Not the flat surface of things. But the depth and heights of things. For the depth and the height join in the mystery of the thing, the gift. God thank you for this caterpillar that I see before me, In my mind's eye, This most small and insignificant thing, A transient speck swallowed by the immensity of the world. Yet, this world is swallowed as the smallest of specks in the immensity of your infinity. But you know this little caterpillar. You see it, you number it, You give it the gift of its life. You sustain it in this very moment by your gift of existence. And it is here to speak of you. For I see it too. I see written in each of its cells the language of life, Its genome expressing itself, An utterance beyond compare, Speaking life into this little being. Not another life, but its own. Its very own. Unique in the entire world. You know it, and now I know it, As I receive what it has to give. A gift, telling of You. The sheer immensity of the gift, given even by the smallest And most insignificant of things. Who can see? Who can know? Who has eyes to see? Why is the world as it is? Why will this little caterpillar transform into a most magnificent thing? Completed, an icon, love in my seeing, Flying away with color, beauty, and grace. Can truth and beauty be one again? Does this little being speak that this must be so? That only love is credible?
Paul S. Julienne
Original March 2017. I could subtitle the poem “Thoughts provoked by reading Hans Urs von Balthasar,” since it came after reading this great theologian’s Theo-logic: The Truth of the World.