The Church dedicates this month of May to Our Lady. Therefore, this is a very convenient time for us, her children, to contemplate the beauty of the Virgin Mary. But why is this contemplation important and meaningful to us?
It is quite clear that beauty is something everyone wants to have. Beauty is not something vague, on the contrary, it is real and powerful and it can attract and transform people’s hearts. Therefore, in the world, no one refuses to pursue beauty, but which kind of beauty should be pursued is a topic that people do not always agree on. Some people are conquered by the beauty of nature when admiring its majesty, then they spend their whole life protecting and discovering that miracle as much as possible. There are people who value the beauty of their body and because they want the value of their life to be determined by that beauty, they are willing to adorn it at all costs. But there are also people who think that the most precious beauty is hidden behind all physical beauty, the beauty of the soul. To some extent, indeed, choosing for herself or himself a beauty to pursue seems to be decisive for one’s whole life. Therefore, we contemplate the beauty of Our Lady with the desire that, with her help, the journey that formed her beauty will gradually become our journey, as well. We want to be like her, that is, to have a beauty that pleases God.
However, there is a difficulty when all the faithful look to her as the most beautiful person, appreciate her beauty beyond compare, and consider her the most beautiful work of the Holy Spirit. Is it possible for us to follow her on her journey to that beauty?
None of us will be as beautiful as Our Lady, but the Gospel shows us that Our Lady’s path to pursue that beauty is not too unfamiliar to us. The journey of pursuing the beauty of Mary, described in the Gospels, is a journey of building up the beauty of the heart as a faithful handmaid of God.
The Gospel of Luke demonstrates her beauty as a faithful disciple of her Son. She is emphasized as the one who listened, kept, and cherished the Word of God in her heart. Therefore, in Jesus’ answer, “Who are my mother and who are my brothers and sisters? It’s those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Matthew 12,48-50), Jesus wants everyone to know her as his mother first of all through her life of faithfulness, not through biology. In addition, John’s Gospel presents the beauty of her heart. She shows compassion for human needs at the wedding feast of Cana, and she can always empathize with the weaknesses of our human nature, for she also suffers the helplessness of human beings in the face of death, violence, and evil, especially when she stood by the cross.
We should build our lives with a heart as beautiful as Our Lady by living according to God’s will and wholeheartedly loving our brothers and sisters. While these standards may not make a beautiful body, they certainly make for a beautiful soul that God loves. So, let us ask Our Lady, especially in this month dedicated to her, to help us not to follow the standards of beauty of this lustful and lost world, so that, despite our unsightliness, when we have a soul that pleases God, we will have an eternal beauty that stands above all physical beauty.
Br. Tam Nguyen, O.P. | Meet the Brothers in Formation HERE