Two boys went to stay with their uncle, an auctioneer, and one day he let them come with him to a sale held at an old-fashioned country-house. All sorts of people crowded into a big room, farmers and shop-keepers and parsons’ wives, and dealers from London in fur-collared overcoats, smoking cigars. Various lots of furniture and odds and ends were bid for, and went for a few pounds or shillings. One grand-looking picture was put up of a military gentleman in a fine gilt frame, and the boys were sure it would fetch a lot, and were disappointed when the local inn-keeper got it for seven and six.
Then a dirty-looking little picture in a shabby and broken frame was put on the table. It seemed to be a portrait of a child, but you could hardly see what, it was so old. ‘Lot twenty-five,’ said somebody.
‘Fifty pounds’ was the first bid, and the boys could hardly believe their ears. The London dealers sat up and began to bid against each other, and in five minutes the picture had reached thousands of pounds: at last it went for £6500.
Going back in the car, the boys asked their uncle why the dingy little picture fetched all that money.
‘Because it happens to be by a great artist. Anything from his hand is of immense value.’
‘Well, it wasn’t much to look at!’
‘Ah, it’ll look very different when the restorers have taken centuries of dirt off it. Then you’ll see its beauty. Very likely some day you’ll see it hanging in the National Gallery.’
Every human soul is of infinite value, because it is the work of God.
It is an image and likeness of God Himself, and however tarnished it may be it only needs cleaning for its beauty to be seen.
Because of this, Our Lord valued us so greatly that He bought us with the infinite price of His Precious Blood. That is why He is our ‘Redeemer.’
– Rev. F.H. Drinkwater, Catechism Stories Part I: the Creed (1939)
Photo by mertala / flickrCC