Online Retreat: You’re Beautiful

God’s message for you: You’re beautiful!

Read this in a quiet place. May God bless your faith journey through this short, online retreat.


What do you think it means to be holy?

We all know that as Christians we are called to continually purify our lives and grow in holiness. But what we often forget is that holiness is not just about doing the hard work of facing up to our sins and going to Confession. It’s also about recognizing who we really are as Christians.

Christ is in us. What does that mean for our calling to be holy? It means that when God the Father looks at you, he sees more than your sins and imperfections; he sees Christ in you. He sees your goodness.

Christ’s Holy Spirit is in us. This means that we are already holy. A good examination of conscience is not just about identifying how we have sinned but also our victories of renewal, our progress toward Christ and toward heaven.

Holiness — while we are still on this earth — is not about perfection; it’s about being who we really are. Who are you? You were made in the image of God, beautiful in your Father’s eyes because his Spirit is within you and you have said “yes” to following Christ and learning from him.

“More tortuous than all else is the human heart” (read Jeremiah 17:5-10). We don’t like admitting our sins or going to Confession because we so easily torture ourselves with self-condemnation and we fear the disapproval of God and others.

But God says: “I, the LORD, alone understand your mind and your heart. I reward you according to your ways, according to the merit of your good deeds.” Do not underestimate the importance of your many good deeds!

Christ’s Holy Spirit is in you. This means that you are already holy. The Christian journey is about becoming more fully who you really are.

But how can you live your sainthood if you do not recognize it? And how can you recognize your sainthood if you do not genuinely and deeply realize that you are good because the Holy Spirit is living within you?

God recognizes his Spirit within you. And he is saying: “You are beautiful to my eyes! I see and rejoice in every good decision you make and every good desire you have.”

“The Lord is kind and merciful…. Not according to our sins does God deal with us, nor does he punish us like we deserve for our wrong-doings…. So surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him [fear = repent from the ways we have hurt him through sin]. As far as the east is from the west, that’s how far he has removed our transgressions from us” (Ps 103:1-4, 9-12).

God is saying, “You are beautiful to my eyes! I see and rejoice in your desire to do good.”

Think about the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:1-3,11-32). In this story, Jesus is telling us how quickly and completely our Divine Father embraces us when we repent: “While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.”

God runs to you! God embraces you! God kisses you!

Look at this image of Rembrandt’s painting of The Return of the Prodigal Son. Meditate on it and see yourself as the one being received into the Father’s loving concern.

Prodigal Son by Rembrandt

And now, enter into this reality more deeply with the song “You’re Beautiful” by Phil Wickham. I will guide your experience of it with a few words of direction.

We begin by speaking to Christ,
aware of how important he is to us:

I see Your face in every sunrise
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say
You’re beautiful

I see Your power in the moonlit night
Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright
We are amazed in the light of the stars
It’s all proclaiming who You are
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

I see You there hanging on a tree
You bled and then You died and then You rose again for me
Now You are sitting on Your heavenly throne
Soon we will be coming home
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

And now, realizing that we are united to Jesus.
the “I see You” becomes “we”:

When we arrive at eternity’s shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing
You’re beautiful (x2)

And the Father says to you:

I see Your face,
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

I see Your face,
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

I see Your face,
I see Your face

I see Your face,
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

Now listen to this. Start the video below, and while it plays, scroll back up to return to the Rembrandt picture above.

© 2015 by Terry A. Modica

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