Seeking Beauty in the Women Around Me
(Click to enlarge the photos)
While I was in college, I was blessed with the opportunity to study in Austria where I took a Catholic art history class that strongly impacted my life through the concept of beauty. Through taking this class, I came to see that beauty will save the world.
At the beginning of the semester, there was a class dedicated to defining beauty; was it subjective or objective? At first I wanted to say objective because there is an unspoken beauty in all things, but at the same time it is subjective because not everyone notices or appreciates beauty in all things. This was my dilemma: I could see both sides of the definition. In relation to art, I think that all things are beautiful, even if I don’t see it right away.
It is a simple question, but it was one that I reflected on that whole semester. I pursued beauty in everything: art, buildings, churches, nature, literature, music, others, the lives of the saints. I strongly desired to see as much beauty as I could in order to determine what it truly means.
And I found it. During my holy hour. At 3am. (I know, it was insanely early and rough, but oh-so-prayerful) I was gazing at our Lord in the monstrance and came to the realization that He is Beauty. Gazing into the monstrance, I remember in my half awake state, that all of my desires were fulfilled in Him; He is what I was searching for that semester. That night/morning, I scribbled in my journal about how much He had changed me that semester. My perspective had changed on what beauty was because I had found what beauty means and looks like; beauty is sacrifice, humility, authentic and vulnerable love. And so many more things. It was then that I truly desired to be in an intentional relationship with Beauty Himself. For it was in Him, as His beloved, that I found my identity, and still do today.
I have truly come to see that beauty is saving, and changing, the world. I have come to see beauty more fully in myself, and let me tell you, this has been a rough road. I have not always seen myself as beautiful; I fell into the lies of what society considered the standards for beauty. In high school, and even in the first few years of college, I truly struggled with this lie. It was not until I studied in Europe for a semester that I came to appreciate beauty for what it truly is.
I am far from perfect, I still struggle today, yet I know the truth: I am beautiful and worthy of love. My identity is in Him, He who is Beauty, and therefore I beautiful (and that includes you too, ladies).
I see now that my call is to show women their beauty, worth and dignity they have in Christ. This is who I am meant to be as a Catholic woman and it was through looking at Beauty Himself that I came to this realization. Ladies, stay close to Him and visit Him in adoration. Pursue His heart and let Him love you in His mercy and grace. You are His beloved, His beautiful one. Never forget this truth.
Your beauty is saving the world.
In His Heart,