Tuesday, May 22, 2007

How Beautiful... is the Body of Christ

Oh, my heart is so full. How often I realize that these times when my blog is most neglected are the times I truly have the most to write about! Such is the continual struggle for balance, it seems.

It is so very bittersweet to have The Play (as we always affectionately refer to it) now behind us. I cannot begin to express how blessed I have been through my years as a member of The Little Flowers Club. It has been such a real part of my formation into who I am, who I am becoming.

The uniqueness of the opportunities I've received through the club have become more of a realization to me over the years. When questioned by curious or doubtful souls about the "well-roundedness" of my homeschool education, Little Flowers Club was always one of the first examples I would mention as a wonderful social and spiritual outlet. And as I've met many young ladies through my movement who find themselves feeling very alone in their convictions, I realize anew the great blessing of growing up with so many dear girls as friends, the gift of such a supportive group of maidens sharing my own values.

Despite my own weakness and often, a sense of great inadequacy, each day our Lord expands my mind and heart to new horizons. A sense of wonderment at His goodness fills me. I feel as though I am reaching with the arms of my soul toward new depths of understanding and wisdom -- and at the same time of trust and simplicity.

It was, shall I say, "incidental" that on Saturday afternoon (Day 2 of The Play), Sarah, Veronica and I played and sang for a wedding: including the song How Beautiful. I cannot think of any words more perfect to express the wellspring within me in recent days.

...How beautiful when humble hearts give
the fruit of pure lives
so that others may live...

How beautiful the feet that bring
the sound of good news
and the love of the King...

How beautiful is the body of Christ.

(Complete lyrics here)

The past several years, one of the most special aspects of our plays for me has been not only the working together of girls and director, but of the group of young men (brothers and cousins of club members) who gallantly "take the background", if you will, as our stage, lighting, and sound crew. "The Papa Martin Crew" might not be the ones getting the applause and spotlight, but in many ways they are really the backbone of the operation. Sure, they're human. Sure, they slipped up a few times (like all of us!). But their selfless giving is beautiful to see. Our working together to put on these plays has struck me a very real example of how much good can be accomplished by masculine and feminine gifts working side by side for the glory of God.

And I am convinced more than ever of the world's need for not only truly masculine and truly feminine gifts, but of what I call "the 3 main types" within the Body of Christ: laborers, scientists, and artists. Just as masculinity and femininity complement and round each other out in God's plan, so do the other three. One group alone cannot fill the need of the world. Some are chiefly called to be laborers (think Martha of Bethany or St. Gerard Majella), to be students of the needs of each day. Some - Dad, for example! - are chiefly called to be scientists, to be students of the workings of the universe and the world around us. And some (such as St. Thomas Aquinas and Pope John Paul the Great) - are chiefly called to be artists, students of the workings of the human person and our need for beauty and truth.

No one is greater or lesser than the rest. The key is our unity, our Catholicism. Our understanding that we must work together. As I commented on my dear friend Malori's blog yesterday... Though each of us are given a unique calling within the Body of Christ, though each is placed in a slightly different "channel", we all must be working toward the same cause, the same goal: a Culture of Life, of Love, of Faith, of Truth. Our individual tasks as warriors in this battle may be on any number of important fronts, but they really all come together at the core. And above all, we must be strong and unified in prayer and trust, keeping our eyes focused with great hope on our universal goal.

I will leave you with another beautiful quote from the Letter to Artists...

"None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colours and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you."

Let us live this mystery!

~ ~ ~


Your sister, Veronica said...

While I agree with you that Servant of God, Pope John Paul the Great was an artist, I have to say that he was even more of a laborer. A laborer for souls. And yet, he was an artist for souls as well. He labored to gain the souls and then helped shape them into wonderful things.
He was a laborer and an artist. In many ways.
A beautiful man!

Claire said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Veronica! You are right: part of each of our callings is to be a laborer for souls. Whether this work is carried out through art, or science, or simple service, it must be the focus.

Any true artist is one who knows how to stir the human heart through the sharing of beauty drawn from God's good gifts. And thus, a true artist is seeking to reach souls that way.