The joy of true beauty

A Christian Science perspective: On finding beauty beyond the physical.

Efforts to obtain what one might call bodily perfection can verge on the extreme. Many young women especially are convinced that an embellishment, procedure, or reconstruction effort is needed to reach a physical ideal. Issues of self-worth and self-acceptance may be at the core of this. As I learned more about the popularity of these enhancements, my heart went out to my daughters and all the world’s young women. I felt that bringing healing to this issue starts with an understanding of what true beauty is.

One definition of “beauty” reads: “joy and gladness; order; prosperity; peace; holiness.” These attributes point to beauty as a spiritual quality we can cultivate from within.

The saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” became real to me as I watched my younger daughter, a fourth-grader, delightfully discover a new store. In her excitement she bubbled with laughter, and her joy was contagious. Everyone in the store lit up smiling. Her joy continued nonstop, for about 30 minutes! Some might say they’d like to bottle that.

I felt we were witnessing her true beauty – pure joy that filled the whole atmosphere with lightness and love. It really had nothing to do with her physical appearance. We were simply seeing the spiritual essence of a beautiful child.

This reminded me of one of Christ Jesus’ sayings: “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). Doesn’t this indicate that we already possess the deepest, most beautiful, and highest sense of ourselves that we could ever have – that we naturally reflect the goodness that is God?

The Monitor’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, put it this way: “God fashions all things, after His own likeness. Life is reflected in existence, Truth in truthfulness, God in goodness, which impart their own peace and permanence. Love, redolent with unselfishness, bathes all in beauty and light” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 516).

Truthfully, we are all the children of God. We all reflect divine intelligence, love, beauty, and grace. Even though we have varying backgrounds and look different, we all have the same divine parentage. There’s a verse from a Christian Science hymn that lovingly encourages us to think about our heritage in this spiritual way:

You are God’s purpose, His great design.
Beautiful, blameless, His child divine.
Holding your thoughts to the good and the true,
Spirit will form you anew. (Peter B. Allen, “Christian Science Hymnal: Hymns 430-603,” No. 565).

Having a material view of ourselves and striving to reach physical perfection leads us to be too self-critical. But a spiritual view helps each one of us – man, woman, and child – to see that our true beauty is our spiritual identity, as “God’s reflection, needing no cultivation, but ever beautiful and complete” (Science and Health, p. 527).

Being more convinced of this myself, I feel I can better help my daughters understand and appreciate the joy of true beauty in themselves and others.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to The joy of true beauty
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today