Letter To Artists 6d-e: The Beauty of Christ

So often Christ is depicted with brutal reality, the scarred and humiliated servant of God. (Isaiah 53:2-3) The East has something valuable to teach us westerners:

A corresponding approach is found in Eastern spirituality where Christ is described as “the supremely Beautiful, possessed of a beauty above all the children of earth”.(Enkomia of the Orthós of the Holy and Great Saturday) Macarius the Great speaks of the transfiguring and liberating beauty of the Risen Lord in these terms: “The soul which has been fully illumined by the unspeakable beauty of the glory shining on the countenance of Christ overflows with the Holy Spirit… it is all eye, all light, all countenance”.(Homily I, 2: PG 34, 451)

Wrapping up the discussion on the exchange and interface between the Gospel and art:

Every genuine art form in its own way is a path to the inmost reality of (humankind) and of the world. It is therefore a wholly valid approach to the realm of faith, which gives human experience its ultimate meaning. That is why the Gospel fullness of truth was bound from the beginning to stir the interest of artists, who by their very nature are alert to every “epiphany” of the inner beauty of things.

That fullness of truth suggests the prologue of John’s Gospel. So the scope of Christ’s full incarnation, through to the Resurrection, inspires art. And the revelation of Christ through art is indeed an epiphany, wherever it occurs.

Pope John Paul II’s Letter To Artists is available in its entirety online here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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