Credo in Unum Deum

I Believe in One God

The Beauty of Goodness and the Goodness of Beauty

Now I am sure that I have heard that before, but I can’t quite remember where… maybe in Adler’s “The Six Great Ideas”.  But I got to thinking about that as I listened to “The Wisdom of Father Brown” this morning during my commute.  I had a startling rediscovery— that is, I have realized this before, but for whatever reason, it had a special kick this time.  I don’t know what either of those things are, and that is troubling.  Sure, it may be like unto the High Court’s definition of pornography: “It’s hard to define it, but you know it when you see it”.  Now it may seem rather to display my utter un-knowledge by using the definition of porn to describe my understanding of Beauty and Goodness, and if you think so I must concur.  But it is nevertheless the most accurate way I can describe my knowledge of Goodness and Beauty.  I know that the one is something that is Good, and I know that the other is quite Beautiful.

How is it that we have gotten to the point in history where only the learned know what they mean by Good and Beautiful and even they don’t have the slightest clue?  For they call the Cathedral bad and ugly, and the woman’s choice for unlife good and beautiful.  The ugly and mean are praised for being daring, and the daring Dogmatist is ugly and mean.  The liberation of women and minorities is good and just, but the Liberation of the same from the oppressive liberators is evil and unjust.

What can be done?  I think bad, old Catholic Theology has something to offer.  Go to Mass, pray your Rosary, and venerate some Sacred Images.  In the Mass, you see and taste the slain and risen Lord, yet only dimly as through an accidental veil.  In the Rosary, you witness the Goodness and Justice of our Lord.  In Sacred Images, you see the Beauty of the Faith in the lives of the Saints.  In the Mass, we experience the Goodness of God in our right and just worship of Him as we lift up our hearts above to be filled with His Goodness and Beauty so that we may then have our hearts poured out with the Goodness and Beauty of Christ to a world that does not know it.

Now, have I been using Goodness and Beauty with absolute univocity?  No.  I have been analogical in my usage and the blending of the two uses can be confusing.  However, since I do not know what really Beauty and Goodness are, and since I imagine that most anyone who is reading this does not really know either, I am offering what I think is the best way to actually begin to glimpse what these two “great ideas” are.  I don’t know how we are to know what they are without a firm dedication to our Lord.


April 3, 2008 - Posted by | Catholicism, Philosophy

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