Sunday, October 29, 2006


Mother Theresa

Posted on the 1st Day of the 30th Week of Ordinary Time - 2006 AD - (Year B)

I had a strange experience today. I took my daughter shopping, at the mall. It's an ordinary Sunday. She wanted to change into something she had just bought, so she went to the rest room to change. I waited outside with the rest of the dad's, husbands, friends, mothers etc. The mall is crowded because it's getting close to the Christmas Season and it is the end of half term, all the kids are back at school tomorrow, there are lots of families, hurridly buying last minute stuff for school, or walking casually along with arms full of early Christmas shopping. There's an endless stream of coming and going, into and out of the restrooms, and also between me and the restrooms, like a river of humanity, milling along, winding its way, some getting snagged by the restrooms and the shops nearby, others carrying on to somewhere out of sight. I kind of watch people without watching them. I am aware of them drifting by but not really taking much notice. Until I realise, with a kind of shock, that, since I've been standing there, I haven't seen a single person who is not beautiful. And, no this is not Hollywood or some such place, far from it. And I am not saying something like: 'everyone is beautiful in their own way' or anything like that. No. Every person who passed me, hundreds, possibly thousands of them, were each and every one of them, beautiful. No exceptions, period. Somehow, God was showing me something, or, in my half drowsy attention, I was seeing without some kind of preconception I must usually apply to people whom I look at. Now this didn't stop as I became aware of it, as these kind of things often do. Your preconcieved notions flooding back, filtering your perception. It carried on, the whole time I stood there waiting as my daughter put on her new clothes, straightened herself in the mirror etc. Every single face, male, female, young old. Beautiful in a very real and immediate way. I realised then that people who appear unattractive to me are those who consciously try to mould themselves in some way, project an image, do something complicated with their appearance or expression, or just look preoccupied with something that is bothering them, implying some underlying conflict with their natural state. I could pick out these people, though there were relatively few of them. But they still looked beautiful. It was as if I could see the beauty, but with the complicated and unnecessary mask on top. The beauty is always there. I understood then that God does not create anything ugly or without beauty. Everything, every single individual person has intrinsic natural beauty given by God, in a very real way. I don't mean this in the sense of a platitude or throw away comment, it was a striking experience. By default you have that real tangible beauty which Gods Grace has granted you. It is only when we get into a situation where we are at odds with ourselves, where we think we can mold ourselves, by our own efforts, into something 'clever' or 'interesting' or 'challenging' which conflicts with the template of our self which God has given us. Where in effect we begin to come into conflict with God's intention or design for us that we put on that ugly and totally unnecessary outward mask.

My daughter emerges from the restroom through the sea of faces, wearing her new skirt. Beauty coming towards me through a sea of beauty, beauty parting for beauty. Heaven on earth here and now on this ordinary Sunday in October.

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