God is Beautiful 

There is an old cherry tree that grows on the northwest corner of the Parish Office building on the campus of St. Cecilia. Every year, around this time, I look forward to seeing the beautiful pink flowers that adorn its twisted brown branches. The blossoms make me think of the conversion story of a priest named Avery Dulles, who was a member of the Society of Jesus and a well-known theologian by the time of his death in 2008. Dulles came from a prominent family, his father being John Foster Dulles, after whom Dulled International Airport in Washington, D.C. is named. His family was Presbyterian, but by the time he started college at Harvard in 1936, Dulles was an agnostic. While in college, he became very interested in philosophy and became convinced that Catholic approaches to philosophy offered the most coherent account of reality than any other approach. But his actual conversion came through an experience he had on a gray February afternoon in 1939, when he went for a walk along Boston’s River Charles. “As I wandered aimlessly, something impelled me to look contemplatively at a young tree. On its frail, supple branches were young buds…. While my eye rested on them, the thought came to me suddenly, with all the strength and novelty of a revelation, that these little buds in their innocence and meekness followed a rule, a law of which I as yet knew nothing.” Dulles recognized that the tree’s life had a purpose and a meaning which it had received by virtue of its being a creature. Its beauty, which was part of its Maker’s plan, revealed something of the beauty of its Creator, as well as His goodness and truth.  “That night, for the first time in years, I prayed.” 

God has made the world beautiful so that His creatures, including us, might delight in it. Made in His image, we have the capacity to contemplate its beauty and desire relationship with Him, who gratuitously bestows such grandeur upon us. In this time of the year, when the natural world proclaims with gusto the glory of God, may we be given the grace to recognize the beauty of Creation and be filled with the desire to give thanks to the One who made it so.  

posted 4/29/23

One thought on “God is Beautiful 

  1. God ‘s art everywhere. This time of the year is beautiful as all the amazing things that God ‘s blessings give us everyday. I pray for many people have the same conversion that this priest.


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