Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

A moth, a flower, a rabbit—and prayers of praise

By Lorraine V. Murray, Commentary | Published October 19, 2018

A burst of color caught my eye as I was walking to my car, so I took a detour and was stunned by the extravagance of a hibiscus, blooming quietly in a peaceful spot near the chapel.

Its center was a deep, glowing pink, with streaks emanating out to the petal edges, which were a spectacular orange.

The flower reminded me there are so many small, breathtakingly beautiful things in the world, which are fashioned by the divine artist.

As Psalm 104 proclaims, “How great are thy works, oh Lord! Thou has made all things in wisdom: the earth is filled with thy riches.”

Another day, there was a tiny green visitor on the front door, easily overlooked. As usual, I was rushing out of the house, on the way to some enormously important errand, which would soon become an item scratched off my endless list.

Something made me stop and take a closer look, and there it was, a humble moth clinging to the screen and perhaps wondering about the lumbering object bending down to get a closer look.

I was the only one in the world who saw that particular moth on the screen door, which is pretty amazing when you think about it. Just like sometimes when you’re alone and look out your window just as a leaf flutters to the ground.

You’re the only witness of this small event in the history of the universe. It’s nothing, really, and yet, in a way, it’s everything.

On my morning walks, I understand the psalmist’s enthusiasm about God’s creation, especially when I spot the occasional round, brown rabbit dining on clover in a neighbor’s yard.

In 1944 C.S. Lewis wrote a letter to his goddaughter, Sarah, telling her that he had befriended an old rabbit who lived in the nearby woods. “I pick leaves off the trees for him because he can’t reach up to the branches and he eats them out of my hand.”

As for rodents, which many people shrink from, Lewis had a different perspective, as he admitted in another letter. “Of those small animals, I think Hamsters are most amusing. And, to tell you the truth, I’m still fond of mice.”

A good nighttime prayer is thanking God for the blessings of each day. Sometimes we think this only means big things, like promotions at work, a shining doctor’s report or a visit from our best friend.

But so many small gifts come our way too. Maybe a stunning butterfly dances upon a flower, while a Carolina wren sings a solo and the sky is gracefully dappled with snow-white clouds. Maybe a rabbit becomes our friend.

It’s like God is saying, “Look at what I’ve done for you. Look at this astonishing world!” But how often we’re glued to a computer screen, grumbling about the latest news or checking social media.

A few days ago, I visited the flower again, but its vivid color was fading. I felt a little sad, but also grateful that I had witnessed its glory.

There are millions of events happening each day, which we may not notice, but God sees them. And perhaps, like any artist, he appreciates us taking a moment to admire his handiwork and say, “Wow! Thanks.”

And that simple statement can be a lovely prayer of gratitude and praise.

Artwork is by Jef Murray (“Telling the Tale” pencil sketch). Lorraine’s email address is