Beauty is underrated and oftentimes misunderstood in the present age. Beauty is God’s way of letting us know that in spite of all of the darkness, in spite of all that is wrong with the world, there is a signal that sanity is somewhere to be found. Beauty emanates from God, the all-Good, the all-Holy, the all-Beautiful. For every murder, every misunderstanding, every broken relationship, every broken heart, every disappointment, every loss, every evil act unexplainable; for every wrong choice, for every unkind word, for every abusive act or word, for every evil thing, God has created somewhere a dandelion that laughs in the sunshine; He has made a waterfall that roars its approval of the only Goodness; He has made something like a sunset, a sunrise, a flock of songbirds in the trees, clouds in the sky. He has made something to remind us that this “God-forsaken world” is not actually forsaken by God. Beauty is the reminder that God has the final word on all that exists. Beauty is the imagery of God’s goodness. It is the Justice of the Universe that is encapsulated in the phrase “He will give you beauty for ashes.” (Isaiah 61:3) It is well spoken by St. Paul that one of the six big things we should be thinking about is “whatsoever is lovely.” There are and always have been absolutes, and Beauty is one of them. The great poet Robert Browning wrote, “Beauty is Truth and truth, beauty.” Let us not disparage or underestimate this towering truth. It is said, “what is beauty to one person may not be so to another,” but make no mistake about it, when you see beauty as you understand it, you are renewed. For every growl of discontentment or deprivation, there is a kitten mewing somewhere. For every macabre contemplation or display, there is a majestic horse in full gallop. For every unkind word spoken, there is a baby chortling somewhere. For every broken relationship that ended tragically from unwarranted injury, there is a cute couple kissing at the top of the ferris wheel. For every act of desecration and pollution, there is a cherry blossom born somewhere on a fresh young sapling. For every assassination there is the cry of new life; for every storm, a glorious rainbow or celestial display of colors in the sky as if to say, “I win.” For every thought of ugliness, there is a billowing puffy cloud in the sky that looks like a cow–no, wait…like a dinosaur. If the litany of evils and ugliness is exasperatingly long, ever more is the parade of Beauty. Can beauty be accidental…did it all happen by random acts of change? If indeed we are the products strictly of evolution without purpose, there certainly is no need for the concept of beauty (or love, or honor, or any of the other Virtues) for survival. I am too busy blowing the delicate and perfectly symmetrical petals off a dandelion to worry about whether they evolved from a microfungus. Maybe if you shake a shoebox full of amorphous chitinous fibers long enough, you’ll get a bald eagle; but even here, why should you care, for your yourself are the product of random and purposeless micro-changes, just keeping the ball rolling by killing and eating the next smallest animal. The existence of Beauty validates in my mind that this reality is linked inseparably with God, which means that each person who has ever been created has a “beauty receptor,” the capacity to appreciate the beauty that God has created. The expansion of this idea encompasses aesthetics in general. Furthermore, each person has the capacity to create beauty, but perhaps that is fuel for another conversation. As a human being, all my tragic faults cannot disguise or prevent this glorious endowment. Maybe I choose to see it, but it is a wonderful epiphany nonetheless. As the Allman Brothers sang, “People can you feel it: Love is everywhere”. So is Beauty. Look for it. Let it bless you.
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