by Sr. M. Evelynn Reinke, SND
Originally published in the Winter 2022 issue of the SND USA magazine
Are we related? Are we connected, you and I? Not by blood or marriage, but in other ways?
I believe it’s very possible.
Let me ask you—
Can a sunrise stop your breath?
Do you look up when you hear goldfinch chittering?
Do you stoop to smell roses?
Does music set your toes tapping and bring a lilt to your mood?
Can a wonderful aroma carry you for a moment to another time and place?
If you said, “Yes,” even once, then we may share a vital connection, wrought by the power of beauty.
The energy of beauty creates instant bonds among those who, for instance, share a concert or symphony, an art exhibit, a walk through a lovely park, a refreshing douse from sudden summer rain. The connection emanates from the level at which we’re moved by a mutual experience. When spirits are touched by the same source of wonder, they know a shared resonance, which can run very deep.
An example from my life: The religious graduation ceremony of the college where I taught typically ended with Widor’s Toccata. As if by magic, we floated out of the cathedral on the waves of that magnificent music, connected by its power. Now anytime I hear that piece, with an aura of warmth, my faculty friends who listened with me come to mind. They are present to me again.
Establishing this kind of connection is among my goals in making photocards. Each moment of captured beauty can become a link from me to the sender to the recipient. Thus, though I may not know the card’s receiver, we can participate in a golden web of interconnectedness that blesses each person in its reach. As a result, even in moments of solitude, moments of apparent loneliness, I’m never really by myself when I have so many wonderful relationships. Further, like the energy of prayer that I send out each day, I’m confident that the energy of beauty produces good effects though I may never know where or for whom.
I think this may be something of what Hildegard of Bingen had in mind when she prayed: “O Holy Spirit, you are the mighty way in which everything that is in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, is penetrated with connectedness, penetrated with relatedness.” *
*Hildegard of Bingen, Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen, by Gabriele Uhlein (Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Co., 1982), 41.