Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Beauty of Holiness

What I hold in my mind will, in time, show up in my face, for as George MacDonald once pointed out, the face is "the surface of the mind.” 

If I cling to bitterness and resentment, if I hold a grudge, if I fail to forgive, my countenance will begin to reflect those moods. My mother used to tell me that a mad look might someday freeze on my face. She was wiser than she knew. 

On the other hand a generous and charitable heart, one filled with unselfishness and kindness, will find its way to the surface, for goodness cannot be hidden. In time it will show itself in kind eyes and a face that is gentle and wise.

So my task is to not to try to fix my face and make it good, for that would be hypocrisy, but to set about killing the ugly things that come out of my heart, "so ugly that they make the very face over them ugly also" (MacDonald). 

Yet, I know my heart, how hard it is, how disinclined to change. No one but God can drive its sullen self-centeredness away. So I must ask him by his power to fulfill every desire for goodness. Then, someday, my face may reflect the holiness he has put into my heart.

I have a friend, a Catholic priest, who served as Mother Teresa's translator when she was in the United States to address the United Nations. I was in his study one day and spied a picture of the two of them standing together on the streets of New York. I marveled again at her ancient, wrinkled, leathered, lined face, utterly unadorned, and thought to myself, "Is there anyone in the world more homely, and more beautiful?”,

Hers was the beauty of holiness. May it be ours as well.


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