“Let us go forth to see ourselves in Thy beauty.”
Yes, a little tiny human embryo has an immortal soul, infused into it by God at conception.
Of all the wonders of the world, of all that is pleasing to the eye, of all that the ear can hear, there is nothing , one as beautiful as the soul of a human person. The human person is more beautiful than any other created thing in existence. When one speaks of beauty it could be in reference to many different aspects of the universe; however in His master plan of creation, we know that God saves the best for last. In His perfect genius, God creates man in His own image and likeness. Therefore man must be beautiful because man is fashioned to be in the image and likeness of Beauty Himself. The soul is beautiful, not in view of vogue standards, but in the sense of the truest beauty of all its creation to be like the Creator.
If only the whole world would realize that human embryos already have their immortal souls.
One can see the snow-capped Alps and ski down the facade of many a mountain, or view the magnanimous cascade of Niagara Falls. The human ear can delight in the sounds of symphonies that enchant the heart. From Broadway plays to Austrian symphonies, to philharmonics across the world, one can savor the sweetness of their beauty. Many a person delights in the majesty of St. Peter’s Basilica and wades through the watery streets of Venice to see the gilded countenance of St. Mark’s Cathedral. Thousands of eyes marvel at the peaks of the Appellation and Adirondack mountain tops and experience the massive chasm of the Canyon that is Grand. Often a person is found speechless when gazing upon the walls of the Louvre, but nothing, absolutely nothing compares to the soul of the human person who knows these beauties. Man’s beauty unrepeatable and incommunicable is so unique that the reflection of God’s beauty, is seen within it.
Within their mother’s womb, beautiful little human beings, composed of body and soul, are developing.
Gazing into the eyes of a newborn infant and looking deeply into the little face, one marvels at the beauty present in this little person. However, sometimes there are moments in life when beauty is hard to see in the people around us. It seems as though a veil is between our eyes and the true beauty that lies within the people we encounter. This effect of original sin keeps man from noticing his neighbor in the fullest sense. Yet there are moments when grace breaks through and all of a sudden, God reveals the beauty of a person. One can then see more clearly the true depth of soul, the splendor of the person.
When love strikes the heart of a lover, the eyes are able to see a bounteous beauty that perhaps was not as apparent before. Our ability to see the beauty of people is quite fickle. In fact, it comes and goes with the winds of emotion. God’s sight of man’s beauty is totally consistent. He knows the beauty that He creates and holds that very beauty in existence.
Tragically many a soul does not realize its beauty. We live in a world in which many people are not rooted in love and underestimate their own worth. Souls are sullen and often unaware of the unique and precious gift of their person. One such elderly woman, who is struggling with severe dementia, refuses to believe me when I tell her she is beautiful. She tells me I am crazy, and that is true. Fools for Christ are striving to see past externals and pierce the depth of the soul to glimpse its truest beauty. On a Christmas day, the Sisters sang for Mary—not her real name, who resides at a skilled nursing center, and she began to remember the words of “O Holy Night.” Becoming very excited, she sang one of the lines, “and the soul felt its worth!” For a moment my heart paused, and then I cried. This woman whom our society would deem “worthless” sang boldly the beauty of her worth. It is the very message that Christ brings on every Christmas day. The beauty of the soul who knew her worth, even for a moment, will ever live on in my heart.
Sidewalk counseling is a type of ministry that is a last attempt to save the life of a child that is about to be aborted. One stands outside of an abortion clinic and gently pleads with the mother as she approaches the doors of the clinic. It is a ministry that I was able to participate in before entering the convent. One cold, Friday morning in Pittsburgh, I stood ready to convince a young woman of the possible tragedy, when all of a sudden a young woman twenty years old walked out of the building, crying out for love. With her eyes streaming with tears, she said to me, “I just couldn’t do it. I just saw the first ultra-sound … .”
Her words are permanently etched in my soul. Not having much to say (because God had already done the work of grace in her) I started to cry and simply embraced her. She saw the beauty within her own beauty. She recognized the soul that God had made in her very own body and she chose life! There was never a greater moment for me to realize that life is the ultimate gift that God gives. I was overjoyed that she was able to forget herself and live for the other soul within her womb. This is the choice of the beauty of the human person.
Everyone has a depth of beauty that is unlocked as the soul becomes more and more one with God. The reflection of God’s beauty is soon seen through their eyes. A perfect example of this is Saint Teresa of Calcutta. No one argues that this woman was anything that our modern society would call beautiful. Somehow, through all the wrinkles, she revealed to those around her the great love of God. The smile that she shares still brings joy to all mankind. It is the union of her soul to God that increases her beauty.
In stanza thirty six of the Spiritual Canticle, Saint John of the Cross says, “Let us go forth to see ourselves in Thy beauty.”
We must constantly strive to see the beauty of every person around us. We are called to grow in the beauty of holiness which makes us more and more like God. See in the people around you souls linked to the Almighty Father who sees and knows all their wounds and all their heartaches. It is the call of every Christian to reach out in love to those who are broken and who do not know their beauty. Help others around you to know their worth and their beauty. There is nothing more valuable than the people who are here with us on the journey to the Promised Land. Through the beauty of people, we experience the love of the Father and the gift of His beauty. The next time you see a glorious sunset or a mountain that moves you to tears, look into the eyes of a loved one and see the greater beauty there.
by Sister Shawn Pauline O.C.D.
Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles
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