The Beauty of the Lord

One characteristic of a deep prayer life is a sincere appreciation of and longing for true beauty.  In the Hebrew Scriptures, God is associated with the idea of beauty.  This longing for the beauty of the Lord is expressed in Ps. 27: 4:

One thing I ask of the Lord
that I will seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple. (NRSV Catholic Ed.)

St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) had a great love for beautiful images of the Lord. She was unable to form images of the Lord in her mind during prayer, so she loved to gaze upon beautiful paintings of her Beloved.

Like St. Teresa, I have my own favorite image of Jesus, and I keep it close to me during prayer.  When I am having a hard time praying because I am tired, distracted, or unfortunately irritated, gazing at my image of Jesus immediately brings me back to him.  It puts everything else into perspective.

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