Correct this ugliness.

The desire to be beautiful seems to be common to mankind, but the very atmosphere of this age is toxic with something that feeds a disease, making us obsessed with our image. One part of the toxic mix is the overwhelming abundance of pictures of faces and bodies in magazines and on every electronic device, forming a kind of lesson plan on How to Look. I was happy for a respite this morning when I read St, Nikolai’s homily for the day in The Prologue of Ohrid.

HOMILY
on the beauty of Christ above all other beauty

Thou art fairer than the sons of men (Psalm 45:2).
 

Holy Scripture does not ascribe any particular value to physical beauty, and in general to anything transient. That is why everyone who reads Holy Scripture should take care to be sufficiently attentive and wise to transfer the praise of physical beauty to the soul and to spiritual values. Without a doubt, spiritual beauty gives a wondrous attractiveness to the most unattractive body, just as an ugly soul makes even the most attractive body repulsive. The Prophet David, pouring forth good words (Psalm 45:1), says to his King, the Lord Jesus Christ: Thou art fairer than the sons of men. 

The Lord Himself created His bodily cloak as He wanted. Had He wanted to appear in the world as the physically fairest of men, He could have done so. But there is nothing in the Gospel to indicate that He drew followers to Himself or influenced men by His appearance. He Himself said: the flesh profiteth nothing (John 6:63). Therefore, it is clear that David was not speaking of the physical beauty of Christ, but of His spiritual, divine beauty. This is clearly seen in the following words of the Psalmist: Grace is poured forth upon thy lips (Psalm 45:2). So it is that the unsurpassed beauty of the Son of God is not in the form and shape of His lips, but rather in the stream of grace that flows from His mouth. 

Again, the Prophet Isaiah speaks of Christ: He had no form or comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him (Isaiah 53:2-3). Do Isaiah and David agree? Perfectly well. David speaks of Christ’s inward beauty, and Isaiah speaks of Christ’s external abasement. Isaiah said that He would not be seen as a king or a rich man, but as a servant and sufferer.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou art fairer to us than all men and angels: glory to Thine immortal and unending beauty. O gracious Lord, correct the ugliness of our souls, which are disfigured by sin, we pray Thee.


To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

7 thoughts on “Correct this ugliness.

  1. What a powerful word on true loveliness. The word to not be lured or discouraged by the world's wax doll standards is important and even more important is the call to draw close to the One of inward beauty…

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  2. Indeed: “Without a doubt, spiritual beauty gives a wondrous attractiveness to the most unattractive body, just as an ugly soul makes even the most attractive body repulsive.”

    and may it be so with us: “So it is that the unsurpassed beauty of the Son of God is not in the form and shape of His lips, but rather in the stream of grace that flows from His mouth.”

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  3. So true…thank you for sharing! ♥ I was just watching the trailer for “Hungry for Change,” about how Americans are concerned about how they look, yet eat food that is NOT nutritious and need to start from the inside, I would add, spiritual as well as your physical health = true outward beauty. Each one of us in our unique ways!

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  4. Amen! Amen!
    I like thinking about how my appearance might make someone feel comfortable and invited in. As I grow to look more and more like Cinderella's fairy godmother, I tend to hope that He might use my appearance to bring comfort and joy. Today, I took my glasses off for a moment while I was teaching and one boy said, “You look better with your glasses ON.” Kids! So funny and honest! Great post, Gretchen Joanna!

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