We asked Loyola Press authors and other friends of this blog to share with us how they have found God in the summertime. Enjoy their responses as we continue to celebrate 31 Days with St. Ignatius.
“This year, summer has been cooler where I live, and the blossoms have lasted longer than usual. Every time I turn a corner, I see abundant blossoming that I’ve never noticed before: a white spirea, the blooms cascading down the branches like a waterfall. I pass bushes laden with lilacs, and their fragrance overwhelms me. And the peonies—those giant, deep-pink flowers overflowing a neighbor’s small garden. The beauty of these creatures is transient, but they speak to me of God, the ever-abundant Eternal.”
—Mary Frances Coady, Author of With Bound Hands: A Jesuit in Nazi Germany: The Life and Selected Prison Letters of Alfred Delp
“This summer I co-led a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with dancer/storyteller Betsey Beckman, singer/storyteller ValLimar Jansen, musicians Laura and David Ash, and my storyteller sister-in-law, Geralyn. We sang, danced, enacted, and embodied in prayer the biblical stories of faith in the sites where they happened! The Scriptures have never come more alive or Ignatian contemplations been more vivid. St. Iggy was smiling!”
—Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ, Co-author of What’s Your Decision?
“In the summertime, I find God in the sounds of katydids and crickets at night. What a surprise they are when they begin their singing! How wonderful God is that he provides a bountiful blessing for our ears.”
—Faye Coorpender, Spiritual Director
“Picking our abundant fig crop proved to be a surprising lesson on the mysteries of God. The simple action of moving leaves aside to find ripe figs is similar to the small efforts necessary to find God in everyday experiences. Green figs reminded me of a hardened heart, and stretching far into the tree represented seeking the depths of God’s love. Even a small snake resting on a branch recalled the Garden of Eden.”
—Cindy Ristroph, Parish Volunteer
“On a recent camping trip, we discovered that we were sharing our site with a tiny bird. The bird drew us in with a melodic birdsong like none we had ever heard. We loved just sitting quietly and listening to its song, trying to catch the occasional glimpse of the birdie among the trees around us. Eventually, though, we would find ourselves busied with some other thing and the song would seem to disappear. We found, though, that the wee bird was always there with us, and when we took the time to be still and listen for it, we were rewarded unfailingly with its unique and beautiful song. How like the voice of God was that little bird and its song—its voice always with us and heard with such beauty and mystery in the quiet moments of our day.”
—Cara Callbeck, Human Resources Professional
“If you sit outside my mother’s kitchen on a hot summer afternoon, you can hear the evening wind gather itself at the mouth of the canyon almost a mile away. I catch the faint rustle of the oaks lining the dry creek bed, and then suddenly the cool air is upon me—a great gusting wind that blows away my lassitude along with the day’s heat. Each time I think here is the Holy Spirit: a pleasant coolness that banishes the heat, a rushing wind, and an impossible-to-ignore push to stand up and get to the work that God has called me to do. Veni Sancte Spiritus!”
—Michelle M. Francl-Donnay, Professor of Chemistry
“When the rains of Hurricane Harvey finally stopped, I stepped outside to see the sun again. The previous days had been full of emergency evacuations, fears of how bad the house had flooded, and sleepless uncertainty of what the future was going to look like. I stood in a wet church parking lot and saw the setting sun lighting up the Holy Spirit window of Christ the Redeemer Church, and a calm settled over me. In that overwhelming moment of grace, I knew that God would never let us out of his protective embrace.”
—Kathleen Butler, Blogger at Catechist’s Journey
“We sponsored dreams of a possible astrophysicist and cardiothoracic surgeon this summer by starting campus tours with my two teenage girls. Is there anything more striking than watching God dance in the electricity found between a dream and reality? As we continue to use the Examen to explore God’s presence in this busyness this summer, we will take step after step towards our girls’ discerned reality.”
—Stephanie Clouatre Davis, Retreat Leader
“Finding God this summer? I guess I’m supposed to say something about beaches, crashing waves, flowers, or the beauty of creation. But, truth be told, I’ve started joining the Sant’Egidio community one night a week for companionship with some who may be homeless or who otherwise wish to connect with a friendly community in a public space near Grand Central. I’ve met smart, capable, friendly, witty, thoughtful men and women who defy stigmatizing, condescending stereotypes we often have about those whose housing or income realities may be difficult. Living in New York City, I see loads of folks in similar situations, almost every day; this summer has reminded me once again that when I see these folks, I’m seeing God’s face.”
Where have you found God in the summertime?