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Mission Reflection: Gratitude for Moments of Fleeting Beauty

04/02/2020

In uncertain times, small, fleeting moments of wonder and the beauty of God’s creation can be easy to miss as are the lessons they can teach us.

A view of a blooming magnolia with the spire of St. Francis Xavier College Church in the background.
Spring returns to SLU's campus. Photo by Daniel Mascarenhas, S.J.

Daniel Mascarenhas, a Jesuit Scholastic from Goa, India, studying philosophy, took a moment to marvel at these moments recently. Mascarenhas has written a reflection on the insights that can be gleaned from stopping to enjoy the simple splendor of a flower, and what we can learn from its impermanence.

In Daniel’s Words

The other day I went for a walk around the SLU campus. Spring was here, and the trees were in bloom. It was a windy but warm day, and the delightful medley of colors, smells and sounds made my heart leap for joy.

Beauty was drawing me into the arms of God.

I savored the moment for a few seconds, and then grabbed my phone to take a picture. The flower in front of me was a delicate beauty and I wanted to hold on to the beauty. I wanted to capture this fleeting moment. I wanted this moment to remain with me forever through the digital memory of my phone.

Daniel Mascarenas
Daniel Mascarenhas, S.J.

Alas, it was not meant to be. A strong gust of wind blew the petals away, stripping the flower stalk naked. In an instant, the moment had passed.

I was left with a sense of loss. Something so beautiful, gone in an instant. Why God? Was I at fault for having tried to hold on to something fleeting, to something temporal? Was God inviting me to let go of things that I cannot control? Was God inviting me to put my hopes in Him, the only One who is eternal?

In this time of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety, I want to let go of my desire to control my life and to let my heart rest in God. I want to be free to let those fleeting moments of beauty pass, without resentment or remorsewith gratitude for having experienced them.

I want to live in the hope that my life will be filled with beauty, love, and joy still to come.

Amen.