When the angel came and announced to Mary that she was to become the Mother of the Son of God, Mary must have marvelled at what was happening. So much of what God does remains at least partially a mystery to us and thus we stand in awe and wonder at the works of God in our lives. This awe and wonder marks us as human. It is only human beings of all that God has created who have the ability to reflect upon the meaning of their lives and thus recognise the marvellous things that God has done, is doing and will do in our lives.

This awe and wonder is essential to our human nature. We live in a world that is very quickly consuming itself in a frenzy of ‘doing things!’ If a particular action is not ‘useful,’ that is, not producing something good that can be seen to be adding to our material wealth, there is a strong tendency to dismiss the act as a waste of time and not worthy of consideration. This is a terribly warped view of humanity!!

The ancient and medieval philosophers agreed that the fact of human existence is prior and more important than our ability to or actually doing anything. This seems to be rather obvious if we consider the fact that if we do not exist then it is not possible to do anything at all! However, from the enlightenment onwards, we seem to have lost sight of the primacy of being over doing and begun to focus upon doing rather than being. In this we get caught up in the never-ending cycle of materialism and secular humanism. Humanity becomes the highest ideal and we are focused upon our humanity, which for all intents and purposes of modern philosophy comes to an end with death, as the guiding light and principle of life.

We have lost the ability to wonder at the beauty of our creation and replaced it with a mechanistic and scientific understanding of life in which, mystery, awe and wonder have little or even no part to play. This is the tragedy of modern humanity.

When was the last time you stood on the top of a hill and looked out at the beauty of creation and stood in awe and wonder at the greatness and majesty of God?

Lord Jesus, do not let me lose the desire or ability to wonder and marvel at your goodness to me. Help me to slow down a little and thus leave aside the modern day addiction to always be doing something in order to enter into the rest of true reflection and prayer.