I am currently reading a book by the great Irish poet and theologian, John O’Donohue called “Beauty” and it speaks of how we can discover divine beauty in all things. At this time of year when spring is unfolding its grandeur, there is so much beauty to be seen that it is not hard to witness beauty all around us in nature. However, O’Donohue pushes the envelope and wants us to discover how beauty is always already present in all things. We just need to open our eyes to see it. That mindset reminds me of Ignatian Spirituality in which St. Ignatius encourages us to seek God in all things.


O’Donohue starts with the innate desire within every human person to yearn for beauty. He says that “the human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere—landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion, and in ourselves. No one would desire not to be beautiful. When we experience the beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming. We feel most alive in the presence of the beautiful for it meets the needs of our soul.” He is quick to remind us of the distinction between real beauty and glamor. He quotes Robert C. Morgan who says that “Beauty is not glamor. Most of the media, the fashion world, Hollywood, the art world has to offer as glamor. Glamor, like the art world itself is fickle and commercially driven enterprise that contributes to the humdrum. It appears and disappears. No one ever catches up to glamor.”


True beauty is to be found everywhere and at all times, but we need to look with a different eye. The statement of “beauty being in the eye of the beholder” is certainly true. However, that is often said in a subjective way to make it almost derogatory. O’Donohue asks us to consider this truth in a more subtle and powerful way. It is in “the way we see” things that matters; it is the eye we use to look—eyes of faith. If we want to see beauty, then we will see it. If we don’t want to see beauty, then we will never see it. It is up to us to always desire to see it.


For example, when we look at our children playing in the garden, it is easy to see their beauty. But can we also see their beauty when they drop a glass of juice on the kitchen floor and see their innocence just as wonderful as they wait for our “reaction” to the crashing glass and splashing juice mess? If we train ourselves to see their beauty no matter what, then we will transcend the circumstance and recognize the glory of their God’s given image as a child of God. Our children are beautiful no matter what!


Another example is that it is easy to recognize the beauty of our parents when they proudly walk us down the aisle on our wedding day beaming with pride! But what about when we peer through the broken bodies of our elderly parents – do we still see the beauty of their weary souls who still have much wisdom to offer us? It is all in the way we choose to see beauty!


This weekend, we will celebrate many of our children who make First Communion and we rightly let them bask in the glory of the sunlight as we honor their journey to the table of the Lord. May we reach out to their families and acknowledge the raw beauty of this moment and celebrate with them how their children are now united more profoundly with us at the table of the Eucharist. May we always look past the disturbances of their wandering minds and celebrate the gift of their presence every Sunday smiling at them assuring them of our approval.


Next weekend, the celebrations continue with  Mother’s Day, and we recognize the beauty and gift of our mothers who have served us every day throughout our lives. We will rightly celebrate their presence in our lives with a meditation song and a gift from the parish to all mothers. Please come with your mother and celebrate their beauty. However, even more importantly, can we recognize the beauty of their presence in our lives every weekend, showering them with love and gladly sitting by their side asking for their wisdom now and always, no matter their age. A reminder that it is the way we “see” that brings beauty into our lives. May we look anew at our lives and see the beauty of every moment with every person. Remember that beauty does not linger, it only visits. Let the beauty of these next two weekends visit our souls and invite us into a new rhythm awakening within us the beautiful.


Finally, please keep in mind that next weekend our second offering will be for the Fund for Retired Priests. Unfortunately, these reserves for our Priests are significantly underfunded, and we continue to have more priests join our ranks of the retired. We ask you to be as generous as possible to help our retired priests. You can give here.  Thank you for your support.


God bless,


Fr. Brendan