Mother's Day: Her Beauty Is Hiding in Plain Sight

Posted by Guest Blogger on 5/7/16, 7:00 AM

Mother and Daughter beauties on Mother's DayImage: John Ottoson.

This Mother's Day, contact a woman in your life who has mothered and mentored you—mom, grandma, an aunt, colleague, or friend—and shower her with love by proving that you see her unique beauty for what it truly is. I'll share a few simple steps for writing her a "beauty letter." It will be the best Mother's Day gift she ever receives.

But first, for women readers, let's talk about how to own the truth of our own beauty, so we can pass it on.

The Catholic Church's teachings on authentic feminine beauty are powerhouse concepts that have the potential to rock the world and heal a sick culture that denigrates women and practically criminalizes aging; so it's time for women to get proactive. First, we need to recognize our own beauty, so we can lead younger women--by example--to a greater realization of their own authentic beauty, gifts, and mission. Second, let's pass this powerful understanding of  authentic beauty to the mature women who have helped us to find the best in ourselves.

But how do we embrace true beauty, when the media is constantly peddling a false and unachievable standard that makes us feel just awful?

  • First, it helps to contemplate God's presence in the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith--and an infinite source of spiritual beauty and power. Jesus' Real Presence is truly contained in the small, round host we receive in Holy Communion. It's important to remind ourselves that He is hidden, but powerfully present.

  • Next, consider another sign of God's presence: incense rising at the altar can subtly obscure our sight and remind us of God's mysterious nature. His beauty is all around us; yet, sometimes it hides in plain sight, obscured only by our own human frailty.

  • Further, note that because we image God, our own nature is also mysterious--and so is our authentic beauty. Just because the world can't always see our beauty doesn't mean it isn't there, ready to be a radiant light to others. Let that realization touch your soul, and then ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to communicate this reality to others.

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Making a Mother's Day letter

Now, for the letter. By using as touchstones the four qualities described by St. John Paul II as "the feminine genius" (receptivity, sensitivity, generosity, and maternity), it is possible to help the women we treasure embrace their own authentic beauty, too. Try this:

1) Spend a few moments in prayer, asking for the gift of gratitude for a special woman in your life, and then write a letter to her. Focus on at least one of the feminine gifts (receptivity, sensitivity, generosity, or maternity); for instance, tell her how her generosity has touched your life and brought you a greater sense of God's love for you, or how her receptivity to the will of God showed you the beauty of the cross.  Write from the heart, and don't hold back. You will never regret an act of love.

2) In your letter, include a few words about the Church's understanding of beauty as a pathway to God. Beauty is not a concept that belongs to models and movie stars; beauty belongs to God and God alone. God speaks through the beauty of nature, the liturgy and sacraments, through music and art, through tender human interactions, purity and innocence, the beauty of the innate feminine gifts (and so much more). Sometimes beauty is more powerful than words in drawing souls to God, and because we image Him, we can all be purveyors of His mysterious and powerful beauty to the world.

3) Close by thanking her for one very specific way that her authentic beauty has helped you to be a better person. What aspect of your relationship with her has brought you strength, taught you to laugh, made you more open to the movement of the Holy Spirit, more merciful, more resilient, or led you to give more fully of your own life to others?

4) As you mail your letter, commit her to the care of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the most perfect mother. Mary delights in walking with us and bringing us closer to her Son, Jesus. She will pour graces into both your lives.

If your mother or other loved one has already gone home to God, write the letter anyway and read it prayerfully aloud in a private place. I promise it will be a moving experience of love and an exchange of spiritual blessings between you and your loved one. The Catechism tells us that praying for the souls of the departed enables them to pray for us and that their prayers are powerful (CCC 958).

May you have a beautiful and blessed Mother's Day!

This blog is written by Lisa Mladinich, author of True Radiance: Finding Grace in the Second Half of Life and the founder of

True Radiance by Lisa Mladinich 

Topics: mother's day