A prayer from Catherine of Siena

by Elouise

What is it
You want to change?
Your hair, your face, your body?
For God is
in love with all those things
and He might weep
when they are
—Catherine of Siena

Found at Spirituality and Practice

Though not framed as a prayer, this small, poetic plea is, in fact, a prayer from Catherine of Siena to me. I imagine her sitting here with me, asking tough questions about what seems almost innocuous—my desire to change things about my hair, my face, my body. Especially, but not only, at this age.

I don’t want to be unhealthy. It isn’t wrong to do what I can to improve the way my body functions.

This prayer, however, isn’t about that. It’s about accepting my body as it looks today. On the outside. Loving it as the body my Creator loves. The graying hair, wrinkles on my face, avalanches on my body. Not looking as young or youthful as I once did.

When I was very young, I longed for more hair on my head, a smaller forehead, and skin that would tan and stay tanned for more than 24 hours. When I looked at other girls and young women, I didn’t feel ugly. I felt plain.

I longed to be less plain and less pale. Not a striking beauty who might call unwanted attention to herself, but a pleasant-looking female. Less plain and less pale.

The thought that my Creator might be in love with my hair, face and body on any given day never crossed my mind. I thought God cared about the spiritual me. And yes, of course my Creator also loved the physical me. But really? That much?

When I think about all the body issues women carry in secret, it pains me. I’m as guilty as anyone.

I’m also astonished and chagrined at the suggestion that God might weep if I tried to change all those seemingly external things about me.

This  very day, am I willing and able to accept, bless and love what God loves about me? That would include my face, hair, and body, on any given day. I am, after all, one of a kind. A precious pebble on the beach, distinct, and still in process. Part of our Creator’s grand collection.


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 25 November 2017
Image found at thriftynorthwestmom.com
Rialto Beach Pebbles, Olympic National Park, Washington State