Monday, April 8, 2013

beauty

"What is it you want to change?
Your hair, your face, your body? Why?
For God is in love with all these things
and He might weep when they are gone."
St. Catherine of Siena

Sometimes, you just pity people. You observe them and see that they are walking around without the slightest inkling of their own greatness. "You are beautiful!" you want to tell them--yell. Like that goofy priest Nikki told you about at University of Dayton, who years ago would go up to students, get right in their faces, and say "Hey, you are the light of the world!"

You want to do that, sometimes. You want to be that slightly nutty. 

It happens on the bus ride home, on the metro  to work, on your daily walks, in your fitness class, at your office--anywhere that people are--this feeling of love, of tender compassion. You want to share it, hold it up on a sign for the entire world to see, hand it out to people like balloons.

"Do you know how precious you are? How much you are loved?" you want to ask the girl next to you with the tight skinny jeans and downcast eyes. But no, she doesn't seem to know. Nor do many other people either. And for now, you just remain silent.

We walk around as if embarrassed by our humanity--ashamed of ourselves or unaware of our own divinity. We drown it in our headphones, blind it with our computer screens, cheapen it with revealing clothes, mask it with makeup, stifle it with obesity, change it with cosmetic surgery, deaden it with alcohol. We go along with standards impossible to reach, then chide ourselves for not radiating perfection. We point out our flaws and fixate on them. Or worse, we believe happiness is found in shiny pages and wrapped in boxes, but never in our reflection.

Why do we need these things? Why can we not see? Who has forgotten to tell us how much we are worth? That we are infinitely loved? Who has ingrained in us the notion that we are not good enough, that we must change and adjust to be accepted? Who forgot to hug us day to day, to say, "I love you," to tuck us in at night or cut the crusts off of our sandwiches? Who taught us to look down when confronted with a mirror? When did human beings lose their dignity, their self-worth, their inner peace? When did hollow eyes and hardened faces become the uniform?

We are the lights of the world. Like stars, we shine brightly in the darkness, attempting the light of the sun, attempting the light of our Maker. When we are our truest selves, we shine all the brighter. And we give others a reason to smile. We remind each other to soar. We twinkle like no tomorrow. And together, we form art in the sky.

Together, we are beautiful.