The Most Beautiful Woman in the World
A Russian Folk Tale
Once there was a little Russian peasant girl named Varya who, during harvest time, went into the fields with her mother. While her mother worked collecting the wheat Varya followed and played happily among the tall stalks.
One day after playing for a while in the hot summer sun, Varya lay down exhausted in the shade of a haystack and fell into a deep steep. Her mother worked for many hours thinking that Varya was following as usual, but without knowing it, each step took her further and further way from her sleeping daughter
When Varya awoke she found that her mother was nowhere in sight. She was frightened and lost. Just then some farmers walked passed. Calling out to the farmers, Varya asked them if they had seen her mother One of the farmers asked what her mother looked like. Vary answered, “My mother is the most beautiful woman in the world.” The farmers ran to the villages collected the most beautiful looking women they could find and brought them to Varya. She looked at each one and began to cry. Her mother was not among them.
Then…”Varya! Varya!” came a voice.
“Over here,” shouted one of the farmers.
A frantic woman came dashing through the crowd. It was Varya’s mother who, when she got close enough, picked her up and smothered her with hugs and kisses.
To everyone’s surprise, however, Varya’s mother was not beautiful at all. She was, in fact, quite homily. But everyone agreed, she was the most beautiful person in the world.
Chrysostom, an early Christian writer, put it this way:
Here (through God’s word) the apostles and prophets wipe clean and beautify the face, they strip away the marks of senility left by sin, they apply the bloom of youth, they get rid of every wrinkle, stain, and blemish from our souls. Therefore, let us all, men and women, be eager to implant this beauty in ourselves. Sickness withers physical beauty, length of years destroys it, old age drains it dry, death comes and takes it all away. But beauty of the soul cannot be charred by time, disease, old age, death, or any other such thing. It stays constantly in bloom
How can we have this amaranthine beauty? “The LORD takes pleasure in His people…He will beautify the humble" (Psalm 149:4).