Souls are more different than faces….

St. Therese had a saying, “Souls are more different than faces.”

I heard something similar growing up in Catholic school, under the wise and devoted instruction of glowing nuns in flowing habits who appeared to have vast insights into the mysteries of God.  I listened intently, but found it difficult to believe that each of the billions of people God had created was absolutely unique and unrepeatable.  But the nuns said it was true.

My friends and I seemed pretty similar as far as I could tell.  We might have looked different, but I didn’t see how our souls could be all that unique.  In fact, my best friend and I thought we were just about exactly alike.

But the nuns taught that each soul was created to reflect one of the Infinite Perfections of God with such beauty and intensity that even the angels would be in awe.  And they went on to say that no other soul created before or afterward could possess the same splendor reserved for that particular soul by God….not ever.

But, I was looking at faces.  And faces weren’t all that dazzlingly different, and some were almost identical…like twins.  So, what was up with all these billions of souls being so individually precious and so beautiful that even God was madly in love with them…with all of them?

First I had to get to know the Lover.  Then He began to teach me to look beyond the faces and to see His Beauty in my brothers and sisters.  And Therese and the nuns were right.  I began to see first the tremendous dignity of each person God has created, and then the fragile loveliness of a soul…more delicate than a butterfly’s wing, and I understood how terrible a thing it is to wound such a creature….one who bears the very Image of God.

And yes, they are all different from one another….so very different.  Many people are kind, but they express it in a myriad of ways and degrees..  It is the same with all the other virtues and attributes of God.  Each person is a unique and exquisite constellation of Our Father’s Image, imprinted on that soul alone….for all time.

Therese knew this, and that is why she always treated everyone alike, aspiring to have no favorites.  Her blood sisters in the convent often complained that she seemed to love the other nuns more than she loved them.  But that wasn’t true.  She felt great natural affection and familial love for her own sisters, but she knew how to look beyond such human affection, and to love others as God loved them.

When faced with difficult people, it can be helpful to stop and contemplate how much God loves that person.  He is truly looking at us and longing for us to gaze in admiration on His beloved creation….to see the potential He sees in them.  He desires that we do all in our power to help everyone He places in our path to become the fullness of His Image within them.

Whenever Therese saw another nun committing what appeared to be a “fault,” Therese would remind herself of all the good deeds the offending nun had accomplished, which Therese had not been privileged to see.

Blogging is an excellent venue in which the uniqueness of souls is able to shine, because there are no faces, no gestures, no audible voices.  There are only ideas, words, sharing, caring…..things of the spirit, rather than the flesh.

And here, we begin to see that bloggers….like snowflakes, are delightfully different from one another.  As I click around and read my favorite blogs and then check out a new blog or two, I am always amazed at the endless variety of expression….even though the bloggers I follow are very much in agreement with one another on matters of Faith and family.  Yet, each has a niche.  Each has a beauty found nowhere else.

And here in the blogging world, there is the rare opportunity of being able to admire souls, without being distracted by faces.

On those rare occasions in my parish when a baby is baptized during Sunday Mass, the cantor sings a song which begins, “You are God’s work of art…..”

You are!  We all are!  Like the song says, “There will never be another you…..”  God loves you so much, for you resemble Him in a way that no one else ever can.  You are so precious to Him that He is waiting to give you a new name in Heaven….a “secret” name, known only to you and to Him.

Just imagine…. all the beauty of creation from its dawn until its end someday is nothing compared to you, for you bear the very Image of God.  Truly you are God’s work of art!

Father, grant that we may not hinder your work in our souls, or in the souls of our brothers and sisters, as You, with Divine Love, Wisdom, Goodness and Power are at each moment refining Your Very Image within us.  We thank You that we are Your children, destined for Glory in the Kingdom of so Great a Father, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

…..to those who prove victorious I will give some hidden manna and a white stone, with a new name written on it, known only to the person who receives it.  (Rev. 2:17) NJB

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10 thoughts on “Souls are more different than faces….

  1. Patricia,
    Thank you for this beautiful post. It made me think of another reflection by Therese where she talks about how we are so different, like flowers in a field~God did not just create roses or daisies. We are as varied as the flowers in the field.
    I love the picture you chose to go with this post.
    God bless.

