So I have been really appreciating the beauty of God’s creation here in the Adirondack Mountains these last few days. This time has been a gift of rest, prayer and renewal as the days quickly approach that mark the start of a rather busy week preceding my ordination to the presbyterate. The friar who cares for this cabin near the lake asked if I would be willing to mow the lawn while I was up here, a task I enthusiastically embraced! Living sine proprio, without anything of my own, means that I rarely have the opportunity to do lawn work, this is in part because there are usually other friars more gifted in gardening and take on such tasks for the community.

I am certainly not a gardener. I love the outdoors, I love hiking, camping, swimming and walking amid the forests of the North East, but I’m not one to entrust with the planting, pruning and growing of anything. I did, however, spend a summer during college working for a landscaping company. One thing I am rather skilled at — if it is in fact a skill — is mowing lawns, trimming hedges and weed-wacking. Although I have mixed feelings about lawn mowing in general, largely because of the environmental concerns associated with motorized machinery for that purpose, I do enjoy the work itself. So after going for a run this afternoon, I went outside to cut the grass. The smell of the grass, the breeze off the lake, the sun shining above all contributed to my prayerful experience of afternoon lawn work.

As St. Francis famously wrote in his Canticle of the Creatures, each element of the created order gives glory and praise to God simply by being and doing what it is and does. The sun through shining, the wind through blowing, the grass through growing and the water by being water. I am grateful for the many ways in which creation brings me closer to our one Creator, and helps me to see the larger family of creation that includes the grass, water, air, sun and lowly me.

Photo: Dan Horan, OFM


  1. Did you know that Lake George was originally named “Lac du Saint Sacrament” by the Fr. Isaac Jogues, SJ in 1646. It’s appropriate that just prior to your ordination that you too would enjoy a week along the shores of the “Lake of the Blessed Sacrament.”

  2. Did you know that the lake was originally named “Lac Du Saint Sacrament,” by Fr. Isaac Jogues, SJ in 1646. It is probably divine coincidence that you are spending a week on the shores of the “Lake of the Blessed Sacrament” prior to your own ordination.

  3. I am about to commence my own retreat at Lake Champlain. You are quite welcome to come to my home in Alexandria any time to mow the grass though!

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