Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Beauty, and the dangers of it

November 21, 2021 • 7 min

Everyone loves beauty. But when we don’t understand what beauty is for, or what to do with it, we often end up sinning, offending God by that very beauty that has its source in Him.

When we find a gem or precious stone on the beach, we want to pick it up and keep it, so later we can look at it often and enjoy its shimmer or colors.

A girl in the flower of her youth sees that God is beginning to give her a new kind of beauty, one she didn’t have before, but one proper to her nature. Nature gives her a beauty of body, and grace gives her a beauty of soul.

She rejoices that she has this new beauty, but rightly keeps it secret, recognizing that it was given to her as a gift, which she can only give to one man, and so she carefully preserves it until she finds him.

When a boy begins to become a man, he finds himself having a new strength, of body by nature, and of character by grace. This gives him confidence that he can provide for and protect a woman. But he knows that his heart can only be given to one woman.

Marriage is a gift of one’s very self to the other, for the sake of uniting their gifts in order to create a united life, one that’s both strong and beautiful, that a new child can be born into, so they can share their gifts with this new life.

But when a boy wants to unite himself to female beauty for any reason outside of this, he falls into many different kinds of sins. He can never be happy this way, having separated his strength from its natural purpose, and so he justly loses his strength, both of body and soul.

And when a girl shares her beauty for any other purpose, she also falls into many kinds of sins, sharing it with the wrong person (or people), at the wrong time, in the wrong way. She never finds happiness either, because she separated her beauty from its purpose, so she loses her beauty, both on the outside and inside.

These are incredibly important dangers to avoid. To follow this path is to drink a poisonous cup. It inebriates us for a while, but only so that we may be more easily caught off guard by the devil, who then enslaves us to many sins.

Sometimes we remain in this blinded state for whole years or even decades, wasting all this time in a sort of sleep or daze, not aware of what we’re doing, not in control of ourselves, and getting ourselves into more and more trouble through our sins.

In the beginning, we knew it was a trap deep down in our hearts, but we let ourselves be led into it anyway, not having enough faith that resisting it would be worthwhile. But after we fell into this trap, we could only hear the voice of God faintly and from a distance, calling us.

To such people, Jesus cries out, “come out of her, my people!” (Revelation 18:4) In other words, “wake up!” He’s asking us to grab his hand and let him pull us out of these nets that we allowed ourselves to be caught up in.

If you have lost your strength or beauty of body and soul, because you have fallen into sin, don’t be discouraged! Jesus also says, “behold, I make all things new!” He will recreate in you a clean heart. He will be merciful towards your iniquities, and remember your sins no more!

In this case, take for your patron St. Augustine in a special way. After years of seeking for beauty in created human beings, he finally found the Uncreated Beauty in God, crying out, “Late have I loved thee, beauty so ancient, so new! Late have I loved thee!” He will pray that you are rescued from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, with the same force that he himself was.

But if you have preserved these gifts and your holy innocence, then thank God for it, because you have something very rare in today’s world, and very much worth keeping. So stay away from occasions of sin very diligently, and protect this precious gift very carefully.

Let nobody ever make you ashamed or embarrassed about having the gift of purity or even of virginity. If the world mocks you for it, know that God and the Angels and Saints will praise you far more for it.

And know that you are in good company, for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were all life-long virgins, as were countless Saints. And St. Augustine and many others, have restored their purity to a much higher degree than they could imagine, by letting the Love of God fill their hearts.

Remember, a girl’s beauty does not belong to her, or to whoever she gives it to. It belongs to God, so that both the man and woman may be drawn to God through it. God is the source of that beauty, and it’s a tiny reflection of the beauty that God wants us to know that he has to an infinite degree.

As St. John Paul II made St. Brother Albert say in his play “Our God’s Brother,” Jesus is “the most beautiful of the sons of men.” This beauty actually shines forth in the Son of God in a physical way, since he is both true God and true man.

And this beauty of the Son of Mary was not taken from her, but given to her, by virtue of her being his mother. So that some people who saw the Blessed Virgin Mary had said, if they weren’t instructed well in the Catholic truths, they would have thought her a goddess!

The Holy Spirit, through the words of St. Paul, reminds us, “He who gave us his only Son, will he not also give us all things with him?” Yes, God will give us every beautiful thing. In this life, only that which is good and helpful to lead us to the next life. But in the next life, everything beautiful will be ours. Even God Himself, the Infinite Source of all Beauty, will be ours.

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