“For if you saw the spiritual beauty of the angels and of holy souls, your body could not bear to see it but would break like a vessel, broken and decayed due to the soul’s joy at the sight.”
– Jesus to St. Bridget (Bk 2, Ch. 18)
“I desire,” said Our Lord to Sr. Gertrude Mary, “that you should be altogether beautiful, My beloved.” It is as if He said: ‘My spouse, I love you. I cannot bear to see your soul sullied with sin.’
God takes delight in seeing us happy, beautiful and holy. But we will never have these things if we are attached to sin. Why? Because they can only increase in proportion to grace and charity, which are opposed to sin.
“Be ye perfect,” says the Lord. These are not the words of a demanding Spouse; no, they are an admirable proof of God’s love for us. We are perfected by grace and charity, which unites us to God; therefore, by calling us to perfection, God is calling us to receive His love, so that we might love Him in return!
It is because of God’s great love for us that He wants us to abstain from sin. Sin is a privation of goodness: it is a negation, a corruption, a perversion, an absence of goodness. Just as leprosy ravages the body, so too does cancer ravage the soul. One mortal sin is worse than all the sufferings of Hell.
If people cared as much for the beauty of their soul as they did their bodies, many of us would be saints. But, too often, instead of adorning our souls with virtues, we adorn our bodies; instead of directing others to God by our virtue and humility, we seek to draw attention to ourselves; rather than growing in love, we grow in self–love; rather than “glorifying God in [our] bodies”, we profane them.
“We must love the state of grace above everything else and fear nothing so much as occasions of sin… The state of grace is our beauty. It is the reflection of Jesus Christ in His Saints. As the Father sees Himself in His Word, so Jesus sees Himself in their souls. But if the soul is stained with sin, it is impossible for God to be reflected therein. Do you expect Him to be well pleased to look at His Divine Son’s executioner? Evil is never lovable. And when we are guilty of sin, God cannot love our state.” (St. Peter Julian Eyrmard)
What good has mankind’s general obsession with physical beauty achieved? Vanity, low self–esteem, depression, jealousy, envy, lust? How many souls have been led into sin as a result of this perverse glorification of the human body, which is destined to decay and die!
Let us value things according to their true worth. Let us shun all vanity and impurity, asking God to give us a thirst for holiness. One can hardly exaggerate the value of a soul, considering that Our Lord redeemed us with His Precious Blood, one drop of which is sufficient to atone for an infinite number of offences.
We must not take sin lightly. For all that God has done for our souls, we owe it to Him to keep them pure, remembering that only the pure of heart shall see God.
“Never go to rest at night with the slightest shadow obscuring your soul. This I recommend to you with great insistence. When you commit a fault, repair it at once. I wish your soul to be as pure as crystal.”
– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
“… I in the beginning created man to My own image and likeness, and… it is always My endeavour, in so far as you are fit for it, to intensify that likeness between Me and you.”
– The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena
The Beauty of a Soul in Grace
“When God had once revealed this beauty to St. Catherine of Siena, she covered with kisses the footsteps of those who were engaged in bringing sinners back to the grace of God, and transported with joy, she said to her confessor: “Had you, my father, beheld the beauty of one soul adorned with grace, you would certainly, for the sake of one such soul, gladly suffer death a thousand times…
Solomon, therefore, in his Canticle of Canticles, praises nothing so much as this Divine beauty and glory of a soul in grace… If the mere natural beauty of the soul surpasses beyond comparison the beauty of all bodies, even that of the sun, how much more the supernatural beauty which it receives from grace? For there exists a much greater distance between grace and the nature of the soul, than between the latter and all the beauty of the visible world. Nor does the heavenly splendour of grace suffer from the fact that our bodily, or even our mental eye, is incapable of beholding it; this is rather a proof of its excellence, for whatever we are able to see can only be a limited and earthly beauty.” (‘The Glories of Divine Grace’ – an essential read for every Christian!)
‘The Glories of Divine Grace’ can be read online here (legally):
If we can find the time to learn about trivial things, surely we can devote at least a few minutes a day to learning about Divine Grace! This book will be a revelation to many; it certainly has been to me. It will make sin seem very, very unappealing.