- Introduction: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
- Gender and Beauty – Goodness in the Appealing Nature of a Woman’s Body, the Pinnacle of God’s Creative Beauty
- Gender and Beauty – Clothing, Relationships, and Dating
- Body vs. Soul
- Mass Intimacy
- Prayer Tips for Spiritual Eros
- Conclusion: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
We are all familiar with the saying that true beauty is on the inside; not the outside. This concept was beautifully shown in the popular movie, “Shallow Hal”, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Black. Although this movie is fictional, and at times goes against the virtue of chastity, it still shows us the importance that true beauty goes beyond physical attributes. With that said, I believe that in our world today, there seems to be a tendency to put conflict between the beauty in body vs the soul.
True beauty is both physical and spiritual, not one or the other. God made humans to be creatures that are both a physical animal, and a spiritual being. This means that the physical body of a Woman is purposely designed to be sexually attractive to the eyes of a Man. A man cannot deny the reality of physical sexual attraction toward women, yet at the same time, a man cannot forget that physical beauty isn’t everything. A romantic relationship between a man and a woman cannot grow into a successful marriage if the Eros is built on outside beauty and lust. I have witnessed too many marriages of family members and friends that have ended in divorce, because the marriage was originally built on the foundation of lust. Lust in its nature is selfish, and an illusion. Lust may start off as feeling like romantic love, but in reality, it is destructive. Because the relationship is built on lust which is not asolid foundation, the relationship collapses. For a romantic relationship to be long-lasting, it must not just promote physical beauty, but spiritual beauty as well. This means that for a romantic relationship to be true, there needs to be more than simply sex appeal. There needs to be a common bond in the areas of beliefs, morals, etc.
It is important to reemphasize that beauty is not something that is just on the inside or just on the outside – it is both. The saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder is a false statement because it means that one can pick and choose who is beautiful and who is not. All women are beautiful, regardless of whatever societal beauty norms are. Even she who is disabled, for example, is beautiful due to the fact that in her nature she is beautiful because God made her to be so.
ManHusbandDads need to remember that although it is good that they are sexually attracted to the body of a woman, they must live out the Twelve Righteous Virtues, more particularly, Chastity when it comes to sexual desire. Moreover, there is a distinction in the realm of sexuality that needs to be made: the difference between having sex and making love. Our society seems to use these two terms interchangeably. Although they share the same idea of sexual intercourse, there is a very important spiritual distinction between the two. The concept of sex for its own sake is an act of fornication which violates chastity and destroys human dignity by turning both man and woman into sexual objects for one’s own personal selfish desires. Although there can be selfish sexual desires in marriage, the majority of the sexual acts within marriage tend to be that of making love. In other words, making love is a term that should be used for marital sexual embraces because it is in marriage where there is a true gift of self (Sacrificial Love – Agape) where the whole human person is respected, and their dignity elevated.
So, what makes us truly human is to uphold the truth that the human physical body is beautiful, and the inner person is beautiful as well. Inner beauty is only possible when we live out the teachings of Christ. True complete beauty is desiring holiness. Even if one’s body is not to the outwards beauty standards of society, if we live out the teachings of Christ to their fullest, during the Resurrection we will be given a glorified body whose beauty will be indescribable. May we live out the teachings of Christ to its fullest in all aspects of our lives and may we see each other as being beautiful as an entire person in both body and soul and desire holiness for each other.
For a deeper look on beauty from evangelists and apologists in the church on this important topic, check out “The Other Side of Beauty: Embracing God’s Vision for Love and True Worth” by Leah Darrow, and Chapter Two of “To Light a Fire on the Earth” by Bishop Robert Barron.
In my next article, I will continue this discussion on “What’s Love Got to do With It”, by discussing the romantic imagery in the mass and how we can live out the spiritual form of romantic love through prayer.