Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

When you go to a museum or a church and you look at the depictions of Our Lord and of His saints and His angels, you tend to see them portrayed in a positive light.  They tend to have beautiful proportions, handsome appearances and attractive attire.  You do not tend to see skin blemishes or wrinkles, ungainly costumes or awkward expressions.  This is not because the artist is trying to cover up the humanity of the saints and of Our Lord, but because he or she is trying to portray the beauty of sanctity using exterior forms, like proportion, color, shading, shape, etc.  The idea is that the exterior forms are reflections of the interior forms: virtues, graces, gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.  When we see the beautiful depiction of a saint, we should become inspired by the beauty of the spiritual life.  Thus, the beautiful appearance is but a vehicle by which we are carried up to a higher good, a beautiful reality.

A note of caution is in order, though, to avoid confusing something that merely appears good with something that really is good.  This is why we have Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

Whether you are a woman or a man: how much time do you spend on your appearance and on your charm?  How much time do you spend fearing the LORD?  Which one of these is really more important to you: appearance or reality?

November 19th, 2017