A few days ago, a friend of mine in the seminary stopped by my room. We began to talk, and he started to tell me about a giant pumpkin a neighboring market owner gave to him to donate to the seminary. “Don’t tell anyone, because we’re gonna have a raffle, but it’s 147 pounds.” We got a good laugh.
Then he started telling me about some other neighborhood small businesses, how he’s met the owners and gotten to know them. As it turns out, a bunch are Catholic, but they all seem to be separated. So, he was thinking about inviting them as a group over to the seminary for one of the Sunday Masses. I said, that sounds like a great idea.
So he started telling me about a local hairdresser who is older, how so many of the clients are elderly women, and how he goes as pretty much the only young man. We got a good laugh, and then he pointed up to his head and said something that made me stop: “It’s an awful job on the haircut, but I go because the owner is such a beautiful soul.”
Here I was, having a tough day, a little down at the end of the day, and just that one thought that he shared changed my day. He was a light in my darkness, and I thought, my friend here is going to be a very good priest. Now, with a hackjob haircut, he’s going to take some grief and humiliation from everyone, no one can miss it. But for that, all these people who are separated from the Church and each other are going to be gathered to the Lord. Because of one heart, one person who is willing to be humiliated in front of everyone for the sake of beautiful souls.
A person who is willing to be lifted up.
On the Cross, Jesus fulfills a prediction that He made just before the Last Supper. He is going to take torture and crucifixion for the sake of beautiful souls. On the Cross, He’s going to make the supreme sacrifice. He’s going to take the fullness of humiliation and suffering in front of everyone. He’s going to be lifted up. For what? For the love of beautiful souls. By His being humiliated, by His being lifted up, He’s going to enter into the places of the human heart that no one else will go, to gather them together in His Heart: “and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” (Jn 12:32)
When we are true disciples of Jesus, when we are true lovers of hearts, then we will go into the places that no one will go, for the sake of beautiful souls. We will be the ones who shine like lights for others. We will be the ones who gather with God, living and working side by side with Him. We’ll be the ones who gather home the lost into His house.
When we are lifted up.