Take a moment to look at each of the two photos below. Which do you consider to be the more beautiful?
Both of the pictures were taken by me in the last few days. The first is a group of a few thousand people in a lecture hall at The Rimini Meeting waiting to hear John Waters present his lecture “The Human Person, A State of Emergency.” The second picture image is high in the Italian Alps, on a day hike, looking out towards Monte Bianco (on the left).
So which is the more beautiful?
I suspect most of us are more likely to attach the word “beauty” to the second image. Certainly there is beauty in these mountains. But all of the created natural beauty that surrounds us is only God preparing for the master-work of creation that is the human person. The mountains are not created in the image of God. People are.
Each of the people in the image is a greater masterpiece of creation than any mountain. Our problem is that while we still know how to read the natural beauty of our world as a language that tells us about God, we have lost the language with which to read the human person. It is possible to recall this language, but it takes practice. Here is a suggested method.
A few years ago I was fortunate to take a course in “Social Justice” taught by Sr. Mary Evelyn Jegen SND. During the course she mentioned her experiment in benevolent glancing, and later I found her reflection in this in her book at this link.
You might like to try her experiement.