Thursday, November 8, 2012

Being "Hot" Lacks A LOT

To love God is to love the attributes of God Himself:  Truth, beauty, and goodness.  He is "The Ultimate Good".  Fr. Scott Reilly describes everything that exists as having these qualities.  He calls them the "3-legged-stool".  When an idea, something, or someone is whole/complete, it has "proportion, harmony, clarity, and brilliance."  However, if one of the legs is missing, the stool is broken and cannot stand unaided.

Let me share his real-life example of a broken stool with you, because it was the impetus for this post and a recent class discussion of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty jogged my memory about it... 

There is an accepted standard of beauty, which is called "hot".  "That's hot."  "She's hot."  "He's hot."  If you care anything about what people think about you, you may feel this pressure to be "hot".  (By the way, if you care more about what people think about you than what God thinks about you, that is the sin of vanity:  placing your security and self-esteem in others).  I'm guilty of this and always have to guard against pleasing others as my motivation. 

Have you felt this pressure?  Do you feel it?  I do.  It seems to me that if you are "hot" in our culture, everything else is way secondary or doesn't matter at all.  If you don't have sex appeal, you have NO appeal.  As with every ill-behaved child that ever lived, it seems that getting attention for the "wrong" reason is still better than getting no attention at all.

So, what's wrong with it?  Why should this not be our goal?  What does being "hot" lack?    Fr. Scott says, "Being hot lacks goodness and truth."  Is there a woman out there who wants her beauty to be separated from her goodness and her truth?!  If there is, I haven't met her.

St. Augustine wrestled with lust and attachment to people more openly than most.  He writes in his ConfessionsIf physical objects please you, praise God for them, but turn back your love to their Creator, lest, in those things which please you, you displease Him.

For I had my back toward the light, and my face toward the things on which the light falls, so that my face, which looked toward the illuminated things, was not itself illuminated.

Our souls...may lean on those things which you have created and pass through them to you, who created them in marvelous ways.

So, I want to encourage you (and myself) to resist the pressure to be "hot" and use your beauty to lead others to their Creator, not to yourself.  In other words, to pass through you, to God.  This is not most effectively done with cleavage and a mini skirt.

In a discussion with a male friend the other day, he gave this analogy:  When women dress in such a way to accentuate their breasts and butts, they are taking the necessary steps to turn a man on sexually.  Men are visual creatures and women know this.  If a man did the same thing to a woman (took whatever steps were necessary to turn her on),  it would be ridiculously insulting and she could, by rights, slap him.

All this to say, that beauty has its place, but it is not something that should be manipulated into a word, "hot".  Beauty is a gift from God Himself and should be used to lead others to Him. 

In view of a greater good and for a higher purpose, even to watch over my bearing and my dress; to make myself attractive for our good God's sake.  

Great and holy ideas and profound convictions often reach souls only through the personal charm and attraction of those who present them.  "By their fruits you shall know them..(Matt 7:16)...devotion, charity, radiant faith, and also by those flowers that first strike the eye and precede the fruit; those flowers are called sweetness, charm, nobility and exterior distinction of manners and ways, serenity, equanimity, friendliness, smiles, and simplicity.    ~Elizabeth Leseur

Dear True, Good, and Beautiful God,  Thank you for another gorgeous day and many opportunities to enjoy the beauty of your creation.  Thank you for allowing the beauty of your Creation, including your creatures, to lead us to You.  Please help us to use our beauty to this end.  Do not allow us to lead people to the dead-end of ourselves.  We can't give them what they're looking for.  Lord, help us to learn how to "use" everything in this life to know and love You more, and to remove those things that are obstacles to our love for You.  Thank you for forgiving our weakness and inclination to cling to the good opinions of others.  As long as we know we need your help, we are getting closer to the Truth.  Amen. 


1 comment:

  1. Hi Heidi,

    Your post reminded me of this article on the "Death of Pretty."