A few weeks ago, I went on a retreat up in the Rocky Mountains.  Autumn is a beautiful time in Colorado.  The aspen leaves are turning a beautiful shade of yellow and slowly falling off the trees.  I was able to go on a hike that Pope John Paul II hiked when he was in Colorado.  As I reflected on the beauty of the leaves covering the ground and trees, I was overcome with a sense of awe at the beauty of nature.  The gorgeous scenery around me was truly breathtaking, and as I reflected on the peace and order of nature, I realized what an amazing gift God has given us in the natural world.    

Each season has its own unique beauty.  Breathtaking golden aspen leaves mix with the gorgeous reds and yellows of other trees to form a beautiful landscape scenery, before falling, one by one, to the ground.  Autumn gives way to gorgeous winter mornings and pine trees covered with a blanket of pure, white, new-fallen snow.  Eventually, spring comes again, bringing with it new growth, flowers budding, and green plants bursting with life.  Soon, the warmth of the summer sun can be felt, along with the cool afternoon breeze that accompanies it.  Although the four seasons are not experienced this magnificently in every region of the world, every place on earth has its own natural wonders and beauties.  The natural world around us is constantly reflecting the glory of its Creator.

St. Paul tells us, “Ever since the creation of the world, [God’s] invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.” (Rm. 1:19-20)  God is glorified through His creation.  The immensely complex design of every new budding flower and each colorful autumn leaf shows the love of a God who created the world and everything in it for us.  With incredible care, He designed each detail, and combined them into a masterpiece of beauty.  And He didn’t need to create any of it.  He created all of it for us, so that we could enjoy it.  

The second chapter of Genesis paints a beautiful picture of God creating man and planting the Garden of Eden for him, filling it with various plants and animals, all for him!  Everything else that is created exists for the man’s sake.  God tells Adam and Eve, “Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.” (Gn. 1:28)  Through this command, God gives humanity a great blessing, and also a great responsibility.  We are called to be wise stewards of creation, to use nature to glorify God, and to truly care about the beautiful world that surrounds us.  It is important for us to appreciate the wonderful creation that surrounds us and to use the resources of the earth wisely.  We should always remember the great blessing that God has given us to enjoy in the glory of nature.