Whenever the Church has abandoned the notion of beauty, it has lost precisely the power that it hoped to cultivate—its ability to reach souls in the modern world.

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The Greatest Post-Vatican II Catholic Art

Is it any wonder that so many artists and intellectuals have fled the Church? Current Catholic worship often ignores the essential connection between truth and beauty, body and soul, at the center of the Catholic worldview. The Church requires that we be faithful, but must we also be deaf, dumb, and blind? I deserve to suffer for my sins, but must so much of that punishment take place in church?

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The book H.G. Wells DIDN’T write: “The Invisible MOM”

The Invisible Mother

by Nicole Johnson

One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, “Who is that with you, young fella?”

“Nobody,” he shrugged.

Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only five, but as we crossed the street I thought, “Oh my goodness, I’m nobody?”

As Nobody, I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family, like “Turn the TV down, please.” And nothing would happen. No one would get up or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, “Would someone turn the TV down?” Nothing.

That’s when I started putting all the pieces together. I don’t think anyone can see me.

I’m invisible.

It all began to make sense! The blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’d think, “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?”

Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner. No one can see me, because I’m the Invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more. Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I’m merely a clock to ask, “What time is it?” I’m a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?”

Some days I’m a crystal ball: “Where’s my other sock? Where’s my phone? What’s for dinner?”

Hands, a clock, a crystal ball—but always invisible.

One night, some girlfriends and I were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and was telling wonderful stories. I sat there, looking around at the others all so put-together, so visible and vibrant. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic when my friend turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package and said, “I brought you this.” It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: “With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”

In the days ahead I read—no—I devoured the book. And I discovered what would become for me, four life-changing truths:

1. No one can say who built the great cathedrals—we have no record of their names.

2. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

3. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

4. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

 In the book, there was the legend of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built. He saw a worker carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.” And the worker replied, “Because God sees.”

After reading that, I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.”

“No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, no last minute errand is too small for Me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become. But I see.”

When I choose to view myself as a great builder—instead of Invisible Mom—I keep the right perspective.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My mom gets up at four in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand-bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.” That would mean I’d built a monument to myself! But I don’t want that—I just want him to want to come home with a friend and share a wonderful meal as a family.

The author of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. I disagree.

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right—which is why we may feel invisible some days. But one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Video link

Submitted by AndyP/Doria2

Editor’s note: Happy Mother’s Day!

Seen on the web: In the “world” the pauper is a nobody, lower than everyone else, but in a Catholic Church he is just like everyone else and he gets to be surrounded by all the wealth of beauty that others experience every day.

Posted by mk on Monday, May 7, 2012 8:05 AM (EST):

Someone (Maybe Dorothy Day?) once said that all that lavishness was the great equalizer.  It didn’t matter if you were poor, orphaned, black, white, a leper…no matter who you were, what circumstances you came from, when you walked into a Catholic Church, you were experiencing what it felt to be a “King”.  Even a pauper could experience great art, music, etc.  In the “world” the pauper is a nobody, lower than everyone else, but in a Catholic Church he is just like everyone else and he gets to be surrounded by all the wealth of beauty that others experience every day.

Link

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: That he might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons.

And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father.

Therefore, now he is not a servant, but a son. And if a son, an heir also through God.   (Galatians 4:4-7)

By virtue of our baptism, we become adopted sons and daughters of God … co-heirs with Jesus Christ to all that is good … on Earth and in Heaven … including the Catholic Church.

The richness of the Catholic Church properly reflects the richness of our faith … and also gives us some sense of the infinite beauty and Heavenly majesty of the one, true God … to whom we belong. – Doug

Do you know how you can tell if a church is beautiful?

