Yesterday, I had to drive to Fort Wayne to present our banking offer to a parish finance council. It’s a two hour drive each way. After I was done presenting, the kindly pastor walked me out to my car. He asked which way I was going home and I told him I planned on taking the conventional route through Warsaw. He mentioned that when he was driving back and forth a lot, he liked to change it up and take different routes. As I got into my car, his comment got me thinking.

Seeing that it was a beautiful evening, I decided to add some minutes to my return trip and take the back roads through the beautiful Indiana countryside. It was a good decision.

Whenever I drive alone, I almost always pray the rosary. Prayer sets the stage for a true encounter with Our Lord. It opens my eyes and my heart. Very quickly, my trip back to South Bend turned into a leisurely tour as I was absolutely overwhelmed by the beauty of God’s creation. I slowed the car down quite a bit. Rolled down all of my windows. Gratitude welled up in my heart. I stopped and got out of the car several times to take a photo or a deep breath of the fertile country air. I’d stand perfectly still and listen to the soft wind blow. I imagine that it was a glimpse of heaven.

Recently I was visiting somewhere and an amateur baker had made a beautiful and elaborate cake. The creator of the cake was so excited to show me her creation that she gushed with a touching childlike purity. I remember thinking how beautiful was her countenance as she enthusiastically detailed the process. I was moved by this and pondered that cake a lot longer than I normally would. Somehow I knew intuitively that that cake deserved exceptional respect. In appreciating the cake to it’s fullest extent, I was likewise affirming the goodness of its creator. I could tell that it made her very happy for me to pay attention like this. In sharing her creative process, she was sharing a bit of herself.

This encounter reminded me of the deep desire of the human heart to share beauty, the desire of a person to have his or her artistic creations noticed, appreciated, and enjoyed. Whether it be a cake, a craft, or a cabinet, everyone revels in the pleasure of seeing another person take interest in what they have created.

Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. When it comes to artistic creations, God is no different than the baker of a cake. One of the easiest prayers we can pray to the Creator of the Universe is simply to notice, appreciate, and enjoy His creation. That’s it. So simple.

Sometimes in order to pray, all we have to do is to respond with praise, and gratitude for the wonders of God’s creation. I believe praying in this way makes God very happy. It also makes me very happy. But to respond in this way, we have to be paying attention. Are you?

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1)