Friday, August 03, 2007

The idea of Beauty in Sacramentum Caritatis

I have recently begun the Pope's Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis. I have found it to be an exhortation rich in theological depth and spiritual food. I recommend everyone to pick it up.

Today I began the section on the liturgy, perhaps the section I was most excited about starting. I found it interesting because of the basis of how he starts the section, first with a brief paragraph on the essential relationship between Lex Credendi and Lex Orandi, that is, the law of belief and the law of prayer. These things are essentially related with one another, and that one's orthodoxy is known by their orthopraxis and visa versa.

That was very nice to hear affirmed, but what I found even more interesting was that he began the very next paragraph with a reflection on the nature of Beauty.

Now, most people think that, when talking about Beauty, that is is spoken of in an aesthetic sense. However, that is not how the Pope is speaking about it here. He is speaking about the objective reality of Beauty, a reality in which the Liturgy participates because Beauty Himself comes to us in the Eucharist.

I found this quite interesting as he seems to be, in his usual subtle way, to be affirming the necessity of a proper comprehension of the nature of Beauty in order to have authentic liturgies. He states this because Beauty is what leads us to Love, Who is God.

By addressing this abstract idea, he is also addressing an unfortunate reality in many parishes throughout the world, that they do not resemble the idea of beauty because there is no unity in their liturgies, that their liturgical space is lacking in ornate objects to lead one to contemplate Beauty Himself, and that their is no music that leads to the contemplation of that reality as well. It is worth pondering and contemplating as I think he is touching a very serious root of the modern liturgical problems and culture, the loss of the sense of Beauty. I think that the loss of the experience of Beauty was at first cultural but what eventually got its way into the Church's practices.

And thus, it brings us back to the orthopraxis means orthodoxy statement. A loss of the idea and experience of the reality of Beauty leads to a false understanding of Church Doctrine and of the reality of Christ. It is interesting that the Pope is attacking the problem through the realm of beauty, but I am not surprised either, taking into account his writings from previous years on liturgy and beauty.


1 comment:

Joyful Catholics said...

God bless you. What a wonderful post! This is the day, St. John Vianney's feast day, that I prayed for our parish priests at mass, for all seminarians and those discerning their calling. Your blog is aptly named. You give me hope and many more of us "older" ones.