Click here to find out

The Miracle of Life – A Meditation on Mystery and Beauty of Life as we March

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

The magnificence of life is really too wonderful too describe. But I found this description some years ago which summons reverence by its very ability to baffle the mind:

MIRACLE OF LIFE– Consider the miracle of the human body.  Its chemistry is just as extraordinarily well tuned as is the physics of the cosmos.  Our world on bothsides of the divide that separates life from lifelessness is filled with wonder.  Each human cell has a double helix library of three billion base pairs providing fifty thousand genes.  These three billion base pairs and fifty thousand genes somehow engineer 100 trillion neural connections in the brain—-enough points of information to store all the data and information contained in a fifty-million-volume encyclopedia.  And then after that, these fifty thousand genes set forth a million fibers in the optic nerves, retinae having ten million pixels per centimeter, some ten billion in all, ten thousand taste buds, ten million nerve endings for smell, cells that exude a chemical come-on to lure an embryo’s lengthening neurons from spinal cord to target cell, each one of the millions of target cells attracting the proper nerve from the particular needed function.  And all this three-dimensional structure arises somehow from the linear, one-dimensional information contained along the DNA helix. Did all this happen by chance or do you see the hand of God?

Today, many of us march for life, here in Washington, on the West Coast,  and in other communities. Today we ponder the great mystery that is expressed in the 139th psalm:

For it was you who created my being,  knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you for the wonder of my being…Already you knew my soul my body held no secret from you when I was being fashioned in secret….every one of my days was decreed before one of them came into being. To me, how mysterious your thoughts, the sum of them not to be numbered! (Psalm 139 varia)

Read more. Or watch a fascinating video.

St. Catherine of Siena Describes The Image of a Soul in the State of Grace

St. Catherine of Siena was gifted by the Lord to see a heavenly soul in the state of grace and her account of it is related in her Dialogue. It is here summarized In the Sunday School Teacher’s Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism:

The Soul in the State of Grace– Catherine of Siena was permitted by God to see the beauty of a soul in the state of grace. It was so beautiful that she could not look on it; the brightness of that soul dazzled her. Blessed Raymond, her confessor, asked her to describe to him, as far as she was able, the beauty of the soul she had seen. St. Catherine thought of the sweet light of that morning, and of the beautiful colours of the rainbow, but that soul was far more beautiful. She remembered the dazzling beams of the noonday sun, but the light which beamed from that soul was far brighter. She thought of the pure whiteness of the lily and of the fresh snow, but that is only an earthly whiteness. The soul she had seen was bright with the whiteness of Heaven, such as there is not to be found on earth. ” My father,” she answered. “I cannot find anything in this world that can give you the smallest idea of what I have seen. Oh, if you could but see the beauty of a soul in the state of grace, you would sacrifice your life a thousand times for its salvation. I asked the angel who was with me what had made that soul so beautiful, and he answered me, “It is the image and likeness of God in that soul, and the Divine Grace which made it so beautiful.”.

Yes, this is our dignity and final destiny if we are faithful to God.

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They’re never going to understand this, on the coast(s): Feminine beauty was created for ‘spousal love’.


In modern society, woman “is presented either without sexual attributes or as a sex object,” the professor lamented. “How is it even possible to address a culture that treats the feminine body in this way?”

However, “John Paul II does not hesitate to rise to the challenge,” she wrote.

“When John Paul II links the visible bodily aspect of a woman with its power of perennial attraction ‘in strict accordance with motherhood,’ he may seem to be limiting the often wondrous visible beauty of woman to one dimension.”

Yet, “the mystery of femininity manifests and reveals itself in its full depth through motherhood,” Shivanandan said, quoting the late Pontiff.

“This mystery, as he explains in his Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, involves ‘a special openness to the new person’ on the part of woman through which she discovers her own identity precisely as woman.”

In this gift of self through the openness of bringing new life into the world, a woman not only realizes her identity as female, but reaches the fullest expression of what feminine beauty is, explained Shivanandan.

“Beauty, feminine beauty, which, as John Paul II says, is in strict accordance with motherhood, is both a source and fruit of spousal love lived sacramentally in the family,” she noted. “From it radiates the beauty of the civilization of love.”

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“Abba”. “Daddy”. The love of God and the Beauty Movement.

by Doug Lawrence

As adopted Children of God we Christians have the right to claim our brother Jesus’ Father as our very own.

One would think, for most people, that would be sufficient. Yet how many living today truly “know” God well enough to be comfortable calling him “Father” … let alone the more familiar “Abba” (Daddy) that is preferred by Christ?

The motto of this site has always been “God loves you. God will provide. Relax!

I firmly believe the truth of it, and constantly draw on that divine assurance to obtain enduring sustenance, joy and peace.

