What is beauty?
Jason Evert, in his book Theology of His/Her Body, explains this reality when he says that women are the earthly reflection of Divine Beauty. He says that one day we will meet God, Eternal Beauty, face to face but until that time, women are the visible creation of Divine Beauty, so it's no wonder that we find women so attractive.
Bishop Fulton Sheen would often encourage young women to practice what he called an "Apostolate of Beauty". He told young women that they have a very powerful gift of beauty that has been given to them by God and that they can use that gift to bring people to God.
And it is, just as with any other gift, women can use their beauty to heal and bring the hearts of men closer to God, or they can use that gift to destroy and divide, taking the hearts of men away from God and toward themselves, or worse, toward sin. And don't we all misuse our gifts at times.
Is beauty merely a physical attribute to be cherished and worshiped by the world? When a woman is past the age of "physical attractiveness", does that mean she ceases being beautiful? The world says "yes"-- hence the obsession with looking youthful but the Truth says "no"-- our beauty is far more than something mere physical.
So, what is the secret. It took me a long time to really delve into this because i too, for so many years- especially growing up- bought into the lie that a woman has to look like a "Barbie doll" to be considered attractive and beautiful, and so, boy, did I strive for that when I was young.
However, as I grow in my life, I find that there is something far deeper than that. Bishop Fulton Sheen gets at the matter when he says "The beauty on the outside never penetrates within but the beauty within radiates on the face."
For us, as women, to really understand, value and give the gift of our beauty, we have to go to the one who is All Beautiful. We have to go to our Mother Mary, the most beautiful woman ever created. Why was she so beautiful? I am sure she was probably physically attractive but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
The real reason why she is so beautiful is because she is full of grace. Dr. Michael Waldstein remarks that grace/glory is the Divine peak of beauty. I love that.
Her beauty heals us and always brings us back to Jesus, never to herself. I think there is answer. At least, that's the answer I found in my heart.
So we as women needn't compete and compare ourselves with other women. We needn't be slaves to passing fads or mutilate our bodies in order to be considered attractive.
It takes a lot of courage to live real beauty. It takes a lot of courage to let true beauty shine from the depths of our souls and radiate upon our faces, but this is the kind of beauty that is God given, this is the dignity of our beauty.
This kind of beauty heals the world and brings souls to Jesus.
Let the healing begin.