“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (emphasis mine)
I was in line for confession one Saturday when he entered. He was bent at almost a 90 degree angle, slowly pushing his walker over to the the long line of waiting penitents, who quickly made space for him at the front..
His hair was snow white, and I thought he must be at least 90 years old, or close to it. As I watched him shuffle into the reconciliation room, I marveled at such a sight. I couldn’t help but imagine that a most beautiful soul was “wrapped up” in that very broken and frail body. Here he was, making such a valiant effort to confess his sins. I was humbled by this man’s act, which made him so beautiful to me, in spite of his outward appearance.
I often ponder the “wrappings” of souls. There was a time when I simply imagined that a soul filled one’s body. But of course, a soul is a spirit and takes up no space. It does not have a location in the body, but in some mysterious way, inhabits it, or rather is united to it in forming one being.
God is much more interested in the soul, than in the body, and He has many ways of wrapping up these precious souls which bear His Own Image and Likeness.
We, more often than not, first look at the wrapping. Some souls are wrapped beautifully, but others are plain or even revolting. The worldly quickly fall in love with the beautiful wrappings while often ignoring what lies beneath.
Every person we see is a mystery, a gift, an immortal being. Each one is so loved by God that He thirsts for them as if their were no others. Jesus would have died for only you….or me. If we want to measure the worth of a soul, we need only to look at a crucifix.
I love the quote above by C.S. Lewis. I am delighted to look around a crowd of people and realize that I am among immortal beings infinitely loved by God. I do not know who is the greater or the lesser in His eyes. The wrappings don’t tell. I only know that I am called to love and cherish each one of them, because He loves them so.
It is a terrible thing to hurt another human being: to inflict the pain of a cruel remark, to ignore them, reject them, take them for granted. The world is full of wounded people because we can be so careless, so mean. As Lewis says above, these are “possible gods and goddesses.” And it is so true. They are already the children of God, so beloved by Him.
I confess that it helps me to love others when I see them in this light. I am moved to respect them more when I realize that they are indeed immortal beings, destined for greatness, for Heaven, for a participation in God’s Own Life.
You are all beautiful! You are all possessed of great dignity! You are all worthy of respect, love, and kindness. You will live forever.
No matter how God has wrapped us, one day we will be unveiled and our true beauty will be revealed, and that beauty will reflect only one thing: how much we have loved. And immortal beings that we are, we shall wear that wrapping….the one love wove for us, for all eternity,.
My dear friends, if God loved us so much, we too should love each other. No one has ever seen God, but as long as we love each other God remains in us and his love comes to its perfection in us. (I John 4:11-12)