Friday, March 28, 2008

The Strength of Beauty

While preparing for a parents' meeting on Sacred Music a few weeks ago, I came across this quote (though not for the first time!) and it really hit me over the head with a surprising concept.
Thomas says that through the praise of God man ascends to God. Praise itself is a movement, a path; it is more than understanding, knowing and doing - it is an "ascent", a way of reaching him who dwells amid the praises of the angels. Thomas mentioned another factor: this ascent draws man away from what is opposed to God. Anyone who has ever experienced the transforming power of great liturgy, great art, great music, will know this. Thomas adds that the sound of musical praise leads us and others to a sense of reverence. It awakens the inner man... (Cardinal Ratzinger, Feast of Faith)
I find this concept amazing and fascinating; that what is beautiful - particularly in terms of liturgy - actually draws us "away from what is opposed to God".

I love finding wisdom that helps illuminate how God wants us to counter-act the problems in our culture today - that goes beyond the usual laundry list of bad things to avoid.

But beyond that, this is a very hopeful concept (particularly for parents!) which acknowledges that the timeless truths of beauty and reverence are much more powerful than we would expect.

1 comment:

Karen E. said...

Yes, such a hopeful concept for us all, isn't it? Atticus and I sometimes marvel over how, during his conversion journey, his insight into the objective beauty of certain music played a part in helping him to see/think about he objective truth of God.