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.