Hoofprints of the Stag

Hoofprints of the Stag

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Dear [Very Beautiful Girl]: A Theological Reflection on a Very Beautiful Girl

I hadn't originally intended to publish this post around Valentine's Day; in fact, I hadn't really intended to publish it at all.  But I was musing and reflecting the other day (as I so often do), and I thought this brief treatise on beauty might make some sense of the [perceived] bizarreness of entering the seminary and thus entering a life estranged from the companionship of marriage (which is a topic I get asked about fairly often when discussing my vocation).

This reflection is in the form of a letter.  I wrote this letter several months before entering seminary because I had a late night spur of insomnia induced creativity where I was just thinking and writing nonstop.  When I wrote this letter, I had a particular 'very beautiful girl' in mind that I was writing to, but I realized that the sentiments could apply to really any beautiful girl.  Of course, I never intended to give the letter to the person in question; I was merely writing to give creative expression to my thoughts.  I have therefore edited the letter a little bit to make it generic and more applicable to the idea of women in general.

There is little else to add to my commentary at this point.  Below is the text of the letter in full.  Consider it my Valentine card to the Church.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Dear [Very Beautiful Girl]-

            Ever since I met you, I have wanted to tell you that I think you are one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen.  And I mean that, too.  Of all the girls I’ve seen, you stand out certainly as one of the most absolutely beautiful of them.  And when I did actually meet you, your beauty was enhanced by your kindness, your warmth, and your ever present smile.
            This is all very important for several reasons.  When a man beholds a woman he thinks is truly beautiful, he finds himself captivated and somehow filled with a particular fervor and ardor that suddenly makes him capable of great things he had not previously thought himself capable of, and this even despite the fact that such a woman may be unattainable.  He will make sacrifices he might never have made and will do so cheerfully.
            As it stands now, I am entering the seminary to study for the priesthood.  I’ve been discerning this call for quite some time now.  Oftentimes, a man discerning a vocation to the priesthood will see a beautiful girl and think sadly to himself of what he is leaving behind.  But instead, a man may look to the Church, the bride of Christ, and know that the beauty he sees in a particular woman is a reflection of the beauty of the Church, and his fervor only a shadow of the fondness Christ has for his bride.  This is the attitude I will carry with me.  After all, all earthly beauty is a reflection of God’s divine beauty, and when I see you, I see a reflection of the majesty and glory of God.
            And so in the end, I guess I just wanted to tell you that you are beautiful.  I’m sure people tell you that all the time, so it may seem like a broken record to you at this point, but I just feel compelled to tell you.  It’s like when I see a crooked picture hanging on the wall.  It has to be made right; I can’t not set it right.  In the same way, I feel like I can’t not tell you, like it’s something that has to be said, just so you know it, and not for any other reason.
            As I pursue the priesthood, your beauty will remind me of the beauty of the Church.  And I will be captivated by the beauty of the bride of Christ, and I will be filled with a fervor and ardor that will make me capable of great things I had not previously found myself capable of, and I will make sacrifices I might not otherwise have made, and I will do so cheerfully.  This is what your beauty means to me, strange as it may seem.


                                                                                    Luke Stager

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