Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beauty and the Church


(photo: Mount St. Joseph's Cistercian Abbey in Roscrea, Tipperary, Ireland)

Beauty is compelling. It's invitational. It speaks to us of the world that could be. It draws us back to the beginning. Back to the beginning that God authored in the Garden when ALL was beauty and light. What beauty we experience now is a mere taster to that beauty that beckons us home. All beauty reminds us of our eternal home because its fundamental quality - its nature - is to remind us of our origins in Him who is all beauty and light. Fearful, yes, and awe- inspiring. Beauty we know, is not limited to what is seen with the eye. That's the most immediate point of connection with a subject. It's first and foremost is known in the heart. It's our hearts, our 'spirit or will' as Dallas Willard writes, that is the core of our being. Our 'heart' is our navigational center. It's the part of us that is ultimately oriented to God and therefore is the space of conscience. Since God has made us for Himself, and He is all beauty, we now understand why our human soul longs for that which is beautiful. We long for our Creator. So, if the Creator's church is to be His representative in the world, it stands then that the Church MUST be a purveyor of beauty - a beauty that's compelling and mysteriously causes all people to consider their lives outside the loving care of Beauty itself.

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