BY KAYA OAKES | March 25, 2015
Today’s Readings 

Lent Header FINAL

Mojave_CoyoteDryLakeHere in California, as we enter another spring after another winter of drought, signs of life are nonetheless around us.

Surprise: the plants still grow. Surprise: leaves are coated in beaded condensation in the morning. Surprise: snowmelt trickles down the mountains, through the valleys, and into urban creeks that creep underground, in cities where life looks flat and concrete-coated. This is Mary’s surprise, the startling, flashing revelation of unexpected life. “May it be done to me.”

By June, the hills will no longer be green; they will be golden. Wildfires will come; the hills will be scarred black and brown. We will ration what little water we have, for the sake of what surrounds us, and for one another. We will drink and be aware of the life it gives us. We will give up, in order to give. “May it be done to me.”

Reflection questions:

  • When has nature taken you by surprise?
  • What, in the natural world, do you most often take for granted, and how can you be more attentive to it?

Kaya Oakes teaches writing at UC Berkeley. Her fourth book, on seeking, doubt, faith and “Nones,” will be published by Orbis Books in 2015. She is a contributing writer to America Magazine, Commonweal, and the National Catholic Reporter, and a contributing editor and writer at the website Killing the Buddha.

1 reply
  1. Frank O'Brien
    Frank O'Brien says:

    Surprise? Yes, but the surprise is personal to me. There are things within my reach I can do to make a more attractive world, simple things. Lobby for rules on closed recycling containers so debris does not blow around, find out where our water comes from and tell my neighbors, find out about recycling versus landfills, somehow make government more accountable. Is the US government too big to be responsible to our concerns, where everything has to be researched to death, and then we can’t decide? Surprise and hope go together, and maybe there are answers?
    Do these musings of mine really constitute prayer and meditation? I hope so.
    I have hope every morning for these reflections, but will they continue after 40 days? Hope so!
    I have hope every morning for


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