just am, and God just is – a wonderful counter balance to the complexities of life; of work, of relationships, that can sometimes overtake me.

It is good to sit in the chapel in the early hours to contemplate God in the Blessed Sacrament, to savour the stillness and quiet, but it is also good to experience God’s presence and universal love in the created world. As the eyes and ears are opened so the heart! In this world that is so much bigger than my own reality the response that often arises is simply Magnificat!

Liz Smith DC