Beauty is natural, God-ordained. God's universe, His offspring, His habitations, are beautiful because He is the infinite source of all beauty.
Yet mankind has much to learn about this truth. That's why we often experience its opposite - ugliness - or find ourselves face to face with drabness.
Beauty is not a luxury, an extravagance. It is a necessity of life, because it's a quality of God, of divine Life itself. We need to delve into the true nature of beauty to see it more consistently expressed in our lives.
The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures , sheds light on the subject. Its author, Mary Baker Eddy, n1 writes, ''Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color.''
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
She also says: "Beauty, as well as truth, is eternal; but the beauty of material things passes away, fading and fleeting as mortal belief. Custom, education, and fashion form the transient standards of mortals.'' n2
n2 Science and Health, p. 247.
If our "transient standards" were to give way to a recognition of the standard of the eternal Mind, God, wouldn't we experience a more reliable, inextinguishable sense of beauty and harmony?
The motive in turning to the divine for a deeper understanding of beauty should be to express more of the beauty of our true nature in such qualities as honesty, patience, joy, and love. OnE could never use prayer effectively simply to retain a physical sense of youth - as a sort of metaphysical cosmetic method. This would be too limited a concept of prayer, because man's true being is spiritual, not physical, and beauty actually originates in God, not in matter.
The highest form of prayer lifts us above tired, petty, material concepts of ourselves and our environment. It is not begging God for a little good, a little better appearance, a little nicer home. Rather, it is a revelatory experience. It reveals to us the actual nature of reality, which is spiritual, beautiful, and complete. This more spiritual view is then expressed to a greater degree in our lives through the transforming power of the healing Christ.
Christian Science treatment is prayer. In this treatment one may joyfully affirm what he knows to be absolutely true of God and His beloved creation, man. It's absolutely true that beauty ''is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind . . . .'' We can also deny that, in the presence of God's allness, ugliness can have a creator or a true cause.
This is not an exercise in mere positive thinking. We are not trying to manipulate ourselves into believing anything. We are surrendering, yielding, to the presence and might of the one God, the infinite, eternal Mind, which is Love.
Love loves its own. You are God's own, so you are loved and are of necessity beautiful! We don't need to be born into beauty; we don't need to buy it, make it, marry it, or accumulate it. It doesn't belong to us as a physical attribute or as a personal possession. We forever include it as the radiant, resplendent child of God.
Christian Science doesn't promise that we'll never have bouts with suggestions of ugliness. But it does prove that through prayerful treatment and living we can progressively overcome - and go a long way to prevent - limitations.
Biblical prophecy has promised us ''beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that (we) might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.''n3
n3 Isaiah 61:3.
Christ Jesus healed the leper.n4 He lifted those in lack from the blackness of despair. His Christly spirituality was so genuinely attractive that multitudes flocked to him to learn more of God. He led a consummately beautiful life. The more we learn about what he knew of God, and the more we follow his prayerful life, the more beautiful ours will be.
n4 See Luke 5:12, 13.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us. Psalms 90:17