How often do you look at the outward appearance of a person? You look at their beauty status and from then, decide to speak with them, to interact and get to know them better. Our world today tends to care more about what's on the outside primarily than what actually makes a person, their spirit, their goals, what they do and how they act. Have you heard the phrase "it doesn't matter what's on the outside, but what you do that defines you"? Think about the life of a model. They spend their life focussing on what their body looks like, the right food to eat, the best exercise routines to make their body look perfect and the makeup to wear to bring out their best features on camera. The entire focus is on the outer body. How then in our lives, when this becomes the 'ideal' on what it means to be 'beautiful' or to be seen as one with true beauty, are we to look at what's on the inside, especially when striving to be a disciple of God?
Today's Gospel states:'While he was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him; so he went in and sat at table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. And the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you' (Luke 11:37-41).
In today's Gospel, Jesus tells us that we must value what is within. He tells the pharisee that he may be clean and pure on the outside, but he's confused and evil on the inside. God made us whole, our outer appearance and our inner soul, emotions. If we put more focus on what's inside, what makes us a person of faith, what makes us special, then people will be able to see it on the outside. They'll be able to see the real us and values us as real people, body and soul. Take some time to think about areas you focus too much on your outer appearance and ask God to help you take steps to becoming more Saint-like and less self-involved.
Today's prayer comes from 'devotions' a prayer for inner beauty:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I praise your Holy Name! You are so good, you are so faithful, and you love so extravagantly! You are the Creator of the universe and you created me! Please help me to view myself as you do… beautiful! I pray that our culture would begin to turn around and encourage women in what true beauty is! I pray that we would be blinded to the distorted standards that the media portrays today and instead see myself through your eyes! Take away the worry and cares that overwhelm my thoughts about aging and trying to look perfect, there is so much more I can tend too and have a positive attitude and thankful heart about. Forgive me for being self-focused and consumed with my self-image in the wrong way. Help me to focus on you and my character that you are maturing! Remind me daily that I was made in your image and YOU ARE PERFECT! Thank you for my body, my life, and my heart! I love you Lord! AMEN!