Summertime in the monastery is a unique time to enjoy God in nature. With the warm weather, we are easily immersed in the wonders of creation through walks in the woods, visits to the gardens, or quiet moments around the pond.
Behind our monastery we have a little hummingbird feeder, which has drawn quite a few of these amazing little birds. Since they aren’t at all timid, we have the joy of observing them up close to enjoy their iridescent feathers, buzzing wings and mouse-like chirps. And yet, before we had the feeder, one would rarely catch a glimpse of a hummingbird. It makes one wonder about all the many hidden treasures of God’s creation that remain unseen!
One beautiful aspect of contemplative life is this very element of hiddenness. Many will never know that this form of life exists, and yet it is precisely because we are concealed that God’s grace is multiplied and extended to the world. For he is often revealed in understated ways: “The Lord was not in the wind … the Lord was not in the earthquake … the Lord was not in the fire” (1 Kgs 19:11-12). We live only for God and his purposes—so often invisible to the ordinary observer—and according to his designs. “And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave” (1 Kgs 19:13).
May we carry on in our daily life, as does the tiny hummingbird or unnoticed flower, glorifying God in our quiet, hidden way.