Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Path Of Beauty


Pope Benedict XVI continued to speak about prayer today in his Wednesday audience. The Holy Father explained how being open to beauty, artistic beauty in particular, can lead us to God who is Supreme Beauty. Here are a few snippets from the Pope's address today.
"Artistic beauty can lead the human heart to God... Art is capable of making visible our need to go beyond what we see and it reveals our thirst for infinite beauty, for God... this “path of beauty” can be “an open door on the infinite... there are artistic expressions that are true paths to God, the supreme Beauty, and  these works can help nurture our relationship with Him in prayer."
I think that this is a form of prayer that we do not readily recognize. Think about a time when you have looked upon a beautiful painting, sculpture, or read a beautiful poem, listened to a song or piece of classical music. These works do not even have to be religious in nature, but if they move our hearts and minds to God, they are a form of prayer, a type of meditation or even contemplation.
This makes me think about an earlier age when many people, unable to read, relied on the artwork of stained glass windows to help them understand the various passages in Scripture. Have you ever really looked at or noticed the Biblical scenes depicted in your parish's windows? Our late pastor often referred us to the various windows in our church during his homilies. One of his favorites being that depicting Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
When art in its various forms takes us beyond ourselves, it has the potential of being a pathway to God. Prayer is God communicating with us and our listening and communicating with Him, why not allow Him to speak to us through beautiful works of art?
The Holy Father gave some of his own personal experiences with this which you can read in the full text of his general audience.
So go ahead and let beauty lead you to Supreme Beauty, God Himself.

3 comments:

Colleen said...

Karinann, I just love the Pope's talks and writings on prayer! Thanks for sharing this.
Art often moves me to pray. Someone once gave me a beautiful book of Christian art that I look through from time to time. One of my favorite ways to pray. God bless!

Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

So beautiful, thank you.
This is why I love the older churches and the Byzantine churches, as well. The artwork immediately draws one's attention toward the things of heaven and God's Kingdom, rather than earthly or (worse) secular things. When we enter one of these "newly designed" churches that look almost no different than an auditorium of sorts...it confuses the spirit and distracts the mind, (IMO)
I have a picture of The Sacred Heart in my dining room and I know that when I am struggling or feeling stressed, all I need to do is go and sit and gaze upon the Lord's beautiful and peaceful image and it takes me to that place where He abides deep within my soul...I am comforted and re-focused in no time; without ever having "said" or "prayed" in words.

Karinann said...

Thanks Colleen and Judy. I found this particular teaching by the Holy Father on praying through art to be quite inspirational.
Judy I know what you mean about some of the more modern churches. They have lost all sense of the sacred and the beautiful.
Thanks ladies and God bless.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.