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Saturday, April 23, 2005

"The Beautiful is the Good."

The Babylonian starlight brought
A fabulous, formless darkness in;
Odour of blood when Christ was slain
Made all platonic tolerance vain
And vain all Doric discipline.

(from Yeats)

Benedict XVI wrote this back when he was Cardinal Ratzinger. (My thanks go to The Idyllist!) It is really stunning and it addresses all these questions that have been plaguing me for so long. In addition to having written this insightful piece on beauty, Benedict XVI is also a Mozart lover, according to George Weigel. I'm liking him more every day!

The fear that, in the end, it is not the dart of beauty that leads us to truth, but that falsehood, the ugly and vulgar, constitute the real “reality” has caused men anguish throughout time.... In Christ’s Passion, Greek aesthetics, so worthy of admiration because of its perceived contact with the divine, which yet remains ineffable for it, is not removed, but overcome. The experience of beauty has been given a new depth, new realism. He who is beauty itself let Himself be struck in the face, spat upon, crowned with thorns–the Holy Shroud in Turin can help us imagine all this in a moving way. But precisely in this face, disfigured in this way, the authentic, ultimate beauty appears, the beauty of love that goes all the way “to the end” and that, just because of this, reveals itself to be stronger than falsehood and violence.

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