Interesting Articles

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Thing Of Great Beauty

I recently had the great privilege of taking a vacation at the Grand Canyon. As a native Arizonian, I have been to the Canyon a couple of times before. No matter how many times you see it, it is always a spectacular sight. Spending a few days camping in one of the most beautiful parts of creation certainly does a lot to make one feel rejuvenated.

One site I visited at the canyon was the Yavapai Observation Station. This site offers not only an amazing vantage point from which to observe the canyon, but also a variety of educational material that you can use to learn more about the canyon. It was there that I found myself musing on the formation of this impressive natural wonder.

It turns out that there are two main types of processes that have shaped the formation of the Grand Canyon. The first type of process is small, slow, and yet reliably steady. Such as the Colorado River slowly etching away at the canyon floor. Such as wind and water erosion widening the canyon walls. These processes have helped shape the canyon through millions of years of persistent yet currently unrecognizable energy. The second type of process is sudden and violent. The canyon has not only been shaped by erosion and water drops, but also by flash floods and lightning strikes. The expansion of freezing water in the winter causes rockslides. These processes occur suddenly, and can change the features of the canyon in an instant. The result of these two types of forces combined is the creation of a thing of tremendous and awe-inspring beauty.

So it is too with sanctity. God is trying to form us into things of great beauty. He is trying, out of the clay of our common selves, to fashion saints. He desires to brings us out of ourselves, and create His own sons and daughters. And I think he accomplishes this through two main types of formation. The first type is the imperceptible and yet perpetual pressure of virtue and grace. As we travel the small circuit of our lives, performing small works of charity and kindness—when we console the sorrowful, or give food to the hungry, or give a kind word to the stranger on the plane with the crying child, when we offer assistance to someone overburdened—God offers us grace which very slowly, but just as surely, etches virtue onto our very being. The second type is more cataclysmic. At times of great and turbulent emotion—of heartbreaking bliss or sorrow, in moments of extreme ecstasy or extreme suffering—the Lord wrenches us free from ourselves and forces us to become more than we currently are. These two types of formation combine to generate a creature of marvelous and luminous beauty, a full-fledged member in the ranks of the Church Triumphant.

The Grand Canyon and the soul of the saint; both are fashioned by the hand of the Creator. Both are things of great beauty. Both are things carved by processes that are in turn unnoticeable and unmistakable. However, one is infinitely more stunning, and one is of infinitely greater beauty and worth. For while the Lord worked to create both, He suffered and died only to create the latter.

No comments: