Our world is starved for authentic beauty. We spend our days staring at screens that shape our perception of reality. Through the rapid development of technology, we have in many ways given ourselves over to unreality. We no longer look up and look out at the world. We see this when we go about our day as we watch countless people glued to their smartphones—too many of them children—and we catch ourselves attached to our screens. This leads us to seek the artificial over the real. To seek beautiful things in 2D—some of which are intentionally artificially manufactured—on our screens instead of the beauty of God’s creation around us.
We have stripped our churches and convinced ourselves that we don’t need to move upward towards God through beauty. We are lonely, but we no longer know where to look. We are heavy, but we continue to be burdened by the technology at our fingertips. The Lord wants to speak to us of His beauty through His Creation, but we seldom take the time to look.
One of the most beautiful aspects of St. Therese’s Story of a Soul is her words proclaiming the beauty and grandeur of God. She was intimately connected with God’s beauty in Creation. She even saw the Lord bestowing His loving gifts upon her through His created things. This was not some Neo-Paganism that worshipped the earth. No, she saw God’s beauty through flowers, mountains, snow, sunshine, and walks as a child. She saw Our Lord in everything.
St. Therese shares a story in her autobiography from her clothing day when she saw God’s love for her through the beauty of His creation and her connection to Him through snow:
“Do you remember my telling you, dear Mother, how fond I am of snow? While I was still quite small, its whiteness entranced me. Why had I such a fancy for snow? Perhaps it was because, being a little winter flower, my eyes first saw the earth clad in its beautiful white mantle.
So, on my clothing day, I wished to see it decked, like myself, in spotless white. The weather was so mild that it might have been spring, and I no longer dared hope for snow. The morning of the feast brought no change and I gave up my childish desire, as impossible to be realized.
The instant I set foot in the enclosure again my eyes fell on the statue of the Child Jesus smiling on me amid the flowers and lights; then, turning towards the quadrangle, I saw that, in spite of the mildness of the weather, it was covered with snow. What a delicate attention on the part of Jesus! Gratifying the least wish of His little Spouse, He even sent her this. Where is the creature so mighty that he can make one flake of it fall to please his beloved?