Where do you see God in everyday life? A gorgeous sunset? A note from a friend? The joyful sound of children laughing?
Sacred Beauty involves noticing the signs God has left us this side of heaven through the sacraments, sacramentals, and artistic treasures of the Church as well as the natural beauty of creation. The wonder and awe it elicits for God's infinite majesty naturally finds its response in loving Jesus lavishly by pouring ourselves out, giving Him the best we are possibly able to give in return.
Beauty in the Brambles
There's beauty all around us...but it doesn't always feel that way. Tragedies in our families and the world seem to drown out any shred of brightness in our lives.
That's the beauty of Sacred Beauty - God's goodness does not rely on how we feel.
It is hauntingly beautiful that the place where Jesus would go to rest (Bethany) was connected to the place where He would endure such agony (Gethsemane). The parallels are similar: Sacred Beauty is not just for augmenting the good times, but also a reminder of God's continual love and presence in the bad.
Jesus therefore came to Bethany...Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair.
For Martha, beauty was knocking herself out to make an unforgettable meal for Our Lord and His guests. Her creativity bubbles over into the intricate meal. Likewise, Mary's beauty finds its outlet in breaking open the jar of expensive oil to anoint our Lord while she could, while He was still with them.
Maybe you don't feel gifted in "traditional" artistic talents like art, music, poetry, and the like, but you can still offer the beauty of your life to God by giving Him the very best of the gifts He's bestowed upon you.
Do you allow Jesus' creativity to shine through you, lifting others' eyes to Him through your work?
God has implanted a sense of the truly and authentically beautiful in the human soul, and cultivating that beauty encourages healthy growth in our life's journey. God's Sacred Beauty can keep us from vice and in the pursuit of virtue because it brings peace to our restless souls as we cling to the true, the good, and the beautiful.
What is the alabaster jar that you break for Our Lord to fill the world with His blessed fragrance? And how trained is your eye to see the jars that others have broken to fill the world with beauty that points back to Him?
I was blessed to be a part of this beautiful documentary, Masterpieces, on how art can be used to serve God. View the film here.
How to Find Beauty
Maybe your story doesn't feel beautiful. Perhaps trials and struggles have left you feeling blind to the wonder of life around you.
As a trained author and poet who experienced tragedy at a young age, I have come to discover how beauty and suffering can coexist. Whatever your story, however painful, be assured that God always leaves signs and symbols of beauty along the way of brokenness.
I wrote Sacred Braille as an introduction to training the eye to see these everyday beauties. The Rosary is Sacred Braille in that it is a miraculous juxtaposition of a language of prayer we can feel with our hands, joining word to touch. It is the Rosary to which our fingers may cling, as our flesh craves something tangible - and beautiful.