Parish Office
16150 St. Anthony Rd.
Emmitsburg, MD. 21727
Phone: 301-447-2367


How does God speak
to us 'from the pulpit?'

Those who hold leadership positions within religious communities, (whether those communities be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc.), often “speak” to their people “from the pulpit.” It is a formal way that a community reflects on the word of God as they experience it, as they “hear” that word. When I was asked to write some reflections “From the Pulpit,”

I asked myself - “How does God speak to us 'from the pulpit?'” What, indeed, is the pulpit for God? As God is infinite in mercy, grace, presence - so too are the ways in which God speaks to us. God’s pulpit is the world in which we live, the earth that sustains that world - and the people who live in it. With this in mind, I choose to reflect on the beauty of the earth - at a beautiful time of year. 

Each year in October, I take time to go “leafing.” I spend time alone or with friends simply driving to wonderful places where the glorious autumnal colors are alive and “proclaiming” the glory of God - or places that are simply beautiful - whether they have colors or not. It is an activity that I find prayerful - for it is a time when I simply sit back, look and experience that God, in all his goodness, has given us this beautiful world - and for no other reason than love. Certainly we have some beautiful places in our own back yard here in the Emmitsburg area. But we also have close to us the more mountainous parts of Western Maryland and West Virginia that offer so much by way of natural beauty. State and county lines do not give borders to the beauty in which we are immersed! Beauty is everywhere - and it reminds us that God is as well!

Two things about this season and this time of year emerge from my own experience of the beauty I see around us. First - beauty is a pulpit for God. It is the way God addresses us, the way God speaks to us. It is the presence of God here and now. Our eyes, our ears, our touch, our taste - all our senses participate in beauty and allow us to experience the very presence of God in our present - for God is the source of all that is beautiful. Autumnal beauty can be sensed through our eyes as we look upon the changing leaves and “taste” with our eyes the feast that is set before us.

Second - this season teaches us something about death. Death is not our enemy - but rather it is the natural course that all living things take on and embrace. Death will come to all of us. The question that the person of faith faces, however, is the question, “what happens after death - or even because of death?” And that answer God gives us in another season. The person of faith trusts that that season will come. Even in the midst of tragedy; even when our world seems marred by the senseless violence of a sniper, or rumors of war, or terrorism in our midst - even so, this season invites us to trust that God speaks to us in beauty and invites us to trust in a time, a place, a world where beauty and life are victorious. And - here, in this season that has much to do with a time of dying, we are given such a beautiful invitation - to see, to realize, the hear God speak to us.

A Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, said it so well - “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” It is a grandeur that is given a voice in a symphony of colors - all of which join in a visual chorus of praise to a creator who loves us so much that he turns death into life.