“Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul”
– St. Augustine
My friend sent me this quote yesterday and I immediately fell in love with it. If you are friends with any philosophy majors (or simply go to Catholic U, which I highly recommend) then you will find yourself in the middle of many philosophical debates about beauty. It seems simple enough but let me tell you there is so much to think and talk about when it comes to the nature of beauty.
Some of the greatest minds, artists, musicians, and theologians have dedicated their lives to understanding beauty. “Beauty will save the world” as Dostoyevsky famously said and I agree with him whole heartedly. We live in a time when the Church is under attack and constantly scrutinized. Half of Catholics don’t even understand their own religion and yet we are expected to fight for Truth and be evangelizers. How are we supposed to do it? How do we answer the call that Jesus gave us in yesterday’s gospel?
BeautyGod is Beauty, Goodness, and Truth. Each of these, what we call transcendentals, will always lead back to God, whether it was the intention of the individual exercising them or not. Truth will always lead back to the Church’s teaching (this is why the Church isn’t in competition with science). Goodness, any act of service or kindness or good deed, will always lead a person to hope and to trust in something greater. It is the same with beauty. I don’t know if you guys have ever seen a sunset, like ever, but every time I look at one I am brought out of myself. I feel so small and, yet so loved, and looking at the beauty of it I know in my soul that there is something greater than me who loves me. It’s the same thing with looking at a beautiful painting, or a giant waterfall, or the Grand Canyon, or even the ocean. We look at it and are made to feel so small and yet we are struck with awe and know that the universe couldn’t be an accident. I know I talk about this a lot but it’s because I have seen this in action and I know that it works!
This is how we are called to be evangelizers of men. I don’t know a lot and like the disciples in the gospel I still have my doubts but Jesus still calls me to go and make disciples of men and He is calling you too. But have no fear this isn’t a call to go door to door asking if people know our Lord and Savior. It’s as simple as inviting your friends to watch a sunset with you and pointing out its beauty. It’s helping people you love experience beauty in a unique way that allows them to question just how the universe came to be. It’s loving people, even if you aren’t quite fond of them, and shocking them with the unconditional love you have to offer. It’s helping your friends live in the present moment and free from comparison and away from social media.I feel like our Church has put forward rules as our main form of evangelism for a long time and that just isn’t working but we also shouldn’t downplay our faith and what it demands of us. We don’t have a faith of “don’t” we have a faith of “do.” We are called to love, to be humble, to serve others, to be just, and to be a face of mercy. That is what we as a Church need to be putting forward. Imagine the Church as a business – we are literally selling the best product in the world. We just haven’t really been marketing it well. Our generation can bring about a new evangelization… I feel it in my soul and we can do it with beauty, goodness, and truth.