1415. Imagination is the soul’s happiest retreat. ~James Lendall Basford

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health,
and quiet breathing.
~John Keats

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The human body needs one kind of nourishment, while the spirit needs to be fed in other ways. One of the needs of the spirit is beauty, and nature’s vast array of beauty has a way of strengthening and healing body and soul. Creation is a place to “play in and pray in,” and when we spend time in earth’s sanctuaries, we gain a better perspective of what’s really important as our senses are heightened and ordered. Rachel Carson alleged that “those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life,” and as Keats said, our breathing becomes quieter in such places. Quieted and slow breathing does indeed promote a sense of well being and induce a healthy state of mind. Also, when we are alone with the Lord in any of nature’s settings, it is easy to feel His presence. More importantly if we listen carefully when in the midst of the natural world’s profound silences, we can hear Him speak to us.

God made the forests, the tiny stars, and the wild winds–
and I think that He has made them partly as a
balance for that kind of civilization that would
choke the spirit of joy out of our hearts.
He made the great open places for people who want
to be away from the crowds that kill all reverence.
And I think He is glad at times to have us forget our cares
and responsibilities so that we may be nearer Him–
as Jesus was when He crept away into the wilderness to pray.
~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. -Mark 1:35 ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

 

 

1045. No matter how much we try to run away from this thirst for the answer to life, for the meaning of life, the intensity only gets stronger and stronger. We cannot escape these spiritual hungers. ~Ravi Zacharias

Imagine, for example, birds.
When they look out at the world,
they have a sense that they are alive.
If they are in pain, they can do something about it.
If they have hunger or thirst, they can satisfy that.
It’s this basic feeling that there is
life ticking away inside of you.
~Antonio Damasio,
Professor of Neuroscience at UCLA

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I had such a longing for virtue, for company.
I wanted Christ to be as close as the cross I wear.
I wanted to read and serve, to touch the altar linen.
Instead I went back to the woods where
not a single tree turns its face away.

Instead I prayed, oh Lord, let me be
something useful and unpretentious.
Even the chimney swift sings.
Even the cobblestones have a task to do, and do it well.
Lord, let me be a flower, even a tare; or a sparrow.
Or the smallest bright stone in a ring worn by someone
brave and kind, whose name I will never know.
~Mary Oliver

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. ~Matthew 5:6  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie