Monday, December 17, 2007


God is so good! Who could ever think that his attention to detail would encompass even the beautiful, golden-ringed eye of a seagull and who would think that he would make it possible to watch its snowy-white head, first at one angle and then at another as, in turn, it watched me, hoping for some food?

Jonathon, for we have named him after Jonathon Livingstone Seagull, has begun to stand on the window ledge of our office at Vatican Radio, peering through the window. He’s much larger at close quarters than he would appear when his broad wings suddenly spread and lazily take him over the buildings on either side of the Via delle Conciliazione. Sometimes he soars over the Tiber. Sometimes he merely circles before our admiring gaze. He is beautiful.

On occasion, Jonathon will even take food from an outstretched hand. For sure, we all know that, as with other seagulls, he is greedy, but there is something almost magical in the way he waits, judging his security before he stretches out his beak for a piece of bread or a biscuit. Yes, we know that bread and biscuits are not the normal food for a seagull, but the food is offered almost in grateful homage for the unique privilege that Jonathon offers: a completely wild and free bird coming to share our lives for a moment. Even as he stands for our admiration, he makes sounds that none of us knew to be part of a gull’s repertoire. There are not only the high-pitched cries so typical of the species, but also gentle noises that cannot be heard from a distance: a soft, mewing that has its own beauty and peacefulness.

This morning, Jonathon had a companion, an immature bird still marked with some of the dusty-brown freckles of youth. The newcomer tried to take its share of food, but was driven away by the older, stronger, Jonathon. It was a treat to watch the brief squabble. Neither bird was hurt and, as they overbalanced from the narrow ledge, we were rewarded by the sight of a double beauty circling and soaring before the window.

God is so good! There is such beauty around us, if only we can be patient. Jonathon would never have come into our lives had it not been for Linda’s gentleness that made the first overtures. Gentleness and beauty can transform the mundane and the ordinary into the exciting and the extraordinary if only we have the patience.

God bless,
Sr. Janet