Rare indeed is the individual who has not longed for a nobler, more beautiful life. The loveliness of nature and the exquisite forms of art, literature, and music awaken in mankind an earnest desire to understand and express beauty more fully.
The human heart finds its need for beauty satisfied in Christian Science. Mary Baker Eddy loved beauty and expressed it in the harmony of her life. She realized, however, that earth's beauty and grandeur are not in themselves the reality, but the promise of Spirit's perfect, imperishable radiance.
Our Leader taught her followers that only through attaining a clearer understanding of God and man could they find the true, spiritual concept of beauty which would exalt their lives. Mrs. Eddy writes in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 132), "Divine Love hath opened the gate Beautiful to us, where we may see God and live, see good in good,— God all, one,—one Mind and that divine; where we may love our neighbor as ourselves, and bless our enemies."
Our understanding of God must include the realization that He who is Life, Love, Spirit, Principle, is all-beautiful. The substance of Soul is the substance of loveliness. The fullness of God's presence is infinite perfection. His omniscience is imperishable glory.
Human perceptions are inadequate to comprehend His splendor and majesty. Only through spiritual sense can God be understood. Like the Psalmist we must pray (Ps. 27:4), "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple." In our search for understanding we pass through "the gate Beautiful," which Love has opened, and begin the work of eternity— the earnest endeavor to "see God and live."
A clearer view of the beauty of the Lord unfolds a more beautiful concept of man. It is unthinkable that God should conceive His creation in terms of ugliness. In the words of Ecclesiastes (3:11), "He hath made every thing beautiful in his time."
God expresses in man the radiant perfection of His being. Man, the image and likeness of God, reflects comeliness and symmetry. Man is spiritual, forever flawless, exquisite, serene—untouched by the illusion of time, unmarred by the beliefs of sin and sickness, unmoved by the claims of mortality. Perceiving that this loveliness is the true nature of man, we spiritualize our thought of our brother and learn to love our neighbor as ourselves.
It is important to give heed to the Psalmist's injunction (Ps. 96:9), "O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." To the writer, the beauty of holiness means the sum total of all spiritual qualities. Man, being complete, shows forth the illimitable abundance of these qualities. Each individual spiritual idea is unique and reflects God's loveliness in an original way. Thus we see that the beauty of holiness is not something outside of man, but is the fullness of God's glory reflected by man.
If our material surroundings are ugly and discordant, the remedy is to change our thinking. We must put spiritual qualities into active use. Only in this way can we demonstrate a more beautiful environment. Our Leader tells us in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 330), "Let mortals bow before the creator, and, looking through Love's transparency, behold man in God's own image and likeness, arranging in the beauty of holiness each budding thought."
If we wish to improve our outward appearance, we must devote our attention to the verities of Spirit. Expressing more of even a single spiritual quality brings radiance into our thought and experience, for all God's qualities are beautiful. Budding thoughts of gentleness and kindness are delicate and graceful. There is sublime beauty in moral courage which overrides fear and hate. Steadfastness is lovely, unceasing prayer. The beauty of harmony dispels evil. Purity, joy, and gratitude are diadems of loveliness.
Thoughts arranged in the beauty of holiness are manifested in harmonious human activity. It is the degree of our spiritual-mindedness that determines the beauty of our careers. To know that man's true lifework is to reflect God enables us to express the beauty of holiness no matter what our human occupation may be. The desire to let His gracious presence be manifested in every thought and action glorifies the humblest task. In "The People's Idea of God" Mrs. Eddy assures us (p. 14), "As our ideas of Deity become more spiritual, we express them by objects more beautiful."
The spiritual sense of beauty brings healing. Discerning the beauty of the Lord, we see the unreality of sin and disease. Correcting our mistaken concept of man we perceive our real nature and identity as the child of God. The illusions of pain and deformity cannot resist or hide the loveliness of Love. Through the beauty of spiritual understanding we learn to reject the dream shadows of sickness and behold the wholeness and immortality of man.
To bring each thought of ourselves into line with Principle's consistent perfection, to see each individual as embraced in Mind's pure purpose, exalts and invigorates existence. Going through "the gate Beautiful," we find that we truly live in the beauty of God's presence and that home, friendships, and career are enfolded and protected in Love's grand design.