Our Lord ascended to Heaven so that the Holy Spirit
might come at Pentecost and fill the Church with His truth. The greatest art
expresses that truth and is far superior to vain “self-expression.”
John Keats said “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” but T.S. Eliot
rightly thought that the expression was meaningless sentimentality. The
craftsman ignorant of the Creator becomes a vain aesthete expressing nothing
more than the ego. While truth is beautiful, beauty is not truth itself but
expresses that truth. In the classical tradition, beauty consists in
proportion, integrity and clarity: it is harmonious, suited to its purpose, and
intelligible. This is sublimely seen in Christ Himself, Who incarnated this
beauty as the Way (guiding to a harmony of virtue) and the Truth (revealing
God) and the Life (enlightening with creative love). St. Macarius, an Egyptian
monk of the fourth century said, “The soul which has been fully illumined
by the unspeakable beauty of the glory shining on the countenance of Christ overflows
with the Holy Spirit . . . it is all eye, all light, all countenance.”

is not merely an option for the Christian. Thus, the wisdom of Lorenzo in The
Merchant of Venice: “The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not
mov’d with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils
. . .” The most sublime art is the Eucharist, in which we “take part
in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of
Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims . . .” (Vatican II, SC 8).

Father George Rutler
Pastor, Church of Our Saviour, NYC
homily excerpt from a recent Mass with Artists