Consecration Renewal – Day 28

Day 28 of Consecration Preparation from 2008 (or renewal)

From “Mary, Human and Holy” (Antonio Bello)
Chapter 27: Most Beautiful Woman

Although there is nothing mentioned of it in the Gospels, Archbishop Bello believes that Mary was physically beautiful, and that although it is not a point of theology, theology has acknowledged Mary’s physical beauty through its poetic language in prayer and song, of which we have so many examples.

I think too of the many apparitions of Mary around the world; never to my knowledge has she been witnessed as anything but beautiful, even in her sadness, and of course we see images of our beautiful Mother in paintings, icons and statues from throughout the ages. We have heard her described as God’s “masterpiece”, and perhaps instinctively we know that this encompasses her physical appearance as well.

Would it matter to us if Mary had not been beautiful? Perhaps not. Many of our beloved saints who have had a tremendous effect on our lives were, quite frankly, nothing much to look at, if not sometimes downright homely. Of course the opposite is true as well; I think of St. Teresa of Avila and of how her beauty as a young woman attracted people in droves, people who were drawn into her spirituality only afterwards.

We have talked several times over the years at Contemplative Haven, when discussing passages from various contemplative writers or our own experiences, of how the beauty of creation can often be the way peoples’ hearts are turned to God.  I think this is the main reason why Mary must have been physically beautiful, and I see this in Bishop Bello’s thoughts as well:

Holy Mary, most beautiful woman, through you we thank the Lord for the mystery of beauty.  He has scattered it throughout the earth so that an irrepressible desire for heaven might be kept alive in our wayfarer’s hearts.

Bishop Bello recounts many examples of the beauty of God’s creation in this chapter, each of which “offers us fleeting peepholes to glance upon the eternal.”

For this reason, Holy Virgin Mary, we want to feel the beauty of your human splendor… Already the contemplation of your holiness helps us to keep on the right course.  To know that you are most beautiful in body as well as in soul gives us a motive for unbelievable hope.  It helps us grasp that all earthly beauty is just a seed destined to flower in the green fields above.

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Note: I have increased the number of comments visible in the left-hand sidebar because I was getting a little confused going back and forth between days, and find this to be handier and quicker. I will probably lower it back to five visible comments after the consecration renewal is finished. 🙂

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