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Yesterday was the official first day of summer “vacation”. So far, my summer to-do list includes cleaning out closets, gardening and washing windows. My prayer, however, goes something like this: “What do YOU want me to do with my time, God? Help me to use it wisely.” Full disclosure: as I write this I have a towel on my head, a hair mask on my “thirsty strands” and a computer tab opened to the Juice Beauty website where I just ordered a cream blush in “seashell”.

The quest for beauty is constant, for most of us women, I think. We want to look beautiful for our husbands, boyfriends, Facebook page, Instagram feed, and for our judgmental friends. We want our homes to be beautiful. We want to have beautiful families. We put in a lot of time and effort to get there, but that pinnacle of perfect beauty is always just out of reach, isn’t it?

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Picture some of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen. For me, the hills of Tuscany come to mind. It’s jarring to think that those ancient hills will one day be gone. “Heaven and earth will pass away….” Shouldn’t making my soul beautiful for all eternity be at the top of my to-do list rather than finding the perfect shade of blush?

Yes, but…that doesn’t mean variations of the word “should” will go away anytime soon. And that’s a good thing. “To hear the call of Christ is to have ‘the deathbed realization’ while you are still alive,” wrote Steven Marsh in his reflection on yesterday’s gospel reading for mass (Wednesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time) “Don’t wait until it’s too late to fully give the gifts the Maker has bestowed on you.” So keep pursuing beauty. If it is something truly beautiful it will lead you to God. And be the mirror of true beauty for others.

I have a dear friend who has given up the quest; she doesn’t see anything within herself worth salvaging (for reasons anyone could probably guess as they are far too common today.) She views herself as defective and hopeless. For her, the perfect shade of blush doesn’t exist, and if it did, it would not brighten her face or her heart. If you are reading this and you have given up the quest or know someone who has, remember these words: God delights in you. Seek and ye shall find.

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