Sunday, August 20, 2006

The loveliness within

We become used to seeing stone monuments in our older cities. Some of them are very beautiful, some hideously ugly.

What were the sculptor's thoughts as he created this lion? Was he thinking of the lion as the King of the Beasts, as an animal of pride and majesty in order for him to have given it such an incredible amount of expression? Had he ever seen a real lion or had he ever looked at its life history?

Naturalists tell us that the male lion is actually a thoroughly lazy beast, with most of the work of hunting and protecting the young cubs being done by the lionesses. Yet it is the lion itself that claims the credit for fearlessness and prowess. Certainly, a lion is beautiful with its mane cascading over its head and onto its shoulders.

Physical beauty is not everything that is important in life. I remember an occasion when I watched a rather unattractive child and saw that, for some reason, she was very much loved by her friends. I wondered what made her so appealing and important to them...and then I saw her when they were together at a party. The child's green dress was unsuitable and did nothing for her appearance. Her classmates looked lovely in their clothes that were obviously more expensive than hers. Still, the difference appeared when it was time to wash the dishes: the little girl who was so unattractive physically was the most beautiful of the lot. She pulled aside her friend whose hands were immersed in the sink. "You're wearing a new dress", she said. "Let me do the washing up instead so that you don't spoil it."

True beauty lies within the heart.

God bless,
Sr Janet