Beauty of the Soul

“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.

To learn more about the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, read their biography below and visit their website.

We encourage you to support the work of the sisters with your prayers and through donations and planned giving. Click here to learn more..

If you hear God calling you to the religious life, I encourage you to visit their vocations page. – Deacon Mike

Or for more information, please contact:
Sister Elizabeth Therese, O.C.D., Vocation Directress
920 East Alhambra Road
Alhambra, California 91801

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Promoting a Deeper Spiritual Life Among Families through Healthcare, Education and Retreats

The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles strive to give striking witness as a vibrant, thriving community of dedicated women with an all-consuming mission. It is our God-given mission, a mission of the heart, a mission of loving service to the poor, the sick, the needy and the uneducated. Our loving service overflows from each sister’s profound life of prayer. We strive to reflect His life and hope and His promise to all that light has come into our world and darkness has not overcome it.

A look at the history of our community, with its motherhouse in Alhambra, California, reveals how its life-giving presence has come about. During the beginning decades of the 1900s just as the epic Mexican revolution was subsiding, a ruthless religious persecution was gaining momentum in Mexico. This horrible persecution accompanied the birth and humble beginnings of our community, a legacy that Mother Luisita, our foundress, and her two companions brought with them as religious refugees entering the Unites States in 1927.

Those seeds planted by Mother Luisita, now a candidate for sainthood, have taken deep root in the United States since those early days. People and places have changed throughout the years, yet the heart of our mission remains. As an autonomous religious institute since 1983 we continue to carry out our loving service in our healthcare facilities, retreat houses and schools which remain to this day centers of life and hope. Today we are moving forward together “Educating for Life with the Mind and Heart of Christ” in schools, being “At the Service of the Family for Life” through health and eldercare and “Fostering a Deeper Spiritual Life” through individual and group retreats. At the heart of our vocation is a passionate mission of loving service which facilitates our life-giving encounter with the living God.

The heritage of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles is rooted in the spirituality of Carmel, the Gospels, the Church, with our particular charism derived from our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

In His merciful goodness, God has graced our Institute with the Carmelite charism which has its roots in a long history and living tradition. The spirituality of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross is rooted in this tradition. Carmel means enclosed garden in which God Himself dwells. The divine indwelling in the soul is the foundation of Teresa's doctrine. Thus our vocation is a grace by which contemplation and action are blended to become an apostolic service to the Church.

Our ideal finds a living expression in the life and charism of our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament, whose spirit we faithfully preserve and foster.

Our life is characterized by: - A life of prayer and union with God - A deep love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist - Devotion to our Blessed Mother - Steadfast fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church - Praying for priests - Commitment to works of the apostolate in ecclesial service

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