Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beauty Is A Scary Virtue

Good people are beautiful. This makes perfect sense: if beauty is the physical representation of the good, then those who possess virtue to higher degrees should be more beautiful than others.
This beauty comes with great power in human beings. For beauty has a double power – the power to inspire and the power to terrify. It stands to reason that those who possess a great degree of beauty would therefore be powerful individuals.
Beauty’s power of inspiration is obvious – for proof, turn on a radio or flip through any book of (pre-1900) poetry. But the power of beauty to cause terror is also striking. For the very same beauty which gives joy to many (and inspires artists to create) drives others to fear and cowardice.
A beautiful woman, completely attuned to God, possesses incredible power. She has the ability to draw others closer to God through her caring, healing, and nurturing example. Her beauty becomes a lamppost for others on the road to salvation. But too bright a light repels those with weak eyes. Boys used to the meanness and shallowness of sin and imperfection in “hot” girls are driven away from the joy and the passion of a truly beautiful woman.
Similarly, a beautiful man, dedicated to the service of God, possesses incredible power. He has the strength to direct others in the way of virtue, and the courage to defend that which he loves. But girls seeking the cheap thrill of a one-night stand or the “hot” boy are driven off by his devotion and fidelity.
Many young men are dumbstruck when meeting a truly lovely lady. Men joke about women being “out of their league,” so to speak, but there is something even deeper inherent in that attitude than the natural admiration of a boy for a pretty girl. There is the terror of a man for a power which he cannot fathom.
Men are naturally drawn to join the lives of beautiful women. But in many cases, men cannot do so - either because of physical circumstances (i.e., they are in another relationship, live far away, etc.) or because we will not.
And if we will not, it is because we fear the road of virtue that we must travel that will raise us such heights of virtue. We may be drawn to beauty in others, but we reject it - because we fear what we do not know ourselves. On some level, we fear true beauty because we do not possess it, and we fear goodness because we do not practice it.
Our imperfections cause in us a state of terror; our sins impel us to fear those whom we should love. The better we become, the more we lose our terror of good things. The higher on the road to virtue we climb, the less we fear anything except the dark, miserable void of sin. And the greater appreciation we have of what - and who - is truly beautiful.

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