Beauty Matters

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Indeed it does.

Nor is it limited to the Roman observance, although traditionalists in the Roman Catholic Church (and more generally, the liturgical, sacramental Churches, including Eastern Orthodoxy and – when it is being true to itself – the Anglican tradition) are often acutely aware of its importance:

“The only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely, the saints the Church has produced, and the art which has grown in her womb. Better witness is borne to the Lord by the splendor of holiness and art which have arisen in the community of believers than by the clever excuses which apologetics has come up with to justify the dark sides which, sadly, are so frequent in the Church’s human history. If the Church is to continue to transform and humanize the world, how can she dispense with beauty in her liturgies, that beauty which is so closely linked with love and with the radiance of the Resurrection? No. Christians must not be too easily satisfied. They must make their Church into a place where beauty – and hence truth – is at home. Without this the world will become the first circle of Hell.”

Pope Benedict XVI: The Ratzinger Report, p. 129

Beauty, however, is the birthright of all Christians – ours is, after all, a sacramental and incarnational faith, and therefore one which values the created order as an important source of God’s self-revelation to us. The Scriptural warrant for this goes back at least to the Psalmist:

“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”

Psalm 29:2, 96:9

And of course the classical Christian tradition, at least in the West, has repeatedly cited the “three Transcendentals” (Goodness, Truth, and Beauty) as not only pointing toward God, but being aspects or attributes of God – ones that we should seek to mirror and live out in our own lives:

[The] Three Transcendentals of ancient philosophy (which has so greatly shaped Christian Tradition) [are] the True, the Good and the Beautiful. To destructively compress Plato and the Neoplatonists, all truth points to the transcendent Truth; all good points to the transcendent Good; all beauty points to the transcendent Beauty; and in turn, the transcendent True, Good and Beautiful is the One, the source of all being, which classical theism identifies as God, and is in turn identified with the God of the Bible by orthodox Christianity.

In short: for Christians, “Beauty Matters.” It is not an extrinsic, superficial adornment to our lives and our liturgy; it is an intrinsic, essential element of them.

“Beauty is vanishing from our world…”

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To destructively compress Plato and the Neoplatonists, all truth points to the transcendent Truth; all good points to the transcendent Good; all beauty points to the transcendent Beauty; and in turn, the transcendent True, Good and Beautiful is the One, the source of all being, which classical theism identifies as God, and is in turn identified with the God of the Bible by orthodox Christianity” (Pascal Emmanuel Gobry).

It follows from this that, in a sense, to live as if beauty does not matter is to commit an offense against God Himself!

Fake tube sign read out on BBC and in parliament after attack in Westminster | UK news | The Guardian

Source: Fake tube sign read out on BBC and in parliament after attack in Westminster | UK news | The Guardian

Fake it may be, but sometimes even “fake news” can contain deeper truth. This sign might never have been posted in the London Underground, but it nonetheless captures the spirit of the City of London, and of the British People, extremely well – as reflected by the fact that it went viral, and was read out on both the BBC and in Parliament!

From The Guardian:

“A London tube sign with a defiant message for terrorists that went viral in the wake of Wednesday’s attack on Westminster was created by an online tube sign generator and never existed in a London underground station.

Yet that did not stop the sign being shared and disseminated as though it had been written by London Underground staff.

The sign read: ‘All terrorists are politely reminded that THIS IS LONDON and whatever you do to us we will drink tea and jolly well carry on thank you.

“The sentiment was shared by thousands – including journalists and MPs.”