"You do not love a woman because she is beautiful, but she is beautiful because you love her." Oscar Wilde
Beauty may excite the mind and stimulate the flesh, but love beatifies its object–"she is beautiful because you love her." This is the essence of grace, and the beatific force of Love–it metamorphoses its object, transfiguring the beloved into the beautiful.
Dante would have us remember that “Love” beautifully metamorphoses both the beloved and the lover himself. Dante’s love for Beatrice indeed transfigured her in his eyes, but equally transfigured him. Like the moon embraces and then throws back to the sun its light, Dante’s love for Beatrice ricocheted back to his very own soul, and thus he describes her as "she who doth imparadise my soul."
Wordsworth referred to such a transfigurational experience when he wrote, “There are in our existence, spots of time—that with distinct pre-eminence retain a renovating virtue. A virtue, by which pleasure is enhanced, that penetrates, enables us to mount when high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen.
Indeed, the man who knows that his wife is "beautiful because he loves her" is a man whose soul has experienced the "renovating virtue" of transfiguring love. As if borne by angels’ wings, the beauty of love transmigrates from his beloved back into his own soul, there feeding "a most vehement flame" that neither the floods of circumstances; nor the deep waters of sorrow can extinguish. Moreover, as his genuine, heart felt, and soul satisfying Love (true love) is constant, so also is her Beauty.
Physical beauty is temporal, "the grass withers" and the flower that smiles today, tomorrow dies. All that we wish to stay tempts and then flies.
As a man grows old and loses his own youthful attractiveness, the eyes of his flesh never grow old. They always lust after the outwardly young and beautiful. If he never learns to love with the eyes of his heart and soul, he will never know true love. The only kind that satisfies the soul.
True love, not temporal beauty, remains changeless, fixed, and immutable. It’s the only kind I am interested in giving and it is the only kind I am interested in being the recipient of. To be in a lifetime covenant of marriage, that is not based on this kind of love; and, where both people do not mutually experience this kind of love, is a lifetime prison of bondage and misery.
Most of us create our own misery, because we marry for the wrong reasons, the wrong motivations, and for self-centered desires.
Something to Ponder: I find it fascinating that the scriptures describe Christ as having “no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” and yet most paintings portraying him; and, most movies made about him, depict him as outwardly extremely attractive. Think about this. Chew on this. Reflect upon this. Why do we do that?
Oh, how prone we are to wanting, esteeming, and idolizing the outwardly beautiful.
But, we are also capable of understanding and experiencing how true love can transfigure an object in our eyes. If you are like me, my reaction to the first appearance of E.T. (you know the movie) on the screen was, "dang, that is one ugly little creature". By the end of the movie, I thought he was the cutest thing I had ever seen. In a child like way, even the story of "Beauty and the Beast" tugs at that part of all of us who want to experience a deeper love, one that eclipses our idolatrous hearts. One that is blind to the flesh.
Just some things to think about.
Some text paraphrased from other authors - source unknown - but beautiful.