Barb Spies, OFS, Director of Mission Services and Pastoral Care

I received a text early one morning from a friend: “When you sit at the beach at 5 am, There is no way you could believe there isn’t a god. And if you’re careful, you can see beauty in so many strange places.” Consider a time that you were so struck by the beauty of what you saw around you that you can mark and recall that moment with clarity. It might have been the face of a loved one, the blooming flowers in the garden, a building with ornate architecture, a stunning piece of art. What is it that defines beauty for you?

St. Clare of Assisi wrote in her fourth letter to Agnes of Prague: “Happy indeed is she to whom it is given to drink at this sacred banquet, so that she might cling with her whole heart to him whose beauty all the blessed hosts of heaven unceasingly admire.” Thomas of Celano wrote about St. Francis: “In art he praises the Artist; whatever he discovered in creatures he guides to the Creator. He rejoices in all the works of the Lord’s hands, and through their delightful display he gazes on their life-giving reason and cause. In beautiful things he discerns Beauty Itself; all good things cry out to him: ‘The One who made us is Best.’” When we admire creation, we also admire the Creator. Sr. Mary Beth Ingham tells us, “Creation represents a mode of invitation, a gift from the hand of the divine Artist. Such a gift sparks human desire and longing, and delights the human heart.”

Let’s take the time to learn to notice beauty. We might find beauty in the way the lake wears down glass to make it a treasure. Beauty can be in the natural world, in the people we see, and even in ourselves. My response to my friend’s text message the other morning about the beauty seen at dawn on Lake Michigan was simply, “You’re beautiful.” Let the beauty around you cause you to rejoice and to change the way you relate to creation and to the people you encounter each day.

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