Archbishop Chaput on the Evidential Power of Beauty

A nice reflection on beauty by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia in his weekly column, he offers these lessons:

First, the most powerful kind of witness doesn’t come from a classroom or pulpit. It doesn’t need an academic degree or special techniques. Instead, it grows naturally out of the lives of ordinary people – parents and spouses and friends; people confident in the love that God bears for them and eager to share it with others; people who know the world not as a collection of confused facts but as a symphony of truth and meaning.

eclipse1-cSecond, nature is sacramental. It points to things outside itself. God speaks and creation sings in silence. We can’t hear either if we’re cocooned in a web of manufactured distraction, anxiety and noise. We can’t see the heavens if our faces are buried in technologies that turn us inward on ourselves. Yet that’s exactly what modern American life seems to promote: a restless and relentless material appetite for “more,” that gradually feeds selfishness and separates each of us from everyone else.

Third and finally, every experience of real beauty leads us closer to three key virtues: humility, because the grandeur of creation invites awe and lifts us outside ourselves; love, because the human heart was made for glory and joy, and only the Author of life can satisfy its longings; and hope, because no sadness, no despair, can ultimately survive the evidence of divine meaning that beauty provides.

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