“The Christian religion is all about a beauty that ‘saves’ us. For beauty is that quality in a thing which attracts us towards itself, that calls to us. It calls us out of ourselves, towards something other. The aesthetic experience is thus one of self-transcendence. If ugliness is imprisonment, beauty is a kind of liberation.” – Stratford Caldecott, Beauty will Save The World
Beauty is everywhere. Beauty is especially to be found in the Church. In Freedom and the Spirit, Nicholas Berdyaev wrote, concerning the church:
“She is the heart of creation remade, rewoven, rebuilt as a Temple and a Palace, as the shining and unbreakable core and foundation of a Church that is destined to become the home for all that is true, good and beautiful in the world. It is in this Church that ‘the grass grows and the flowers blossom, for the Church is nothing less than the cosmos Christianized’ p. 331).
If the Church then is the Cosmos (Everything to do with God, the supernatural, etc. made present in Christianity through the person of Jesus):
“Beauty [Berdyaev also wrote] is the Christianized cosmos in which chaos is overcome; that is why the Church may be defined as the true beauty of existence. Every achievement of beauty in the world is in the deepest sense a process of Christianization. Beauty is the goal of all life; it is the deification of the world. Beauty, as Dostoievsky has said, will save the world. An integral conception of the Church is one in which it is envisaged as the Christianized cosmos, as beauty’ (ibid., p. 332).
“Beauty, will save the world.” The Church is the “holder” if you will, of beauty. She holds it in her heart, because beauty is not just a visual or auditory sense, but it is a he it is a person. The very person of Jesus Christ. The Church holds Christ in her heart. She holds his message of the Gospel and proclaims it to all corners of the earth.
We then, must be bearers of that beauty, to all whom we encounter. We must let that beauty shine forth in our lives through our worship, our actions, our attitudes and our speech. Beauty can and will save the world, if we just let it. If we open ourselves to God, the author of beauty, allow his Son to enter our lives, and follow the Spirit’s will we can have an amazing impact on our world.
Lucien Deiss in his book that we have been reading in my Music in Catholic Worship class says: “Beauty will also save the liturgy with its music and song. In the future, there will be no place for ugliness and vulgarity.” The Second Vatican Council wrote in its message on December 8, 1965:
“The world in which we live has need of beauty if it is not to sink into despair. Beauty, like truth, is what puts joy into human hearts. It is a precious fruit which resists the wear of time, and which unites generations in a common admiration.”
Let us be bearers of that beauty to those who we meet. Let us save the world, by bringing it the beauty which it is so desperatley in need of. Let us continue to walk, this Way of Beauty together.