A Lost Sense of Beauty

10-18-2020From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

One of the simple, refreshing experiences I have is taking a walk just before sunset around our school and church. At times I am awed by the beautiful tall trees with their leaves as I walk west by the school. How beautifully blue the sky is on a clear day. Creation is a gift from God. Even more, human life is a gift from God. We have been created in His image and He has entrusted the whole world to our care. What an awesome, humbling thought. With all that is going on in our world with the coronavirus and the upcoming election, it is all too easy to get angry, worried, confused, and irritable, to lose our sense of wonder.

In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Matthew 22:15-21), we see what some people would call a taboo - the mixing of religion and politics. Some Pharisees try to trap Jesus by asking a question that is simple, but loaded with consequences. “Should we pay the tax to Caesar or not.” Jesus’ answer is clear - “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” We are in the midst of giving human beings in political parties power to guide our nation. What guidance and direction does our faith in God give? Where is God in our nation? In the book The Day is Now Far Spent by Robert Cardinal Sarah, he offers this observation:

I think that people do not realize the extent to which all of Western culture is marked by this blasé indifference to God that gives rise to sadness and hopelessness….. The continents that came to know the Good more recently are still astonished and enchanted by the beauties of God, the marvels of His actions in us. The West is perhaps too accustomed to it. It no longer shivers with joy before the manger scene; it no longer weeps with gratitude before the Cross; it no longer trembles in amazement before the Blessed Sacrament. I think that people need to be astonished to adore, to praise, to thank this God who is so good and so great. Wisdom begins with wonder, Socrates said. The inability to wonder is the sign of a civilization that is dying.

The biggest place we have lost the sense of beauty, wonder, and truth is in the miracle of life conceived in a woman’s womb. From the moment of conception that human being grows and is wondrously fed by his/her mother. Abortion is a choice and an act that destroys human life. How sad that it is an issue for debate and defense in the upcoming election as well as the hearing for Judge Barrett who has been nominated to the Supreme Court. It is the issue that divides us. Evil always divides and makes its defenders allies. To put this evil in perspective, in 2017 there were 860,000 abortions. That is 2,361 per day, 98 per hour, and once every 37 seconds. That is a horrible wonder! By failing to be guided by faith, we only compound the problem and make the division wider. Cardinal Sarah says that when we separate ourselves and our way of life and decisions away from God “we refuse to let joy come to us from someone other than ourselves, from God!”

I offer Psalm 121 for your prayerful reflection.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall come my help? My help shall come from the Lord who made heaven and earth.

May he never allow you to stumble! Let him sleep not, your guard. No, he sleeps not nor slumbers, Israel's guard.

The Lord is your guard and your shade; at your right side he stands. By day the sun shall not smite you nor the moon in the night.

The Lord will guard you from evil, he will guard your soul. The Lord will guard your going and coming both now and for ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be. Amen.

Psalm Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, you have prepared a quiet place for us in your Father's eternal home. Watch over our welfare on this perilous journey, shade us from the burning heat of day, and keep our lives free of evil until the end.

Fr. Wald