As we near the end of this Month of Mary, we can reflect on many things. We know that our Mother cares for and loves us with the most tender heart. She watches out for us and gently guides us to her Son. Because of her purity, grace, love, and fidelity to Jesus, and her constant intercession for us, we know that she is the most beautiful in all and of all creation. By following her example, we can become beautiful too.
Even when the Month of Mary is gone, Our Lady stays with us, and in her humility she wants us to only see her Son’s beauty above everything and everyone else – even herself. Despite our failings and sins, despite our fragilities and doubts, despite our loneliness or inadequacies, she never stops doing this out of love for us. How blessed are we! How beautiful is God’s plan!
Beauty is all around us. In the colours of the leaves which are changing here in the Southern Hemisphere, in the warmth of the sunshine, in the good food we eat every day, the fresh water we drink, and in the thousands of other simplicities of life which we often take for granted; it is everywhere if we take the time to look. We need to constantly focus on the beauty of God to connect with His love because He is good. Even when things are not wonderful, when people endure poverty, sickness, or some other evil assails poor humanity, we can find our strength and beauty in clinging to God, even if our shattered souls take a very long time to emerge from the darkness.
The world often focusses on superficial beauty – the many selfies and other self-indulgent pictures we see of others (and often of ourselves) on social media is evidence of this. We do not take the time to love the inner beauty of a person, but we can quickly judge and may even adore others based on their looks, achievements, or outer wealth. This is not right.
The true kind of beauty however, is always contrary to such earthly ways.
The most beautiful people I have ever met in my life were those who seemed to have God shining from them because of their actions. The way they treated others, how they spoke, their gentleness, quiet joy, serenity, and positive character, made me want to be with them and learn more about them. I never marvelled at how attractive their physical features or achievements were, but I was instead caught up by their saintliness. They made me want to nourish my connection to and relationship with God even more. Sometimes they wore ragged clothing, or they were a person experiencing homelessness, or, in the measure of today’s society, were not highly educated at all. Who is to say that they were not angels, or Jesus Himself in disguise?
On the other hand, some people I knew who were beautiful in the world’s eyes, or wore the best clothing or jewels, achieved a high level of education, or were paid highly in their careers, actually turned out to be very shallow, self-important, distant, and unkind.
Our definition of beauty must change. How can we reshape our thoughts and minds to find the sort of beauty which leads us to God’s love and our eternal happiness?:
- Take the time to be still.
- Disconnect from social media – even for a short time.
- Start noticing the tiny things around in you nature which speak of God’s beauty – a flower, animals, the seasons.
- Do not avoid people if they are materially poor, seemingly less educated, or ‘ugly’ according to worldly ways, but try to find the beauty in their soul by getting to know them as human beings.
- Focus on the beauty of Christ through His words and actions in scripture.
- Listen to soothing music and hymns which speak to our souls about Jesus and His love for us.
- Read books and literature written throughout the ages about God’s blessings. Beautiful words can move hearts.
- Ask God to help you find His beauty through His eyes, not yours.
- Set an example and start being a person who lives the beautiful life through your actions.
This is how you can spend your time cultivating a beauty that will last forever.
Once we set aside time to look at the world and other people differently, we will begin to change. When we transform ourselves, we will discover that our communities around us will start to shift too. If every person did this, we would find ourselves in the midst of a true miracle for the world. We will find that the beautiful one, which we have been looking for in so many other places and in so many ways for so many years, was actually standing right there in front of us all along – Christ Himself.