By Karen Sheehy
O Lord, my God, you are great indeed! You are clothed with majesty and glory, robed in light as with a cloak. All creatures look to you to give them food in due time. When you give it to them, they gather it; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you send forth your spirit, they are created. And you renew the face of the earth (Psalm 104: 1-2A, 27-28, 30).
Have you ever longed for your own little spiritual oasis or garden paradise? About two years ago, as I was adjusting to life as an empty nester, I unexpectedly lost both of my dogs within a thirty-day time period. It was then that I found the current confines of life simply too quiet for my restless soul.
I went to the nearest Adoration chapel to ponder my soul’s restless desires. There, I heard, “forty days and forty nights.” Immediately, I pictured Jesus’ forty days in the desert prior to His three-year ministry. Still confused, I asked, “What are you saying, Lord?” In response, He said, “Come to Me and I will give you rest. Come to Me and I will strengthen you. Come to Me and I will show you the way.” Therefore, with the blessing of my husband, I set out on my own forty-day sojourn in search of paradise here on earth.
Visiting over twelve National Parks, located throughout America’s southwest and western coastline, I searched for inspiration amidst God’s natural beauty. Although the refreshing desert springs, bubbling mountain streams, wind blown grasses, ocean waves, daily hikes and varied wildlife provided emotional and physical inspiration, they failed to provide spiritual rest and illumination.
Along the way, I visited many Catholic churches as well, including St. Mary’s, Our Lady of the Mountains, and The Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was in the house of the Lord, surrounded by the water and winds of the Holy Spirit, that I found my garden paradise. While praying the rosary, adoring the Eucharist, and attending Mass, I finally heard the consoling words of God and understood, “Hidden treasures are revealed to those with eyes to see. Come to me for healing waters. Welcome My Spirit, for there, you will find My love. I am with you always, trust in Me.”
Forty days later, I returned home, filled with the Holy Spirit and hopeful about life’s promised glory! Filled with gratitude, I embraced my husband, and simply placed my trust in God. Throughout life’s ups and downs, I continue to visit my own little paradise here on earth, for in my forty-day sojourn, I had found the true “garden” tabernacle of the Lord.
The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).
About the Author:
Karen Sheehy is a devout Catholic, wife and mother, motivational speaker, blogger and developer of spiritualsafariguide.com, your passport to a world of spiritual inspiration and understanding. To learn more about Karen Sheehy and her upcoming book entitled, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love, visit http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com