Beauty is the illumination of your soul.
John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
Beauty is a bridge to God,
and art is a means of cooperating with the divine in creation’s act.
Christine Valters Paintner
Earlier this week (Thursday, 12 September 2013) I was honored to work alongside a Franciscan friar in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The Franciscans are men and women who model their lives after the work of St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). St. Francis was a disciple of Jesus. St. Francis embraced poverty, chastity and obedience in order to serve Christ. In serving Christ, St. Francis offered his life for the building up of the Church in order to bring the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ to the world. St. Francis is known for his special love for the poor.
The Franciscan that I accompanied serves the poor in Golden Gate Park. He offers socks, shirts and other donations from those who support this work of ministering. This Franciscan also shares his knowledge as a nurse in support of those with health issues. What I found particularly engaging was that in addition to offering clothing, medical attention, and presence to the homeless he is often asked for a hug. He therefore dispenses hugs with loving care. Our world is quick to document touch that is violent, abusive, and manipulative. Even false claims of abuse often command more attention than healing touch. It was lovely to see the request for human contact fulfilled with appropriate and attentive care. How can we become ambassadors of touch that is beautiful? When we honor the life of another we offer a touch of beauty.
It’s been a long journey for me to return to a place of celebrating human touch. How are we being called to gently, appropriately and joyfully respond to the call to touch someone with loving care? There are many ways to touch another. Through our prayers. Through our deeds. Through our words. Jesus healed various injured people with a touch. May you be touched by the Spirit. May you touch others through generous, appropriate and loving contact with God’s creation.
Touch is essential. Beauty is essential. May the Spirit lead you to daily know and offer a touch of beauty. May you always walk in beauty.
anthony glenn miller