May 2016

Our Feathered Friends

"The world would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang best.” Henry Van Dyke.  My friend Jean gave me a bird feeder for Christmas. I have discovered that there is nothing more relaxing, intriguing and spiritually refreshing than coming to know more intimately the feathered members of our community. As I gaze outside at this moment, I see an awe-inspiring sight. Finches, blue tits, siskens, redpolls, robins and dunnocks are bouncing about, chirping, warbling, twittering, exploding into song and filling the atmosphere with colour, joy, wonder, energy and vitality. They symbolize the very soul of freedom. Birds have their own personalities with their strengths and weaknesses. Some are expressive, flirtatious, agile, capricious, resourceful, while others are shy, watchful, aggressive, territorial and fearful. Jesus asks us to "Look air at the birds of the air.”  In other words, He is telling us to contemplate them, share our lives with them, learn from their wisdom and join them in their hymns of praise. Like everything else in nature, they are brimming over with the presence of the Divine, expressing so simply and beautifully, their part of the story of the universe. They are the harbingers of each new day with a cheerful song to greet us. They faithfully fulfill their mission of dispersing seeds, pollinating plants and recycling nutrient back to earth. Their diminishing numbers and quality of life show when we lack ecological responsibility. Our indiscriminate use of toxic produce and other pollutants have a serious impact on their life. We must be grateful to our feathered friends for helping us transcend the humdrum of everyday life as they inspire us to let our imagination fly, experience new horizons, reach greater heights and create song, poetry and beautiful paintings. They are fascinating creatures and can make incredible flights across thousands of miles, as they respond to a mysterious inner call. They remind us of all who have to emigrate, more often than not, under harsh circumstances. Their joyous happy nature makes us more sensitive to the paralyzing pain, fear and confusion experienced by so many, both locally and globally. We are called to live each moment fully, responding to the needs of others with empathy and compassion while sharing the spiritual uplift, beauty and song provided freely by our feathered friends. "A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” Maya Angelou"

Catherine O' Sullivan IJS  Coolea

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