Carried in Love Transformed by Beauty
the solitary wooded valleys,
the strange islands,
the roaring torrents,
the whisper of the amorous gales;
the tranquil night
at the approaches of the dawn,
the silent music,
the murmuring solitude,
the supper which revives,
and enkindles love.
by St John of the Cross]
The quest for love forms the basis for all human desire and striving. We originate from infinite love, and only love can fulfill us: the fullness of love is our destiny. We are born into the school of love, which is the gift of life itself. Instead of becoming blind to beauty and lame in walking the way of love, we can become beacons of light, and have hearts aflame with love ... God is love, and is in quest of our love. We originate from Him, and are thus constantly in quest of his love. Whether we become sidetracked by created beings or objects, or find in and through them the God we yearn for, or whether we are enabled in moments of ecstasy to love God directly, we will be in quest of love till our last breath. It is wonderful to realize that in life, no matter how traumatic or painful the circumstances and experiences, God is with us and is carrying us in love, wanting to transform us in Beauty.
The experience of being carried in Love and transformed in Beauty I saw wonderfully realized and manifested in the life of someone I was destined to meet walking on Robberg Beach in Plettenberg Bay. I was overjoyed to see how this was demonstrated in the life of a new parishioner, Leela Verity, and I thought it would be great to look at how she describes her experience of being transformed by love and beauty and how she sees her journey back to God ... I am honored to be included in the INTRODUCTION to this LOVE-LY and BEAUTIFUL book written by my dearly be-loved friend and soul-mate FR JOHAN STRYDOM. To read my story go to:
Each one of us is created in the image and likeness of God. That means that my deepest being or my true self is of infinite worth and value. My true self is like God Himself, who is intelligent, free, loving, beautiful, and, as a person, capable of deep and intimate relationship. This self I am to accept and love, to respect and value with great esteem. I am to love and accept myself unconditionally – as God does. All the beauty I see around me I already have within myself to treasure, because God, who possesses all beauty and strength, lives within me! The fullness of joy is ours to experience if we become more and more aware of this wonderful reality. The fullness of Being and Love exists within me. The consciousness of myself as the temple of God and being created in his image is something that is of eternal significance and can never be taken away from me. My true self and the image of God that I am, are eternal. Love is eternal. Thus the essence of my being is love!
He who knows himself, knows all human beings
He who can love himself, loves all human beings
He who sins against his neighbor sins against himself
He who loves his neighbor, loves God
And he who loves God, loves his own soul.
[St Anthony of the Desert]
"You are precious in my eyes and honored, and I LOVE YOU." [Isaiah 43:4]
Fr Johan gives real life examples of God's love from his own life and from the lives of others, and I will share one of them with you. A few years ago, he walked the Camino. It is customary to take a stone with you representing some burden that you wish to lay down at a particular point on your pilgrimage when you feel ready to let it go. I gave him a stone with the words written on it: ALL SHALL BE WELL. The particular burden related to the death of one of his friends who had committed suicide and he was deeply grieved about this. He prayed that the stone would in some way be returned to him at the end of the pilgrimage as an assurance that his friend was now at peace and with God. After the Camino, he visited Ampleforth Abbey in England. He was drawn to a book in the library by his patron saint, St John Vianney. He opened the book and his eyes fell on the words: "Fear nothing: all will be well", followed by a story about someone who had committed suicide. Of all the hundreds of books in the library, he was drawn to open a book exactly on the page where the words on his stone came back to him and gave him the assurance he had prayed for. Such is the love of God. He knows the burdens that we carry in our hearts and he hears our prayers, and through his love and grace he tells us: Fear not, ALL SHALL BE WELL.
"I have loved you with an everlasting love." [Jeremiah 31:3]
CARRIED IN LOVE, TRANSFORMED BY BEAUTY looks at the many aspects of love, and assures us that WE ARE LOVED, and invites us to become and be the love that we are. Our response must be to breathe in this love with every breath and say 'Thank You'. And then breathe out with the words, 'I love You too', until our last breath.
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Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up because
YOU ARE LOVED!