29 September 2011

Beauty: the Key to Converting a World Remarkably Adept at Denying Christ

A holy priest sent me the link to this blog post at Virtuous Planet.  The author makes an excellent case for the truth of Beauty, a truth that necessarily compels the soul towards God.  Rather than excerpt it, I urge you to read the entire post here and then come back.  I'll wait.

OK?  This is one of things that most strongly draws me to the "conversion style" (this phrase is obviously inadequate but you'll get my gist) of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.  Salesian in its approach, Benedictine in the focus on liturgy, and Thomistic in content, the Institute primarily attracts by its attention to beauty in all facets of the Catholic life.

More generally, this is why the traditional Mass, or the Extraordinary Form as it is called, will always attract souls to God and bring about the sanctification of Catholics far better-- far, far better-- than the Ordinary Form.  The soul is lost in the beauty and transcendence of it; the soul needn't contribute to the cacophony of or endure the relatively poor didactic tone of the Ordinary Form.  One meets the beautiful, and therefore one meets God.

As cult informs culture, so too will the restoration of our ancient liturgy, handed down by our spiritual fathers and shaped by the Holy Ghost, renew and restore the culture of our world.  Yes, the process will take time, and time is running out.  But no other way will serve. 

St. Michael the Archangel, Defender of Holy Mother Church, pray for us.


Lady M said...

I haven't had a chance to read the article you linked to, however I'd like to ask a question in regards to your second paragraph. Do you think you could elaborate on the "conversion style" regarding the approach, the focus on liturgy and content? I would be interested to know your point of view especially on how each area relates to each saint.

thetimman said...

Salesian-- confidence in the love of God and the necessity of personal holiness as primary. Only when we trust in God's goodness to perfect us will we make progress in perfection, and then our holiness will manifest itself in outward expressions. Stated differently, we don't need to focus on "actions", or apostolic activity, as the first thing; these will necessarily well up out of us like living waters, as Christ said. Also, instead of having "plans" of doing things to become holy, we instead remain faithful to the joys and crosses of our daily lives. This is probably a very poor expression of Salesian spirituality, but it's off the top of my head.

Benedictine-- the best prayer life of a Catholic should center around the liturgy, the Church's public prayer. This means Mass, the Divine Office and the Church's sacraments and sacramentals, all celebrated with as much faithfulness and beauty as a soul can give to God. For the Institute also, this means communal life and care of the liturgy, prayer and work.

Thomistic-- the complement to de Sales and the motto "veritatem facientes in caritate", working out the truth in charity. True charity adheres to the truth, proclaims the truth, and in short, is not ashamed of it. True pastoral charity doesn't mean obscuring the truth because it is hard. It offers it consistently, though with a charitable approach taking human weakness into account. The philosophical and theological approach in the seminary, from the altar, in the confessional and from the pulpit is Thomistic, Benedictine and Salesian.

And I referred to a "conversion style" because this unified living out of the faith I find, and believe to be for many, extremely compelling.

Like I said, inadequately described, but there's my start, anyway.

Lady M said...

On the contrary, beautifully described and so well written it needs its own post.

I believe more people (including laymen and religious alike) should read this and read this often to be reminded of the "conversion style" in the Faith.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

The music is stunning! Thanks.

Though it was a nice post, but totally ruined by your last line: "But no other way will serve," I presume in reference to the EF being THE place where one meets God.

That line damns over a billion Catholics to hell if you really mean what you're saying here.

There once was a time, long ago, when "catholic" meant "universal." There once was a time when our church knew that there are many, many ways one can enter into relationship with Jesus, and God's Kingdom had many doors - as many doors as there are people, waiting to be opened. And there once was a time when Catholics actually acted like Christians towards each other. But apparantly, those times are gone in this blog site, as there is only one very small door where one finds salvation. And interestingly, it is the exact same door that just happens to be the exact same way that the author of this blog has designed for himself. Hmmmmm.

JPII fan

thetimman said...

JPII fan, well, it is an opinion post and opinion blog. But don't misunderstand my position. I didn't damn anyone, nor did I say that Catholics could not find God in the Ordinary Form. My statement was more general-- I think the key to restoration of the faith is the restoration of the liturgy, and my belief is that the EF is the only way to accomplish this given the situation. Now, you are free to disagree with that, but disagree with the point as I intended it. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Timman.

At this computer, we liked the article, the church pictures and the music was beautiful (and somewhat familiar to us).

As we try to accomplish the "know Him, love HIm, and serve Him" task it behooves us all to keep searching for the best way to do these 3 things. Holy Mother Church lets us know the liturgy is essential for this quest. AND, nothing is too good for God. May all of us have the courage and perseverence to find the very best
there is!


Anonymous said...

JPII fan, I take it you aren't a traditionalist, but maybe you should give the EF a chance. It works wonders on those who are open to it. I suggest going to an apostolate of the Institute of Christ the King...Or are you afraid?

Anony Mous

Anonymous said...

Anony Mous, JPII fan here.
Yes, I have gone to the EF, even though I am not a traditionalist. The EF stresses personal piety, and it does a good job of reminding us that our God is a transcendent God. I understand why it can be so beautiful, especially for people who draw energy and beauty from solitude and humble prayer.

I've also attended Charismatic Renewal-type services, and there can find another form of spirituality in it, one that stresses the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

But where I am fed and watered the most is finding God present in His loving community, a community that sings, prays, and yes, even holds hands at the Our Father. As one who draws energy from a community, this is my home.

I think it is wise to attempt to find God in all forms of worship - we need to always challenge ourselves to see the many faces of God. Christ came to comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. While each of us presumably have found our homes, it just doesn't seem Christian in the least to bash and knock down the homes of others in the same community of faith.

If we are intent to destroy homes in our own neighborhood because they're not similar enough to ours, what shall we do with homes in other neighborhoods, e.g. Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presybeterians? Or Baptist and non-denominational? If we destroy the homes of other Christians, what will we do with the homes of Muslims and Jews?

"No other way will do" seems like a far too harsh of a way to deal with the God who finds many different homes in our world.

JPII fan

Brent Stubbs said...
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