A tree gives grandeur to God by existing as a tree. It is by being just a tree that it is observing Him. It consents to His creative love. This tree, it is an expression of an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God. It is by expressing itself as a tree that it imitates God.
The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him. If it tried to be something else that it was never intended to be, it would be less like God, and therefore it would give Him less majesty.
There are no two created beings that carry exact likeness. Individuality should not be considered imperfection. On the contrary, the perfection of each created thing is not merely an adaptive style to its abstract type but in its own individual identity with itself. This particular tree will give glory to God by spreading its roots far and wide, it will raise its limbs into the air and it will seek the light of life in a way that no other tree before it or after it will ever do.
Each particular being, in its individuality, in its distinct nature and being, with all its own features and reserved abilities and its own sacrosanct identity, gives grandeur to God by being precisely what He wants it to be here and now, in the circumstances designed by His Love and His endless Art.
The formulae and certain charismas of all living and cultivating things, of inanimate beings, of beasts and blossoms—in reality all nature—constitute their holiness in the vision of God. Their inward landscape is purity in its simplest form. It is the blueprint of His wisdom and His existence in them.
The unique awkward beauty of this Shetland pony, floundering in the snow saturated dirt on this chilly last day of November under these swelling clouds is a holiness blessed by God to His own creative wisdom and the glory of His nature at work, it alone asserts the glory of God.
These yellowed pale wildflowers along the side of this path that I am walking as we speak, the ones that most hardly ever notice, they are saints in their own simple way, grasping for the grandeur of God.
This leaf in my hand has its own roughness and its own ascending fractal pattern of veins, which characterizes its own holy nature, the brook trout hiding in the depths of this river are canonized by their specific speckled beauty and their strength.
This great, wounded, half-naked mountain that looms ahead of me is one of God’s most majestic works of art. There is no one thing like her. She is her own character—nothing else in the world ever did or ever will imitate God in the same way. That is her sanctity.
What about you? What about me?
Unlike the animals, the trees, and all of these inanimate beings, it is not enough for us to be what our nature intends. It is not enough for us to be individuals. For us unfortunately, holiness means more than humanity. If we are never anything but people, we will not be able to offer to God the worship of our imitation, which is sanctity.
It is considered a truth to say that for me sanctity consists in being myself and for you sanctity consists in being your self and that, in the last consideration, your sanctity will never be mine and mine will never be yours, except in the collectivism of charity and grace.
For me to be me means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self. And I must be honest, the more I place my eyes upon His scripted garden, the more I pray, I am coming to discover who I was meant to be. But it is true that I still must walk this path, and it is also correct that this path is a lifelong journey, but I take pleasure in the beauty that I see and the beauty of His will that awaits me.
Trees and animals do not latch on to the same problems as we do. God makes them what they are without consulting them and they live in the perfection of satisfaction.
With us it is entirely different. God leaves us to be whatever we like. We can be ourselves or not, as we please. We are at liberty to be real, or to be unreal. We may be true, we may be false, and that choice is ours.
Throughout life we may wear many different masks, if we so desire, and never emerge from our own true identity. But this is a choice that must not be made with impunity. Causes carry effects, and if we lie to ourselves and to others, then we cannot expect to find the truth and its reality whenever we happen to want them. If one chooses the way of falsity one must not come to be surprised when the truth eludes them when they come to need it.
Our purpose is not to simply be, but to work together in the collective sense with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny. We are beings built from the freedom God so graciously gave us. By this I mean to say that we should not passively exist, but actively possess the awareness to participate in His creative freedom, in our own lives, and in the lives of others, by choosing the truth.
To say it even better, we are called to share with God the work of creating the truth of our existence in our true identity. We often evade this responsibility by toying with masks, and this does please us because it appears at times to be a free and creative way of expressing life. It is quite easy and it will seem to please everyone. But in the long run, it may carry a cost and sorrow may saturate in the depths your soul.
We must work out our own identity in God, in which the Bible says as follows:
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
Philippians 2 : 12
To find our own identity is a laborious task that requires sacrifice and anguish, risks and many tears. It demands close attention to reality at every moment, and great fidelity to God as He reveals Himself via obscurity, in the secrecy of each new situation.
There is no clear-cut path that lies ahead of me and it is not known beforehand what the result of this work may be. The secret of my whole identity is hidden in You alone. You will make me who I am, or rather who I will be when at last I fully begin to walk in Your presence.
But unless I desire my identity and work hard to find it with You, the work will never be done. The way I must do it is a secret I can learn from no one else but You. There is no shortcut to this secret without faith in You. But I now know that prayer is a precious gift that is never fleeting, and it alone has begun to enable me to see and begin to understand the work that You want done.
The seeds that this tree has planted in my liberty at every moment, by Your will, are the seeds of my identity, my reality, my happiness, and most important my sanctity.
To refuse them is to refuse everything; it is the refusal of my existence, of my own identity, of my very own self. So I will not refuse them, instead I shall water them with Your will.