St. Dorothy and St. Catherine
Museé des Beaux Arts, Dijon
Master of the Passion of Darmstadt, circa 1440
God sends so much goodness, and so much beauty, and so much of His Perfection into the world at every moment that no matter how much evil humanity engages in, it is impossible to overwhelm it. Do you see this? I have seen it every day.
Grace is the power of Love; and everything in creation, even the worst of it (whatever that is) is made from that beauty.
When we open our hearts to receive Grace—through long and diligent action, through obedience and submission— eventually it rushes in so quickly and so deeply and profoundly that no force in heaven or on earth can stand against it; for we are the children of the Lord and One with Him, and He does not forget us, no matter how much we may forget Him.
There is a just and righteous obedience that’s necessary, that’s true; and we must submit to it in the midst of our sin and confession, because it is only through this humility of knowing nothing and a confession of sin (which is nothing more or less than turning away from the Lord) that we can render ourselves vulnerable enough to receive the Great, and Good, and Just Grace that is afforded unto us, as God’s creations.
God rushes us into us then in the same way that air rushes in to fill a vacuum; for there is no more natural place for God’s Love to dwell than in a man’s or woman’s heart, and no worthier receptacle was ever created for that Love.
One can know this immediately and personally; there is no need to wait or to argue, to hypothesize or engage in conjecture. The Lord’s Grace is already present within us, in that secret place where the Great Sense of the Soul resides.
There are times when I am so close to all this beauty that the rapture it induces seems impossible; yet I am tasked to live this life in an ordinary way, and have no privilege to celebrate it, no matter its intensity. Rather that rapture becomes a daily companion that informs (inwardly forms) the absolute goodness of everything that takes place. Indeed, the greater my acceptance, the more honest my admission of how God walks with me in every footstep, the deeper that inward formation.
One might ask, why witness such things in this way? Well, we live in a world where so much evil witnesses; every man, woman and child witnesses for his or her self, and nowadays men and nations become the bearers of dark torches and prophets of woe. The devils have many voices, and loud; and they are unloving, for devils use all love for themselves. It is in their nature.
Someone must stand against them and speak for truth and goodness; everyone who stands on the side of God must speak out in truth and goodness, against these numerous damnations.
Don’t despair; because no matter how many devils speak, they cannot overcome love. The more it is tried and tested, the stronger it becomes; and it is the duty of every good religious man and woman to stand here, in the midst of God’s Beauty, Grace, and Goodness, and to bear those trials together.
It’s true, in doing so we must confront our own fear and sins and anger; but we never do this alone, because God’s love is always here to help us, if we wish it.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.