July 13, 2024

Growing up on a farm, I was blessed to be able to see sunsets over Cannon Lake near Faribault, Minnesota. There was something about those frequent experiences of authentic beauty that raised my mind, heart, imagination and will to the creator of such marvels.

As a practical-minded farm kid, I knew things of such beauty didn’t just create themselves, but that there needed to be a creator of such beauty. Pondering upon the creator of such beauty helped me transcend physical reality to that which is transcendent, God. As I sought out the truth behind physical beauty, I was led on the adventure of all adventures, the spiritual life—a personal relationship with the Creator of beauty.

Beauty helps us transcend (“climb over” in Latin) the limits of the physical world to that which is spiritual, to the Creator of such magnificence. Whether it be sunsets, mountains, campfires or other elements of creation, if we ponder deeply on these physical realities, it ought to lead us to the creator of such beauty.

As I look back on growing up on the farm and then as a priest blessed to have a small cabin in northern Minnesota overlooking a small lake, I thank God for how the beauty of nature disposed me to seek beauty itself, the transcendent, God himself.

As we ponder the Transcendent One who created such beauty, we are then invited into a personal relationship with God. How blessed we are to be created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gn 1:26-27) possessing an element of God’s own beauty in each of our souls. Through Baptism, the sacraments, and many other graces God gives us, we are blessed to share in God’s own life and receive his love poured into our hearts (cf. Rom 5:5).

As we open our hearts and minds to God’s pure goodness through grace, we discover the beauty of God himself in him, others and ourselves.

As we journey through these summer months, may we enjoy the beauty of nature, the beauty of God, and the beauty of godly personal friendships with him and others and enjoy his beauty within us, which he so delights in.