Monday, July 02, 2007

The Desire for Beauty

The Desire for Beauty

The question arose as to whether or not at the root of a woman's desire to be beautiful there is a deeper good that has simply been distorted. A woman's desire to be beautiful is a physical manifestation of her desire to be loved. As Deus Caritas Est reveals erotic love, or self-seeking love, is not in and of itself disordered. Instead Pope Benedict claims that erotic love is good and a necessary part of the full conception of love. On speaking of love His Holiness explains that that love which fails to possess both erotic love and agape love is an impovershed love. We must remember that this real love loves the whole person. Our bodies are an intricate part of our being and so love of another's body is not necessarily bad. For a man to tell a woman that she is beautiful is not a sin. The sin lies in the tendency of our society to stop here, to stop at the body so that the body becomes a mere object rather then an insight into the understanding of the person as a whole. Woman has a natural inclination to desire to be beautiful because at some level she realizes the importance of the body as a part of her very being and something that is to be both loved and respected.

Her desire to be physically beautiful may also be a desire to express the beauty of her soul. As theology of the body teaches us we use our bodies to express ourselves. This is not merely in our interactions with each other but also in our very bodies themselves. The body's natural appearance may not necessarily fairly represent the beauty of the soul but how one takes care of the body and one's desire to be beautiful may reflect her person within. Beauty is that which is ordered and so a desire for beauty is a desire for order. In today's society it is difficult to understand the desire to be beautiful in such a way because of society's distortion of the idea of what beauty is and why one desires it. So often people desire beauty in hopes that they might win the affection of another not because by their person as a whole but purely by means of their physical beauty. In doing so they objectify themselves by using the gift of beauty as the sole means to win the heart of another. Often enough this superficial desire is satisfied but this is where the affection ends. As a result the woman's deeper desire to be loved for who she is, body and soul, is left unfulfilled.

Maeve O'Doherty

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Who we are?

Every summer we, the Missionaries of the Eucharist, are walking from Lewiston, Maine to Washington, DC to proclaim the beauty of the Catholic faith to everyone we meet, specifically through the Theology of the Body.

Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.

We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.