Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Way of Beauty

I know I promised Fatima...but it will have to be the one after this!

I just spent the most beautiful week at the Malvern Retreat house in Philadelphia studying the Way of Beauty with the Institute of Theology of the Body.  The course was 30 hours of lecture cushioned by Mass, the Rosary, Holy Hour, and private time to pray and walk around these beautiful gardens:

I met the most interesting people: authors, artists, musicians, art teachers, priests, sisters, and consecrated.

The instructor used the writings of Pope Benedict, Saint John Paul 2, GK Chesterton, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien and combined it with Moana, Van Morrison and Bono to illustrate how beauty lifts our hearts to God.  

We also looked at the great works of art, from cavemen drawings 42000 years old to modern art (including one amazing painting -shown below- made by a fellow classmate during the session).  I came away with a sense of wonder at the beauty God puts all around us and also how clear it is that beauty unites with truth and goodness to bring us closer to Him.

The following poem struck me after watching Evan Koons read and explain it...not only by the beauty of the poem itself, but also by its meaning.  How easy it is to go around "selving" and missing the beauty that is around us...raising us up to our own self-absorption!

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

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As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; 
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells 
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's 
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name; 
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: 
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; 
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells, 
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came. 

I say móre: the just man justices; 
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces; 
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is — 
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places, 
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his 
To the Father through the features of men's faces. 

The biggest thing I took away from the course was the immensity of God's love, love for us!  We see it in each snowflake, dewdrop, and blade of grass.  We see it in our friends, family, and the kindness of strangers.  We see it in music, movies, works of art, and architecture.  Because, we see it in beauty.

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