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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

November 20, 2023: Drive down MacDonald Avenue" she said and see the Ginco trees in brilliant yellow

Monday, November 20, 2023

Drive down MacDonald Avenue and see the Ginco trees in brilliant yellow and the road full of gold - Alice Waco


St. Bonaventure taught that to work up to loving God, start by loving the very humblest and simplest things, and then move up from there. “Let us place our first step in the ascent at the bottom, presenting to ourselves the whole material world as a mirror, through which we may pass over to God, who is the Supreme Craftsman.” Alice Waco told me the same thing on our way to the Farmers Market: "Drive down MacDonald Avenue" she said and see the Ginco trees in brilliant yellow and the road full of gold."



We can apply Alice's spiritual insight quite literally. Don’t start by trying to love God, or even people; love elements and rocks first, move to trees, then animals, and then humans. Angels will soon seem like a real possibility, and God is then just a short leap away. It works. In fact, it might be the only way to love, because how we do anything is how we do everything. In the end, either we love everything or there is reason to doubt that we love anything. This one love and one loveliness was described by many medieval theologians as the “great chain of being.”





Creation—be it planets, plants, or pandas—was not just a warm-up act for the human story or the Bible. The natural world is its own good and sufficient story, if we can only learn to see it with humility and love. That takes contemplative practice, stopping our busy and superficial minds long enough to see the beauty, allow the truth, and protect the inherent goodness of what is—whether it profits or pleases us or not.


Every gift of food and water, every act of simple kindness, every ray of sunshine, every mammal caring for her young, all of it emerged from this original and intrinsically good creation. Humans were meant to know and enjoy this ever-present reality—a reality we too often fail to praise or, maybe worse, ignore and take for granted.






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