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Mission Reflection: Gratitude for Moments of Fleeting Beauty


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.