Lord Make Me Beautiful

Lord Make Me Something Beautiful

By

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

 

“To be like Jesus,

To be like Jesus,

All I ask is to be like Him,

Through all life’s journey,

From earth to glory,

All I ask is to be like Him.”

 

Dear Family

Back in my Evangelical days I used to sing the above song a lot. Then would come the trials, tests etc. and it seemed that was never going to happen. Seemingly it seemed I was in a tomb all my dreams and visions dead and myself not doing much better. I think many of us have at times desired to be like Jesus, or perhaps like St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta or one of the other saints or holy people who have passed before us as examples for us to emulate and try to follow as best we can. We pray, we fast, we seek God, we learn his Word, we contemplate and meditate and perhaps even go on retreats yet nothing seems to change and it seems we are at a standstill going nowhere fast. We are going through the motions, making a lot of commotion, but there doesn’t seem to be any locomotion or very little at best. We want to hurry up the process but instead we move along at a snail’s pace if at all. It seems we are stuck in neutral and wondering where is God in all this?

 

As I have continued through this journey I am on I seem to have in some respects to have hit a plateau. Life still goes on, my monastic practices are still happening, I am still a believer and Catholic and yet at the same time seemingly in some ways at a standstill. In the past I would have been in a panic thinking I had lost my fervor, or perhaps committed one to many sins so God was either ready to do a number on me or had turned his back on me. Perhaps he was about to vomit me out of his mouth as he threatened to do to the Laodiceans in Revelation 3:16. So I would go looking for every possible sin I could think of that I may have committed, redouble my efforts to be a better Christian only in many cases to seemingly fail again. That was yesterday but not today. Today I have a new perspective. Let me explain.

 

Now as I sit here at my desk typing this the view out my window is the same as it has been for the fourteen years I have been here giving a sense of God’s beauty, serenity and peacefulness. It reassures me in one sense that nothing has changed and life goes on as it always has. Same with my apartment, the same pictures hang on the walls, the furniture is still in the same places everything normal. Yet I am restless. Part of that is my old man. While I may have been fine being in my home before being a monk praying etc. now someone has told me I can’t leave my home and so now I want to leave and get out. However I won’t I’ll be a good boy and stay home plus since all the churches, restaurants, parks, beaches etc. are all closed due to the pandemic there is nowhere to go. So here I am but that is cool. God is doing something good.

 

As I sit here I am thinking about a caterpillar and a butterfly. A butterfly is a beautiful creature that God has made. However how did it become one? It started as a caterpillar. The caterpillar is alive and well eating and enjoying life. It then makes and enters a cocoon where it becomes invisible to the outside world. Seemingly to the casual observer it might seem that the cocoon is in fact a tomb where nothing is happening and the caterpillar seemingly dead. However reality is all together different. For inside that cocoon transformation is happening and new life is being created. Then as it struggles to get out of its cocoon/prison it gets stronger. Finally it emerges as a beautiful butterfly ready to fly away and face life. However it needs to be noted here no one can help it. If someone were to slit the cocoon to help free the butterfly it would emerge to weak to survive on its own and would die very quickly. The struggle is what enables the butterfly to emerge strong as the beautiful creature God made it to be and go on and fulfill its destiny.

 

In the same way Lent can be that cocoon for us or that plateau we seem to be stuck on. All may seem to be dead and nothing happening but that is only an illusion. On the inside God is moving and transforming us from something ugly (a caterpillar maybe) to something beautiful like a butterfly. There will be trials, tests and yes even death along the way. There may be rejection, betrayal and death to many of our dreams we thought were from God or the way we thought things should be. Yes it may be Lent now, Holy Week is coming and also Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and Easter Vigil where we are invited to keep watch at the tomb. However that is not the end. Easter Sunday is coming and with it resurrection. We will arise with Jesus as new people transformed by the power of God while in our cocoons to be bright shining examples of Christ who will be empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This to prepare us for Ordinary Times so we can live extraordinary lives in ordinary times and transform our world for the better by living in and being the living Christ to all who we encounter. As we approach the end of Lent and the beginning of the Easter Season let us remember the words of the Bill Gaither song

 

Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life

 

That brothers and sisters is Gods purpose for all of us to take our brokenness and strife, our yuckies and rottenness, and make something beautiful out of our lives that he can display in his trophy cabinet. (Malachi 3:17) To be a people he can show off to the world proudly as to what God can do. God is raising up an army which will not be defeated but will triumph victoriously as peacemakers until all the world is covered in the realm of God’s rule, justice and peace eternally and just one united rainbow, human family made up of all races, peoples, groups living together in peace and harmony eternally.

 

As always comments welcomed

 

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos