Are we of Dostoyevsky’s tribe; will beauty save the world?
In Meeting with Artists in the Sistine Chapel in 2009, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI said:
Beauty pulls us up short, but in so doing it reminds us of our final destiny, it sets us back on our path, fills us with new hope, gives us the courage to live to the full the unique gift of life.
( . . . )
Too often, though, the beauty that is thrust upon us is illusory and deceitful, superficial and blinding, leaving the onlooker dazed; instead of bringing him out of himself and opening him up to horizons of true freedom as it draws him aloft, it imprisons him within himself and further enslaves him, depriving him of hope and joy. It is a seductive but hypocritical beauty that rekindles desire, the will to power, to possess, and to dominate others, it is a beauty which soon turns into its opposite, taking on the guise of indecency, transgression or gratuitous provocation. Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond. If we acknowledge that beauty touches us intimately, that it wounds us, that it opens our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of seeing, of being able to grasp the profound meaning of our existence.
Granted insight, vision, light, or some other clarion call do we snatch it up and make away with it? Are we like treasure hunters discovering the trove elated now our fortune’s made? Or do we receive inspiration as from a Lover’s hand; our pleasure in the Giver making sweet the gift? Having taken up our bounty to shape and hammer, tune, and test for brightness do we then hand it back again? Can we release our claim upon it as once a child is grown we commend her to the service of her calling?