Reflecting Heaven Part 8: Truth and Beauty

06-16-2021Reflecting HeavenFr. Don Kline, V.F.

This week we take a short break before we begin our tour through the stained glass windows to recap some of the main points of our parish beautification project.

The main reason our church building, or any Catholic Church building for that matter would have strive to have beautiful architecture, inspiring art and colorful windows, is to enhance what is already happening in the Sacred Liturgy. Our renovation aims to renew our experience of Holy Mass, and leads us to encounter Jesus Christ and His Church through the Liturgy and liturgical art.

Several years ago, I had a chance to visit Spain. While I was there, I was blessed to experience the Basilica of The Holy Family, La Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona. La Sagrada Familia was begun in 1880 and is hoping to be finished around the year 2027 – a far cry from our 4-month renovation!

The original architect, Antoni Gaudi (currently a candidate for beatification), was a devout Catholic who spent 40 years striving to design and build a church that would be a physical embodiment, inside and out, of the symbolism of the Church and the Kingdom of God.

The point is not that St. Bernadette is to become as magnificent as the great Spanish basilica. The point is, rather, that when one walks into a place of great beauty and rich meaning like La Sagrada Familia, you cannot help but be drawn into a closer relationship to Jesus Christ and His Church.

St. Thomas Aquinas and other great leaders of the church have taught over and over again that true Beauty is not merely adornment or “prettiness,” but rather one of essential attributes of God, along with Truth and Goodness. “Beauty,” says St. Pope John Paul the Great, “is the visible form of the good.” Thus, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness are all wound up together with the Trinity, and any one fosters the others.

“Beauty is the visible form of the good.”

St. Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists §3

That is ultimately, on a less grand scale, the aim of our present renovation: to provide an atmosphere in which one is inspired to prayer, to the Divine, to transcendence. And that, in turn, leads to a closer following of Jesus Christ, and all that entails: service to the poor and the community, loving self-giving, and living out the Christian life in countless ways.