The Mere Joy of Living

August 19, 2011

By Father Carl Hawver, O.F.M.
Chaplain for the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg Franciscan Center, Oldenburgh, Indiana

FATHER CARL HAWVER VISITS GUSTAVUS Sunday, July 24, 2011—While serving in the Diocese of Juneau this summer, Father Carl Hawver, second from right, a Franciscan priest “borrowed” from Indiana, visited the Catholic community in Gustavus, Alaska. He enjoys visiting with the folks, offering Mass, delighting in their hospitality and sharing his own “joy of living.” (Photo courtesy of Denise Healy)

Where I come from in southeast Indiana, between Indianapolis and Cincinnati, peonies appear in the springtime of early to mid-May. Here in Juneau, on a recent July morning, a gift of that early day stood outside my bedroom window, catching me by surprise… a good-sized peony bud!

How can this be, I asked myself—this is mid-July! And blustering to the window, “Why everyone knows that peonies bloom in May!” This morning, “sister peony” stood open to the radiant sunshine in all her fullness! And, just eastward, as the earth cascades beyond that fullness—glorious mountains loaded with tall pine trees! And at their base, the Gastineau Channel rippled while exquisite cruise ships rested as sentinels of summer, bringing travelers northwest for the seasonal treasures of summer-in-Alaska—peonies included.

I join in tribute to the One who makes all creation possible: “Let all your works praise you, O God, let all your works praise and exalt you above all, forever!”


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