“Every gift of God is capable of producing some evil through the abuse of creatures such as fire, flesh, wine. Excess of any of these constitute evils; elimination of all of them would destroy cooking, families, and conviviality. Nothing in the universe is intrinsically evil; God saw that it was good.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen
This line from Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen sums up the entirety of the topic today. Analogous to the concept of light in sight, a person cannot honestly ever take witness of true beauty in the world without the light. That light has a physical component that in a way reflects the metaphysical property of beauty, who cannot exist separately from her sisters of Truth and Goodness. A fallen humanity may abuse these principles, yet we are still attracted to the essence of good that God had intended. The solution might be that we need to change our perception in certain aspects of reality by active participation and introspection of ourselves. By doing so perhaps then it may be possible to see the world as a gift, and igniting the spark of Love that leads to sainthood. (This idea may sound a wee bit crazy, but Saints are crazy so read on)
Allow me to break down some of the points that I made above, with regards the sisterhood of truth, goodness, and beauty. To clarify, they are called the three transcendentals. The three transcendentals are what Catholic theology has classified as objective unifying principles of reality that shows to be the most inherent desire of the human person. The reason for human desire to be attracted to the three transcendentals is that they are intrinsic to the nature of our being. Think of food, we have a desire to survive but to do that we need to eat because it will fuel us for survival. Obviously this is a need but like all needs warrant movement. That goes far beyond animal instinct. It is an appreciation that does not seem to have any real scientific origin.
This desire is, of course, one of a few basic desires that all people have, and yet they are all connected. Our intellect helps us discern which desires we ought to act on, which thus would help us decide what act would be in our best interest. It is always working toward an end, for which in the human beings case we were attempting to find the Good. However, our human nature is fallen which stops us from doing achieve any such feat; known as Sin. It is why we have the expression that there is a God sized hole in the hearts of every person.
The very definition of sin, in the Catechism, states “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.” , because it violates the law that makes us fully Human. As Fulton Sheen makes clear above we are given everything, and everything that we are given is made to be good. Sin takes away from the reality of the gift and gives warped bits nothing in return. Sin is essentially anorexia of the soul as it warps our perception of reality. Think of the symptoms of anorexia, the person perceives that they have something wrong with them, that is that they feel they are not thin enough. So the solution is not to eat, BUT the reality is they are as thin as a stick, and if they lost any more weight they might disappear. They desire to be good, but what they perceive is good in the full sense of the word. They seek thinness but ought to be seeking I to be healthy. Sin results from our perception being warped so that we might seek out the wrong solution and something less than that of ultimate Good. It is why we cannot fully redeem ourselves in reflecting today’s psalm reading. “Yet in no way can a man redeem himself,
or pay his own ransom to God;
Too high is the price to redeem one’s life; he would never have enough
to remain alive always and not see destruction.”
And the fact is that Sin is what isolates us the most from one another and God. It is why we need Christ and the sacraments and meditations of the cross. Think of Christ on the Cross “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”). He had taken all of sin onto the cross, and it was not just agonizing but isolating. It is in those moments of isolation that we too need to empty ourselves to Christ that we see all the many gifts that lay before us and offer thanks. Take a glimpse of an image or writing on this idea what we can see for ourselves, not that he walks with us in history but that He walks with us in the present.
To look through a broken lens, which can skew our perception of reality, we should take a step back, evaluate ourselves, and allow Him to replace it with a newer and effective vision. Give ourselves time for self-reflection, is like the making of a good wine we need to have a dry climate as well as a timely good rain for it to be fruitful. We meet Christ on the Cross, when he offer everything to us, it is also at that moment that maybe we too can try to reflect that ultimate prayer. And prayer is becoming a gift, which means looking at God in that light and being Gift, as he gives to us we need to show how we are an image of him by doing the same. Even those things at that moment feel do not feel the gift, and sometimes the gift need to be unwrapped with time because it is still invisible in the present.