Write In Between

Monday, October 16, 2006

Beauty in All Things

"The beauty of Creation reflects the infinite Beauty of the Creator."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 341)

I live in New England--the quintessential capital of stunningly beautiful fall foliage. These cool, brisk days bring my sweaters out of hiding and a fondness for taking works breaks in the great outdoors just to drink in the beauty of my neighborhood. It renews me. I feel closer to God somehow in the midst of the majesty of creation. Watching falling leaves inspires me. I see the Artist's hand in their form and function. They speak to me in a rather mystical way.

By looking more closely at my surroundings, I see anew the ordinary objects in my daily life. They, too, preach a sermon and have a hidden beauty that only the eyes of love can see. Dishes in the sink reflect that we are eating well. Shoes piled up at the front door tell the story of family homecomings after the day's events. The indentations of sofa pillows hint at favorite gathering places.

Just as all creation echoes God's glory, and the love in family does indeed do the same, the creative acts of men and women are capable of revealing beauty. I've heard it said that beauty is truth reflected. The Catechism echoes this regarding art, music and the written word:

"Created "in the image of God," man also expresses the truth of his
relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works.
Indeed, art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search
for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is
a freely given superabundance of the human being's inner riches. Arising
from talent given by the Creator and from man's own effort, art is a form of
practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill, to give form to the truth of
reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it
is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to
God's activity in what he has created. Like any other human activity, art is
not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the
ultimate end of man. (CCC #2501)


The fine arts, but above all sacred art, "of their nature are directed
toward expressing in some way the infinite beauty of God in works made by
human hands. Their dedication to the increase of God's praise and of his glory
is more complete, the more exclusively they are devoted to turning men's minds
devoutly toward God." (CCC #2513)

This brings me to my current musings regarding the sacred art and liturgical vessels that I see week to week at church. These days I am looking more closely for meaning in their form and function, trying to uncover the truth revealed by their beauty.

I regularly visit the adoration chapel in my parish church. The chapel's focus is the exposed presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. And recently, as I sat praying alone with Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, I noticed the flickering flame sanctuary candle's light. It's beauty was in its simplicity. Made by human hands, its gives witness to Who and What is present. And it "spoke" to me, much in the same way I described the autumn leaves and household objects. The sculptured art of the monstrance (the vessel that contains the exposed Holy Eucharist) drew me in even more. It too had "a voice," and it had a deeper message than the lamp. And so, allow me to conclude with some poetry that I have written about the light and the monstrance.

It is my hope that you will take a look around you and reflect on where you find beauty and why. But more important, I pray that you will reflect True Beauty in a life well-lived. For while the objects the poetry describes are inanimate, your life in Christ is animated by the life of the Spirit.

Sanctuary Lamp

I stand here straight and tall
A silent gentle flicker.
A reminder:
"The light is on, come on in."
Someone is home.

I illuminate the way
But I am not the Way.
I point to the One who made me.
He is here in this place,
in this moment.

I only hope to be a light
In His Presence which is
All Light, All Holiness;
To be aflame in this sanctuary
Burning until I am consumed.



Look straight to my center.
Hidden treasure awaits you,
So do not distract your gaze.
I may be golden, ornate, and bejeweled--
Not for my own beauty,
But to show Beauty.

Let me catch your eye
That you might see something more.
I am elevated that you might
See the Eye of Him who beholds you now.
He is my center--my reason to be.
My form is but a delicate embrace
To bear this Treasure within.

Look straight to my center.
Be drawn in.
Be with the Holy Presence.
And then, become.
Become one who beholds True Beauty.
Become one who bears this Treasure within.

Copyright 2006 Patricia W. Gohn

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  • Thanks for your reflections.

    God bless you richly!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:52 AM  

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