Every day millions of people check the weather forecast to organize their activities and plan for the future. It's a habit we can also apply to our spiritual life.
Weather forecasts often top viewer ratings. So many people the world over want to know every day what the weather will be like tomorrow. For some, checking the forecast is a professional necessity, since many sectors, like agriculture and tourism, are truly “weather dependent.” For others, whom we speak of as “weather sensitive,” health may be influenced by the weather. And then there are those who develop a real addiction to the forecast. Indeed, specialists recognize the existence of an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) linked to a constant checking of weather reports. The “forecast addict” tunes in several times a day to the forecast, behavior that reveals a certain level of anxiety. Whether harmful or not, it can speak volumes about a person’s spiritual life and their relationship to God.
A gauge of our degree of trust in God
There is indeed a virtue linked to the cardinal virtue of temperance: studiousness. It concerns the wise acquisition of science and seeks to regulate the legitimate desire for knowledge. Two vices — either by default or excess — oppose this virtue: neglect of the duty to learn what it’s necessary to know, and curiosity about what is not. “The Christian is called to journey through life in the spirit of God who assists and guides us in making decisions in accord with the heart of God … In the Gospels, we find ourselves confronted by another spirit, which is opposed to the spirit of God: the spirit of curiosity. It leads us to want to become masters of God’s plans, of the future, of things, to know everything, to seize hold of everything,” said Pope Francis in 2013.
Our relationship to the weather, obsessive or not, can thus reveal the degree of our trust in God. “Weather-mania” can be indicative of our need to control everything, to foresee everything, to master the future. It can be symptomatic of a deeper evil: the difficulty or refusal to truly abandon oneself to Divine Providence. The Catechism teaches that:
By His providence, God protects and governs all things which he has made, “reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well” … The solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history. (CCC 302-303)
In this sense, the weather is part of God’s plan, and our relationship to it is a barometer of our relationship of trust — or lack of trust — in God’s goodness. It can be a gauge of our faith in finely-balanced Providence, which causes all things to work for the good of those He loves.
Father Nicolas Buttet