How to Let Beauty Shine in Middle Age and Beyond
Book Pick: True Radiance
Finding Grace in the Second Half of Life
By Lisa Mladinich
Servant Books, 2015
160 pages, $15.99
We’ve heard women described as having “radiant beauty.” It usually has to do with surface glamour. “Radiance,” according to modern life, is kaput with a few midlife wrinkles. But the secular culture’s usage has little to do with how Merriam-Webster defines radiant and radiance: “having or showing an attractive quality of happiness, love, health, etc.; a quality of brightness and happiness that can be seen on a person’s face.”
Author Lisa Mladinich sets secular culture topsy-turvy by returning to the real definition in her brilliant book, True Radiance: Finding Grace in the Second Half of Life. Mladinich writes: “Radiant beauty is something that comes from within. We can’t buy it or wear it. It is something that emerges through a spirit of humble reliance on God.”
While this book is aimed at women in the second half of life, many of the practical examples, insight and advice in the spiritual realm appear to be just as applicable to men, as well as younger readers. In one example, the author specifically looks at the difference in how men and women understand the “nudges” God gives them in life. Mladinich’s book is inspirational and practical in the best of ways because she infuses it with lots of practical insights and guidance. In many cases, she fleshes these out with examples from her own life and the perceptions of other women she has known and interviewed specifically for this book. She includes her own moving return-to-the-faith journey, which included our Blessed Mother pointing the way to Jesus.
Everything is woven together with memorable descriptions such as: “False ideas of perfection are like the hamster wheel that exhausts us and takes us nowhere, but putting out attention as kindly as possible on the goodness and beauty of our own lives takes us off the wheel and onto the path of joy and peace.”
In terms of developing radiant beauty, Mladinich speaks about the importance of nutritional health, mental stimulation, a positive mental outlook based on religious faith, solid Christian values, overcoming temptation and good friendships. In attractive ways, the author shows how the spiritual life is the fountain of ever-radiant beauty. Being devoted to St. Thérèse, Mladinich highlights quotes from the Little Flower and shows readers how to live Thérèse’s “Little Way.” At the same time, Mladinich returns several times to the maternal importance of Mary and the Rosary’s aid in building true radiance. Her understanding of how to turn any suffering or annoyance in daily life into a good for others becomes priceless advice. So are her heartwarming sections on God’s love and our need to trust him as he leads us forward.
Writes Mladinich: “The second half of life is a time of building on the past, growing in virtue and deepening our connection with God, the source and summit of all beauty.”
Joseph Pronechen is a
Register staff writer.
Watch for Lisa Mladinich as a guest on Father Andrew Apostoli’s Sunday Night Live on EWTN in the near future.
- Nov. 29-Dec. 12, 2015