As much as I hate the cold, I really do miss snow. Since moving to Texas, my apartments have only seen snow 3 times, and I wasn’t there for any of them. It is a fun sight to see when the people of south Texas get snow because it’s usually only a dusting, but they get SO EXCITED! They close everything and lose their minds. The pure joy they get from the tiniest traces is just so beautiful. Most of them didn’t grow up with this yearly experience like I did in the Midwest.
Though I enjoy the view of snow, last week I heard a horrifying thing on the news. The area around the Great Lakes was to get up to THREE FEET OF SNOW this last weekend.
That is an absurd amount of snow. I don’t know if I would enjoy the look of it if there was that much. My favorite type of snow is when there is like 6 inches. It covers everything in a perfectly even pure white blanket. The place you grew up, the place you thought you knew has now been transformed into this peaceful white wonderland. The pure white is BLINDING! I don’t know if 3 feet of snow would seem like a peaceful wonderland…
Recently I learned why the snow is so blinding. It turns out that snow has the highest albedo of any naturally occurring substance on Earth. Albedo is the percentage of reflectivity (of light) off the surface of an object. Snow reflects 90% of the sun’s light that shines on it.
This coming Sunday’s gospel is the story of the transfiguration. In this passage it says, “And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.” (Matthew 17:2) This got me thinking about how beautiful that must have been. If I marvel at the beauty of a fresh snow, how much more in awe would I be at the sight of the glorified Lord?
If you went to Mass on Ash Wednesday, you received ashes on your forehead and as they were drawn, the priest or minister said something. (I found out there are multiple options, but…) The most common phrase is,
“Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return."
As we are marked with ashes we are reminded in multiple ways of our death, and many outside of the Catholic Church find this weird and creepy. But if you understand what Catholics believe happens after death, the Ash Wednesday service can be so beautiful. Just imagine it, the beauty of a fresh snow, times infinity, FOR ETERNITY! This is what awaits us in the glory of heaven.
We are currently a week into Lent. During this time leading up to Christ’s death and resurrection, we are called upon to reflect on our own death, anticipating the promise of heaven. What in our life are we doing so that we can stay on this path to heaven? What things are leading us away from this path? When our death comes, will we be eternally joined with the magnificence and glory of the resurrected Christ? I hope so, but I’m also re-examining my life to try to make sure I do all I can to help it happen.
Lord have mercy on us. Christ have mercy on us. Lord have mercy on us.