Beauty in the Eyes of the Beholder

Did you know everyone is like an icon, an image of God? This we often forget and do not give others their worth. Sadly, we cannot see in another an icon, a sacred image. No icon needs to be beautiful in every respect. Admittedly, any masterpiece, and any beautiful thing, are equally vulnerable to defilement. Any magnificent object can become its opposite through lack of care, bitterness, or the play of chance. But faced with the work of a grand master, partly defiled and disfigured, we may either notice its impairment or the surviving beauty. Looking at this image with wonder and love, we see only beauty; the rest we regard with grieving and regret.

Sometimes, we dedicate our life to restoring a distorted image to its original beauty. To us, it becomes a labour of love. We celebrate others’ quintessential grace while grieving over what life has done to them. Ultimately, to love is to grieve over someone’s imperfections, while rejoicing in his goodness and beauty. When we regard others in this way, love at first sight becomes possible. It is a love that disregards the faults and weaknesses visible to others.

Loving couple often hears the question, “What did you find in him/her?” “Do not you see how beautiful he/she is?” — they will reply. Many find their answer absurd, but paradoxically, it is correct. People are beautiful to those who love; others only see impairments. Let us all keep that in mind.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Source: Homilies on love. Orthodox Calendar, 2007. – Minsk: Saint Elisabeth Convent

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