There's something about peonies that make the perfect harbinger to summer. I can't resist their impossibly big, round blooms.
This morning I wove some into a crown for my 4-year-old daughter, who pranced around the backyard like a little woodland nymph. We breathed in the fresh June morning together, filling up on beauty.
In classical tradition, truth, beauty and goodness are considered the three transcendentals -- the anchors of a free-flowing triangle, one leading to another.
The Catholic Church recognizes their power in evangelization. The gentle -- and often, most effective -- approach is to begin with beauty. A flicker of beauty can point to goodnes and then a deeper truth.
When I think about the influence of Catholic sisters, I contemplate their gentle touch -- the way they soften hard hearts with their goodness, the way they collect beauty in a fractured, sometimes ugly world.
In doing so, they help open us up to wide, healing embrace of God's love.
To paraphrase Pope Francis, what would our world be without sisters?
This summer, seek out the beautiful and hold it up high so those around you can also be blessed by it.