When ancient spiritual writers talk about “beauty,” they are often talking about something deep, virtuous, and lovely in the soul. Surface beauty is fleeting, but the deeper soul-beauty can last forever.
“Love is the beauty of the soul”…I think what Saint Augustine is telling us is that love is what makes our souls beautiful. He’s talking about that genuine love–the kind of love that Christ has for all people, the kind of love that is willing to die in order to save another’s life. This kind of love could be called “spiritual cosmetics” … only it’s much deeper and more profound than cosmetics could ever be…
True love for one another is what makes us beautiful–and Christ proved he believed this by staking his life on it. I often think it’s the teachings of Jesus–his love of others– that really brought on his death on the cross. People don’t like hearing stuff like “love your enemy” or “forgive one another.” Certain people also felt their own earthly power was threatened by Jesus’ popularity–and his teaching, they thought, threatened their own earthly power. I don’t know. I’m just thinking aloud here.
Until next time, Amen!
2 thoughts on “Augustine, Love, and Spiritual Cosmetics”
I really liked your invention of the term “Spiritual Cosmetics.”