Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Feeding the Sheep, Feeding the Lambs, Feeding the Sheep

I was going to do a rant today, but the world doesn't need another post by another blogger annoyed at the world.  I look out at the snow falling, covering everything, making the bare trees beautiful and the muddy ground bright.  The world needs beauty, and it is starving.

This week, a woman paid to have herself killed because her looks had begun to fade.  In all the discussion, not once have I seen anyone look at this picture of this woman and say what should be obvious.  Oriella Cazzanello, 85, had herself killed at an assisted suicide clinic in Basel, Switzerland, because she was allegedly depressed about aging.

This is a beautiful woman.    Source: Daily News.

She should not have done this because she turned someone who was beautiful into ashes.  She should not have done this, but what's more, others should have said, "Don't do this. You are lovely, too lovely to turn into ashes and mail back to an office.  You have more to offer than merely your money or your looks." Someone should have loved her that much, and she should have known it.

Miley Cyrus is another example of a beautiful woman turning herself into something far less lovely. She too needs someone to say, you have more to offer than you are giving.   She does not realize or care that one day she may grow stale, because someone new will sell themselves out even more for even less.   I know people have written to her including Sinead O'Connor, telling her, you need not be less.  You could be beautiful and are beautiful, without this new act.

But she like so many in the entertainment world, like so many in today's culture, confuse sex with beauty, confuse sex with love, confuse notoriety and infamy and crowds with love, confuse voyeurism and fame with genuine desire to see her personally. They see the stage, they see the sex, they see the train wreck.  They do not see her.

Real beauty delights.  

Real beauty you drink in and each time you see it, you see it more. 
 Like the face of your beloved, no matter how long you've know that person, 
each time they smile, you see it new.   
Anyone who has ever held a newborn knows this innately. You hold this person, 
and you could drink in looking at their face all day.  No matter how old they get, you will never tire of seeing them smile.
(I'll use my daughter because I can). But the same holds true for kiddos in utero. 
You see a touch of the infinite, of the mind and heart of the God who created this thing called beauty in the first place.

We need to reintroduce or rather remind the starving souls of this planet of what beauty is.  

Because some things which should not have been forgotten, have been lost, lost to the point that a woman who feels lonely, feels she should pay strangers 14K to turn herself into ashes, because no one, including herself, thought her beautiful enough to save. Lost to the point that a whole world will watch a young woman with talent and looks debase herself constantly and applaud her daring.  

A rose is beautiful as a bud, and as a full bloom, and even its petals hold the fragrance of loveliness once they fall.   Just as our world holds beauty in all its seasons, our people do as well, but we need to relearn how to see it and reveal it to others.  

As Catholics, we've done a fair job in this country of fitting in, but in doing so, we've lost some of our salt and flavor, some of our light, for we've failed to proclaim the absolutely amazing thing about our faith, the belief that all of us are called to be luminous, to be saints.   All of us, no matter our lot, our life, our finances, our education, our politics, our preferences, our creed, our professions, all of us, even those we find distasteful at best, are to be treated as children of God. To treat each person as the honored guest at the banquet, that is the full rendering of faith via works. It is not separate from faith, it is not ahead of faith, it is not behind faith, it is integrated, part of what reveals the depth of our faith. Who would we not serve? That is the limit of our love.  

If we would show the world our faith,  if we would show the world beauty, we'd best get to washing feet, feeding the lambs, tending the sheep.

But what would that entail?  How would we go about this, what do we do?  Blessed Mother Teresa talked about what that would mean:

“Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely right there where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.”

Because real beauty is fearless, touching, healing, truthful and achingly intimate.  As Catholics it is our job to make the Church beautiful, so that the people out there who think their lives no longer worth keeping, or their virtue worth cherishing, who think their lives are over or too hard, know otherwise because they happened to run into us today.

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