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Suitable for individual or group study, Choosing Beauty includes lively reflections on the virtues and questions for discussion in a user-friendly format.
Posted August 8, 2009
Like Loehr's earlier book Real Women, Real Saints, Choosing Beauty is organized around the cardinal and theological virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, faith, hope, and charity. After reviewing modern standards of beauty, Loehr describes virtuous women as those who light up their homes, communities, and workplaces like the sun. She offers a 30-day plan for women to learn concrete ways to develop virtue. Readers who allow the reflections to affect their lives "will be amazed at how much 'brighter' your soul will be one month from now," she writes.
Material on each virtue is divided into three-day segments, each consisting of a story, definition, prayer, and reflection questions. The third day ends with examples of the virtue as practiced by two models, usually Mary and another saint. Most of the daily reflections open with an incident from the author's life.
Day 20, in the hope section, describes Loehr's panic as she faces an overwhelming task list in preparation for her wedding. Her fiancé encourages her to trust in God; the wedding and reception turn our beautifully; and Gina learns a lesson in hope. She discovered too late that all her worries prevented her from taking advantage of "a golden opportunity to grow in the virtue of hope and in authentic beauty."
The day's reflection includes a reference to Mother Teresa's spiritual suffering hidden from others by her joyful exterior. "Women who radiate joy are especially beautiful. Strengthening our hope helps this feminine beauty flourish," Loehr writes. The prayer asks for trust in God in the face of pain, sorrow, and fear "so that I can smile even in the midst of these trials." Reflection questions address the beauty of joyful women, situations that helped us grow in hope, and areas of our lives in which we need to decide to be joyful.
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