Beauty is powerful. It may be the most powerful thing on earth. It is dangerous. Because it matters. Let us try to explain why. First, beauty speaks. Oxford bishop Richard Harries wrote, "It is the beauty of the created order which gives an answer to our questionings about God." And we do have questions, don't we? Questions born out of our disappointments, our sufferings, our fears. Augustine said he found answers to his questions in the beauty of the world:

I said to all these things, "Tell me of my God who you are not, tell me something about him." And with a great voice they cried out: "He made us" (Ps. 99:3). My question was the attention I gave to them, and their response was their beauty.

And what does beauty say to us? Think of what it's like to be caught in traffic for more than an hour. Horns blaring, people shouting obscenities. Exhaust pouring in your windows, suffocating you. Then remember what it's like to come into a beautiful place, a garden or a meadow or a quiet beach. There is room for your soul. It expands. You can breathe again. You can rest. It is good. All is well. I sit outside on a summer evening and just listen and behold and drink it all in, and my heart begins to quiet and peace begins to come into my soul. My heart tells me that "all will be well," as Julian of Norwich concluded. "And all manner of things will be well."

That is what beauty says: All shall be well.

 

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