Dorothy Day used to say that perseverance was the greatest of all virtues -- surely an essential grace for all of us "normal" folks: relationships, families, work, occasional recreation, every sort of life struggle, and on and on... everyday life is one-
hell-of-a-soup-kitchen-ride! And Dorothy was "normal": needing both her coffee and her psalms everyday -- and at times uncertain as to which was the more important! Yet, she didn't post her thought on perseverance in the New York Catholic Worker (where she lived and worked feeding the hungry for fifty years). Instead, she posted this saying from the writings of Dostoevsky: "The world will be saved by beauty."
Perseverance will keep us going -- even against our better judgment. But it is beauty that gives us the courage to risk the extraordinary, the creative, the "rEvolutionary", and the radiant. It is the embrace of a lover, and the remembrance of his touch, that can compel and sustain courageous works for justice. It is the kiss of a beloved, and the lingering scent of her skin, that can enflame a mind to engage in building a community and a world of safety and reverence for all. It is the foot upon the mountain path, the legs in the river or ocean, the hands digging into the earth, the luminous conversation amongst friends, the wafting odors of cooking foods, the surety of a welcome home, and the smile of enduring love that can liberate an individual consciousness into the solidity and solidarity of Universal Consciousness: it is beauty that will give us wings to trust that we can fly into One Love... without limits...
Beauty is the radiant, exuberant, affirmation of the Universe "I Am!" This poetic cry of the Light and Energy in-filling all of creation becomes the magical lens through which the devotee looks out upon the chaos of the world: where there is hatred and violence, beauty cries "I Am!" Where there is hardship and pain, beauty is lovingly present with her "I Am!" Where there is doubt and tears, beauty is the rock of "I Am!" Where there is loneliness and fear, beauty is the hope of "I Am!" Where there is inequality and injustice, beauty stands in the solidarity of "I Am!" Beauty is the soul of the Universe, the manifestation of our constant state of One Inter-Being: from the vast empty space of an atom, to the endless clustering of galaxies, from the first breath of a newborn child, to the last breath of another life-pilgrim: beauty is the journey of every human heart, beauty is the One Reality giving flesh and bones and consciousness to Love...
Dostoevsky did have a profound insight into the nature and eternal attraction of beauty... but the truth that we now need to hear, embrace, and activate is this: "Beauty has saved the world"...
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher.