Friday, August 07, 2009

Beauty as Teacher

I've had this article in my treasury of killer quotes from Pope John Paul II for a couple of years now. It shares his thoughts on Beauty and its connection to Truth. In the words of the Lucky Charms mascot, they are magically delicious! Magic in that they break the spell of modern reductionism with the counter-spell of wonder and awe, and the sacramental vision that sees not just dead matter, but the Divine Heart that shapes and holds it in existence.
Chew slowly, and take these gems with you on your vacation! These thoughts came from a letter of the Pope's delivered by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican secretary of state at the time, to the Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples. The event was organized by the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation. The original article can be found here. The weeklong event is attracting hundreds of thousands of people to 131 meetings and conferences, 23 performances and 16 artistic exhibitions on the theme "The Feeling of Things: Contemplating the Beauty."
"The brilliance of contemplated beauty opens the spirit to the mystery of God."
"Beauty has its own pedagogical force to introduce knowledge of the truth effectively. In fact, it leads to Christ, who is the Truth." "Indeed, when love and the search for beauty spring from a dimension of faith, one can penetrate the depth of things and come into contact with the One who is the source of everything that is beautiful." "It is evident that nature, things, people, are able to cause astonishment because of their beauty. How is it possible not to see, for example, in a sunset in the mountains, in the immensity of the sea, in the features of a face something that is attractive and, at the same time, compels one to know more profoundly the reality that surrounds us?" "Truth is perceived in the beautiful, which attracts to itself through the unmistakable fascination that springs from great values. Thus feeling and reason find themselves radically united in an appeal addressed to the whole person. Reality, with its beauty, makes one feel the beginning of the fulfillment and seems to whisper to us: 'You will not be unhappy; the desire of your heart will be fulfilled, what is more, it is already being fulfilled.'" The message points to the Book of Wisdom in the Bible, which reminds us that "from the greatness and beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen" (Wisdom 13:5).
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