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Friday, February 25, 2011

Thinking and Pondering #2

Blog Hop:
Thinking On Thursday - Pondering With A Purpose

This week's Prompt: BEAUTY

In pondering this prompt of "Beauty" I immediately thought of Saint Augustine of Hippo's quote in The City of God, as translated by Marcus Dods:

"Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked."

The City of God

I'll not pretend to fully understand what it was St. Augustine meant by this statement; however, I shall tell you a bit about what it means to me; and, you can study it further to formulate your own thoughts on the quote.

I believe our Saint is referencing the beauty of all things created, by the Divine, as well as earthly creations, and our perceptions of these creations. Thus, the wicked would look upon beauty just as the goodly souls might -- the difference being the result of beholding beauty -- the good would treat a thing of beauty with love and respect, whereas the evil ones would not see its intrinsic beauty.

When our perceptions of beauty are motivated by external aesthetics as opposed to the whole of the thing of beauty, we may actually turn it into a thing of ugliness, a thing of wickedness or unpleasantness.

Beauty is subjective, as is Ugliness. This can be viewed by all in the story:

The Ugly Duckling
by Hans Christian Andersen.


  1. Maybe in the quote, beauty could be equal to free will, and like most things can be seen as a two sided coin. Integrity, or how one handles that beauty, determines if the holder is good or wicked.

    Thought provoking and wonderful post Ruthi.

    I love the book choices. I know all about being an ugly duckling and even a black sheep, and it is with God that there is beauty within, without and all around us, everywhere.

    Have a beautiful weekend :)

  2. Ruthi,
    This is such a deep post and I read it several times - I'm not sure two people will ever get the same meaning out of the quote. I have to tell you that your choice of the Ugly Duckling brought a tear to my eye. My eldest and I have a running joke about the Ugly Duckling and Mother Goose and it seemed ironic as this was the week that I finally introduced my children to the world via squidoo - hmmmmm

  3. I think true beauty is probably only seen through our third eye. Our physical eyes deceive. I will take your suggestion and try to add google follow.

  4. Jerri, you are probably quite right! Brenda and Cynthia, you gals are right, too!

  5. Fascinating quote. Thanks for giving me something to ponder.


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Blessings & a bit o' sunshine!