God Beautifies – Reflection on Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
What Jesus speaks of about piety with God reminds me of a haunting verse from the U2 song Grace; “Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.” Among other practices, private deep prayer and fasting from worldliness expose the interior unknowns of the ugly things in our hearts and minds. This exposure allows us to consider using Jesus’s love to resolve and correct our faults. Our Father’s response to our prayers and secret sacrifices can yield generous wisps of undeserved Grace. Grace that goes far beyond our ability to express its joy humbly. Grace is proof that God beautifies all things, especially evident in individuals through and using their unconditional love.
The full-resolution painting and more details are available on the Brooklyn Museum website.
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 – Scripture*
“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5 “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Thank you for meditating on this Gospel and reading this Lectio Divina on Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 Reflection – God Beautifies.
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Prayer for young families:
Lord, let the young families of our communities get to know your joy, peace, comfort, and love despite the world’s distractions.
This site has written permission from New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) to use the Matthew 6 Bible passage.