Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: January 13, 2020

Yesterday was a busy day, so I woke up late today. I don’t often get much past 7am, but today it was pushing 9am! We had meetings, and Masses, and prepared for two more new students to our school, a Dinner, Church meal this Wednesday and PreCana couples on Thursday. Plus, the school team cleaned and decorated and prepared! It was a late night for many of us. After waking, I knew I would not make it to CrossFit classes today, so I decided to go for a run at Ft Washington State Park.

I love to run at the park. I am not a runner, and most of the times I actually kind of abhor it! But, for some reason, I like to trail run in the park. I normally try for somewhere between 4 and 6 miles; today I split the difference at just a little over 4.2 miles. Then it happened!

Just as I rounded my third major trail head, and turned sharply to the next trail emerging, I saw it! A huge, long-armed white barked Birch tree! She was majestic! Her twisted branches shot high into the air above me, and I couldn’t understand how I had never seen her before? It dawned on me then that normally in the summer or fall months she is surrounded by a fence of green trees! Ahh! That is why! She is normally covered by the foliage of other fellow trees, but not now in the simplicity and serenity of a dormant winter.

I looked and beheld for a just a quick moment, admiring her beauty and elegance, and pushed my right foot deeply into the earth to continue my run when suddenly and sharply a voice came to my consciousness, “James, Stop! Stop and behold!” So, I did. I looked up beyond her branches into the sky and then I saw it, Saint Miriam! I have never seen our parish from this angle before in all my runs at the park, beyond the majesty of the wooded forest upon the hill heightened above the Pike on the far side of the road! But there she was! I wept.

I wonder how many of us neglect to use times of shallow leaves and color-lacking to see anew? How many of us miss the things we love because they are covered by obstacles and things of fleeting life? How many of us will use this time of less leaves, and less color, and less to do and find the things within that we need to change or love more?

St Francis once asked, “Lord, give me eyes to see!”  I pray the same for you and for me.


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