Writing in his weekly column in the Catholic Times, the poet lets his thoughts play with the way God deals with his beloved creation. He sees the beauty and harmony in nature, the mountains, lakes, trees, flowers, the rice plants moving in the gentle breezes, and then he looks on the fishing village and sees the tsunami sweep away thousands into the sea.
Nature seems mysterious and unrevealing. Some are ready to stress the favorable, and others the unfavorable relationship between God and creation; sometimes it's benevolence and other times non-benevolence. Which one is the correct view? The relationship of heaven and earth is sometimes this and sometimes that. Can we call it fickle? A great abyss of separation?
Inanimate objects don't speak so we interpret. To interpret, according to the dictionary, means to explain and make objects known. Seemingly very easy to do, but when philosophers get involved it becomes complicated. It also has to do with our attitude towards the object. Whatever is received is received in the manner of the one receiving.
In prayer, God sometime gives what we want and other times not. How should we interpret this situation? The columnist gives us St. Paul's answer (1Thessalonians 5:16-18): "Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus."
How many of us have this as a guide, a teaching or a goal in our lives? If we took this to heart, Paul reminds us, we would be persons of virtue, extraordinary human beings. Many times we pray and get the opposite of what we prayed for, which breeds resentment. But the answer, though not what we wanted, did come. Here, our attitude and free will come into play; we can accept the answer as being at this time the correct answer.
We learn early on that God's standards are not the same as ours. When we give thanks and have joy in all things, then we consider God's mercy and interpret all with thanks in our hearts. It all depends on our free will; that is why it is such a precious gift.