I feel sorry for the person who has never experienced what it means to fall in love. Whether in a romantic relationship or in the depths of a loving relationship with our Lord, we all need to experience the powerful force of being loved for who we are, our whole selves including our faults and weaknesses. This feature of love has the power to transform and elevate. It makes the ordinary and dull into the extraordinary and awe-inspiring.
This falling in love is connected to beauty. Philosophy would describe beauty as the harmony and integrity of created things. There is a sense in which the world is beautiful in the manifold ways that it captures our attention. There is also the beauty of the person, a beauty that is revelatory of deeper realities. Falling in love is about being opened to the beauty of the person, a beauty that captivates and enthralls.
In the Letter to the Hebrews, the sacred author writes, “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”
By no means am I a scripture scholar, but I was fascinated by the connection made between Moses’ beauty as a baby and the lack of fear of his parents. It seems as though they were opened to receive the beauty of the child through faith. In other words, because they had faith, they experienced the beauty of the child in a unique and elevated manner. This in turn led them to an encounter which dispelled all fear. I think this adds an interesting dimension to faith.
Through faith, we encounter reality in a new and dynamic way. Instead of merely appreciating the beauty of persons and creation, we are opened to an entirely unique kind of encounter. This encounter is such that it dispels all fear and gives us the consolation of the Spirit. It is such encounters which make up the more profound moments of our lives. Through them we receive the nourishment and strength to fight the devil and the many temptations that come our way.
We can often see how beauty engenders courage in the lives of young people. Often, when people first fall in love, they find the courage and strength to make all kinds of sacrifices. Love seems the only motive needed to undergo all kinds of trials and difficult changes. What a difference it would make if we had this kind of experience in our relationship with God.
The key is that through faith we need to learn to be open to the beauty of God. This sensitivity is not mere sentiment, but involves the romance of holiness, the romance which is the stuff of salvation and heaven. Today, let us pray for the grace to encounter the beauty of God working through our lives. Let us be open to His beauty so that we might fall in love with our Lord and through that dispel the shadows that keep us from true happiness.