Of course, if you aren’t comfortable basking in the reality of God’s abiding love, it’s quite easy to reject such logic and promptly descend into the infernal depths of self loathing and fear.

The Beauty Movement is a new website, evidently designed primarily for women, to help dispel the doubts, fears and insecurities that continue to trouble so many women (and men, too) in today’s world.

The “motto” of the Beauty Movement site is “You are loved. You are accepted. You are beautiful. You are mine.”

Here’s one of the more recent posts, which should serve to help illustrate the authentic context of that divine, never ending, redemptive love:

Currently, I’m reading his book, The Furious Longing of God. Below, you will find an excerpt from this sacred work of art. It needs no introduction; I just encourage you to soak in every word. May you find such beauty in the midst of ashes!

The Furious Longing of God, Chapter Two:

Since moving to New Orleans, I’ve gotten deeply involved in the only leper colony in the United Sates. It’s found in Carville, Louisiana, about twenty miles southwest of Baton Rouge. I’ve been there many, many times. I go from room to room visiting the lepers, victims of Hansen’s disease.

On one occasion, as I was coming up the front steps, a nurse came running toward me and said, “Brennan, can you come quick and pray with Yolanda? She’s dying, Brennan.”

… I went up to Yolanda’s room on the second floor and sat on the edge of the bed. Yolanda is a woman thirty-seven years old. Five years ago, before the leprosy began to ravage, she must have been one of the most stunningly beautiful creatures God ever made. I do not mean just a cute, pretty, or even attractive woman. I mean the kind of blinding physical beauty that causes men and women on the street to stop and stare. In pictures, Yolanda had the largest, most mesmerizing, most translucent brown eyes I’ve ever seen, set in the exquisitely chiseled face with high cheekbones, long brown hair down to a slender waist, and a perfectly proportioned bust. But that was then.

Now her nose is pressed into her face. Her mouth is severely contorted. Both ears are distended. She has no fingers on either hand, just tow little stumps. One of the first effects of leprosy is losing all sensitivity in your extremities, toes and fingers. A leper can rest her hand on a burning hot stove and feel absolutely nothing; this often leads to gangrene and eventually demands amputation. Yolanda just had these two little stumps.

Two years earlier, her husband divorced her because of the social stigma attached to leprosy, and he had forbidden their two sons, boys fourteen and sixteen, from ever visiting their mother. The father was an alcoholic, complete with frequent violent mood swings. The boys were terrified of him, so they dutifully obeyed; as a result, Yolanda was dying an abandoned, forsaken woman.

Those doves below, the ones utterly cared for, never endangered ones, cannot know tenderness. – Rilke

I… prayed with her [Yolanda]. As I turned around… the room was filled with a brilliant light. It had been raining when I came in; I didn’t even look up, but said, “Thanks, Abba, for the sunshine. I bet that’ll cheer her up.”

As I turned to look back at Yolanda – and if I live to be three hundred years old I’ll never be able to find the words to describe what I saw – her face was like a sunburst over the mountains, like one thousand sunbeams streaming out of her face literally so brilliant I had to shield my eyes.

I said, Yolanda, you appear to be very happy.”

With her slight Mexican-American accent she said, “Oh, Father, I am so happy.”

I then asked her, “Will you tell me why you’re so happy?”

She said, “Yes, the Abba of Jesus just told me that He would take me home today.”

I vividly remember the hot tears that began rolling down my cheeks. After a lengthy pause, I asked just what the Abba of Jesus said.

Yolanda said:

“Come now, My love. My lovely one, come.

For you, the winter has passed, the snows are over and gone, the flowers appear in the land, the season of joyful songs has come.

The cooing of the turtledove is heard in our land.

Come now, My love. My Yolanda, come.

Let Me see your face. And let Me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is beautiful.

Come now, My love, My lovely one, come.”*

Six hours later her little leprous body was swept up into the furious love of her Abba. Later that same day, I learned from the staff that Yolanda was illiterate. She had never read the Bible, or any book for that matter, in her entire life. I surely had never repeated those words to her in any of my visits. I was, as they say, a man undone.

*Song of Solomon 2:10-13 NJB

-Submitted by Bob Stanley

Poignant video recalls what modern Catholics have lost

Watch the video