    • Thanks, Karen. I’m glad you liked the picture…I almost used another one, but now I’m glad I went with this one. I love it for the same reason I love your google image…because Jesus is caressing the girl’s face. What a lovely image….and so like Him, I think.
      Yes, I know the reflection you referenced about Therese and the field of flowers. She thought she was just a “little flower”. I think she turned out to be a magnificent rose garden reaching as far as the eye can see! I like how she said that each tiny flower charms the Heart of God…not just the magnificent ones.
      God bless you too!

  2. Patricia, What a beautiful thought about the individuality of bloggers and beauty of each we see only in one another’s souls…It’s so true how each is a flower so different. I think even if we tried to imitate each other we couldn’t. Somehow the writing makes the uniqueness more evident..it can’t be imitated..like the flower or the snowflake.

    And I see our nuns taught from the same book! : )

    Can’t help the fact that you’re a favorite, though and I love you to pieces.
    xxoo +

    • And I see our nuns taught from the same book! : )

      Didn’t they all? : ) And they were soooo wonderful! Sure wish our sons could have had that experience.

      You know, often people never get to know someone because of something about how they look: too beautiful, too scary, not attractive, talk too loud, not loud enough, etc.
      But when you get to know their heart first, and you love them for who they really are, I don’t think the rest would matter.
      I can’t imagine not loving to death all my blogging friends, who have already shared so much with me.
      And you…well let’s just say there is a special place in my heart….

      Pray with me tomorrow if you can, between 4-6pm CDT, my adoration hours.

      Love and prayers xxoo

  3. Patricia-this is an exquisitely beautiful post! I love how you connect blogging to souls without faces! How clever and how true! It’s hard to fathom that each soul was created to reflect the infinite perfections of God. Knowing that, how can we not do our best to love each and every person who comes our way because they are perfect in God!!!

    Thank you so much for writing this beautiful blog! The blogging world is enriched by your goodness and your sweet insights!

    • Anne, such kind and generous words…thank you so much.
      Knowing that, how can we not do our best to love each and every person who comes our way because they are perfect in God!!!
      How true! And, I find it really does help to slow down and remind oneself of that person’s worth to God. If He loves them, than we have just got to try!

      I’m looking forward to one day putting the beautiful faces with the precious souls I have come to know this past year through reading their blogs.
      BTW, just loved, loved, loved, your post about the mother of the newly ordained priest holding onto him so long….and your touching insight. I pray that you too will be embracing a priest-son one day….

      Love and prayers,
      Patricia

  4. Beautiful, Patricia. Good reminder of heaven, the unique splendor of our souls and the love God has for each of us to have a new name for us in heaven. C.S. Lewis and Thomas Merton have some famous passages reflecting on the splendor of each soul, too. I remember reading that St. Therese would offer the virtues God had cultivated the souls of her convent sisters. God Bless you and your family! love, Colleen

    • Thank you, Colleen. I have a friend who is so excited about receiving a special new name from God, that she prays to learn what it is now..while still on earth. I haven’t asked her if that prayer has been answered…it’s so personal. I read somewhere that our “name” will reflect the special gift of God that we were to manifest in our life on earth. So many surprises await us in Heaven!

      I haven’t gotten into C.S. Lewis or Merton yet…although I have a couple of books by Merton. So many books…so little time! Some will just have to wait for that great library table in the sky : )

      Love you,
      Patricia

  5. Hi Patricia,
    If only everybody in the world could read this post and realize this truth about themselves. Your post expresses this truth so beautifully! I loved your comment about blogging too – I have never met two bloggers who write in the same way and each one has a unique perspective on life and God. It’s wonderful! We all get to share each others gifts!

    Hugs!

    • Mary, it’s so true, isn’t it: No two alike! All the bloggers I dearly love cherish the same things, but are still very different. The nuns were right! : ) It IS wonderful to share each others gifts…to read a perspective we would not have thought of ourselves.

      I read somewhere that in Heaven, we will all share in each other’s gifts and rewards too…that the great Saints will share with us their greater glory, etc. It makes sense…if God is to share with us His Own Divine Life!!! God’s Way is so beautiful…all about loving and giving, sharing and oneness. How beautiful He is!
      Thank you for stopping by!

      Love,
      Patricia

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