A year ago, in February, I was at the annual Pre-Lenten Women’s Retreat at Holy Resurrection in Tacoma, WA where the speaker was Kh. Krista West (The Opinionated Taylor on Ancient Faith Radio). Her talk was on Restoring the Image: Women, Beauty and the Church. This day was so eye opening for me and was a huge nudge to begin thinking about seeing beauty and how it relates to my relationship with Christ and being happy, joyful. The ability to see beauty everywhere, “to participate in the sacrament of love and beauty”, became a central desire.
Kh. Krista explained… (bold is my emphasis)
In Christ, the wall of separation between God and man is destroyed and the entire universe is fully, divinely integrated. In this way, man shares with Christ, (in the words of Philip Sherrard) “in that sacrament of love and beauty in which all things, released from their bondage, live, move and have their being. Outside this relationship…man has no real place in the world, or the world in him.” To be fully human, necessitates that we fully participate with God, and we do that through two truths:
- We recognize that the Incarnation of Christ is an eternal truth and has fundamental consequences for the cosmos— “the wall of separation is destroyed.”
- We are called to co-operate and participate in this Divine “sacrament of love and beauty” in our very physical, material, albeit sometimes messy world.
Our vocation in Christ is “to cooperate and participate in the Divine” and this virtually always involves cooperating and participating in beauty, in all it’s myriad forms, because we have a beautiful God. It is easy for our “image”, that understanding of ourselves as being made in the image of God, to become distorted.
I lack so much structure, which in turn brings chaos and ugliness. I let it overwhelm me and then I can’t seem to focus on anything else. But we are called to cooperate in the Divine, in beauty. Despite the lack of structure, I have a calling to “participate in the sacrament of love and beauty in our very physical, material… MESSY world.”
Let us open our eyes to the beauty all around us.
This beautiful picture I found at the goodwill sits in a window sill surrounded by chaos. I choose to focus on it. To let it remind me I must “bloom where I am planted”. There are little snippets of beauty like this all around us. Inside and outside.
I am ever so slowly peeling back the layers of chaos so I can more easily participate in the sacrament of love and beauty. But until then I am still called to cooperate and participate in the divine. Let us do this together. Let us encourage each other. I hope to share more with you about this retreat and what Kh. Krista taught me about beauty.
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Christ is Risen!