For the Love of Beauty
Praying with Art
Learning to ascend to God through beauty.
My hope is to be able to reveal, or at least help demystify, how beauty stirs the heart and mind in order to draw a soul into deeper relationship with God.
This page will not be about critiquing art itself or focusing on art history in a way that one might typically encounter at a museum lecture, for example. Those discussions are worthy endeavors, but not the focus here.
What I find most commonly missing in discussions about art and beauty, and what people have often told me they need most help with on a practical level, is how to let art, or authentic beauty in general, be an actual pathway to prayer. In other words, going beyond knowing some interesting facts about an artwork (head level experience) to being moved by it, so much so, that the soul ‘grows wings’ and ascends to God (heart level experience).
My focus here will be more about learning how to see beauty and be affected by it, as God intended, so that one might come to personally experience some facet of His goodness and love, through some form of created matter.
This interaction, the back and forth of experiencing and responding to revelations of Beauty, is essentially a form of prayer and it can be experienced in many ways.
Whether this experience comes from a painting, a piece of music, a flower, or even a good meal, all of these are sensible vehicles to experiencing something that is beautiful and ordered, because beauty and order originate in God Himself.
This is the reason why I will repeat this point often, and from many different angles: beauty is not a luxury, because God is not a luxury. Without God there is darkness and death, and the same is true without beauty. It’s only a matter of degrees.
The more we train the inner spiritual muscles in us that God designed to detect and respond to authentic beauty, the more we will be habitually on the look out for it (and avoid it’s counterfeits), and thereby remain in a more constant state of prayer.
We will then be more and more attracted to, and moved by, discoveries of beauty that will naturally lead the heart to desire to remain in this perpetual response of awe and wonder before God, who is Beauty Himself.
This is a profound, yet simple form of prayer. It is a disposition of the heart. It is a deep interior movement of the soul in response with gratitude, adoration, and praise for the Creator who delights in lavishing His graces with each new encounter of beauty.
This is what it means to be sensitized to Beauty.
When there are too many obstacles that can inhibit seeing, or even recognizing, authentic beauty, one must try to be intentional about being sensitized to it, (or re-sensitized to it if we have lost it). To put it another way, we must try to ‘come to our senses’ and regain the true use of them.
These are the topics I wish to explore, unpack, and offer tools for, in order to help us all, (myself included!), develop greater sensitivity to all that is authentically beautiful, so as to help each soul ascend to God via the most beautiful way.
Do feel free to let me know if you have particular topics or questions that you would like me to try and address as I develop my posts!
Praying with Art Posts
Liturgical Year Icon Card Table Display Kit that is perfect for a desktop or home altar display and elegantly signals all the year’s feasts, keeping you focused on Our Lord in any given season.
I’m thankful for the gift that time is, as its lesson gracefully manifests through the season of autumn.
The saying is something like, ‘fruit is always the sweetest right before it goes bad’.
The allure of Beauty. Beauty invites a person to give himself to it, to come under its submission, be influenced by it, to become one with it. If you substitute 'God' for 'beauty' as Augustine did, then the allure of beauty begins to make more sense and we can see...
Welcome to the NEW For the Love of Beauty website! It's been a long time, but I'm hoping this newly resurrected site will serve as the main hub to organize the many endeavors I've had over the last twenty something years, as well as chart a new and more integrated way...