Integrity, Shape & Radiance: Defining Inner Beauty

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I’m not one of those girls who obsesses over make-up and fingernail polish. I’ve never even had a pedicure or manicure in my life. But I decided it’s time to have some good ol’ girl talk on here.

Let’s consider how much time we women spend in a day or in a week beautifying ourselves…washing our hair, styling our hair, deciding what to wear, trimming our nails, putting on make-up, checking ourselves in the mirror – and those are just the basics! And then consider this: how much time did you spend today or in the past week working on your inner beauty? By this I mean: a kind heart, listening, loving, affirming others, etc.

Compare the two. How do the hours measure up? If you are like me, this will put things into a new perspective! So what can we do to foster more inner beauty? The kind that shines through our eyes and radiates from our heart into the deeds we do?

A beauty consultant once told me at a workshop that the elements of beauty are: integrity, shape and radiance. These are the keys to looking great.
But on a spiritual level, what does it look like to be a beautiful woman of God? If virtues were lipstick, mascara, jewelry and flowers, how would we be adorned?

Last week, I gave a talk about “Mary: the Warrior Princess” to a group of women, and I challenged them next time they glance at themselves in the mirror to do a Marian Makeover. Mary was the Mother of God. Her perfect obedience and purity of heart and body made her the most beautiful woman that ever lived. She was a woman of integrity, because she was fully integrated in who she was as Theotokos, the God-bearer. She carried God within her and she was the first Christian, the first to carry Him to others. Mary was “in shape,” because she had all her priorities in order and was well-endowed in virtue. Mary was radiant with joy, peace and love, because she was full of God’s grace. She was filled with love for her God that spilled over onto all of God’s creation.

As we stare into the mirror today, and this week, let’s call to mind what we need to “put on” to become more beautiful women from the inside out. Let’s strive to mirror Mary in her 10 virtues and through our feminine genius spread the beauty of God…

Tips for a Marian Make-Over

1. SOAP & WATER….Total Mortification

Today I will die to selfish desires and sin so that Christ can live fully in me. I accept and take up my daily cross with joy.

2. HAIR…. Continual Mental Prayer

Raise my mind to heaven today. Remember how Mary was always conversing with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

3. EYEBROWS & WRINKLES…. Divine Wisdom

God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are our ways His ways (Is. 55:8-9). Let God surprise you today as you see His greater design in everything.

4. EYES…. Profound Humility

True humility is seeing things the way they really are. Today I will look at myself and others as God does, seeing nothing more and nothing less.

5. LIPS…. Surpassing Purity

Purity is freedom from anything that debases or pollutes. May holiness permeate my mind, my heart, and the words of my mouth today.

6. YOU SMELL GOOD!…. Angelic Sweetness

To be angelic is to reflect the face of God. Sweetness is fresh and new, kind and attractive. “We are the aroma of Christ for God” (2 Cor. 2:15).

7. SMILE…. Ardent Charity

Glowing love – love infused with the Spirit of God. Mary’s works of service came from a heart glowing with love for God.

8. WHAT TO WEAR…. Heroic Patience

Endure with courage whatever frustrations and trials come my way.

9. HANDS…. Lively Faith

Faith is a gift as well as an act of ours. Mary lived her faith by serving others.

10. BEAUTIFUL FEET…. Blind Obedience

Like a child holding her father’s hand, I entrust myself to God’s Will. I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to His word.
“Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes, but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Pet. 3:3-4)

“Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Prov. 31:30).

Scripture quotes from The New American Bible.

Feature writer, reviewer and blogger Christina Novak defines herself as a word warrior and a writer at heart. Her articles have appeared in local, diocesan and national publications. She has a degree in writing from Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH, and lives in Fond du Lac, WI. She blogs about faith and writing at AsIWentWalking.blogspot.com.

Copyright 2011 Christina Novak

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