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Beauty

“The theology of the Church did not begin with considerations of intellectual method nor with concerns about the wider relevance or usefulness of the Gospel message; Christian theology began with Beauty rather than with Truth or Goodness.” (Timothy G. Patitsas)

“The Fathers of the Church were deeply certain of beauty, so much so that they grouped it together with truth, goodness, and being as a foundational, essential aspect of reality itself. For Christians, the transcendent reality of beauty is grounded in Christ as Logos, the One through whom all things were created, and by whom all things exist. The denial of beauty as transcendent is a denial of the goodness of creation as well…The apprehension of Beauty is at the very heart of the preaching of the Gospel. It is that which first touches the heart and draws us towards Truth. In our over-rationalized world we tend to think that it is reasoning and arguments that draw people to Christ. But this is something that comes much later. First the heart must be drawn – and this happens primarily through Beauty in its broadest sense.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“A Christian understanding of beauty begins with the recognition that God does not need us, or the creation. Beauty is a gratuitous gift of the creator God; it finds its source and its purpose in God’s character. God, out of his gratuitous love, created a world He did not need because He is an artist…Beauty also connects us with the why of living. It points to discoveries waiting to be made about the creation. It points toward questions of right relationships, of ultimate meaning, and even of eternity. It points backward and outward and forward to our ultimate Source and Sustainer.” (Makoto Fujimura)


“…participating in worship is so important. And adorning our homes with icons and other beauty. And reading the Scriptures and other spiritual literature. And choosing things to watch and participate in that are beautiful and noble and excellent. All these things bring thoughts into our minds that transform us to be like what they are, orienting us toward what is holy and beautiful and changing us to be like the saints, to be like our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)


“Through a sense of Christ’s beauty, we become emotionally invested in following Him. When we observe character traits in Bible characters and saints that are worthy of emulation, when we identify certain conditions as honorable or shameful, when our hearts are stirred in worship by “the beauty of holiness” (Ps. 96:9), or when we order our actions based on a longing for outcomes that lie outside the scope of the present life but are attractive to the imagination—all these powerfully move us because they appeal, at some level, to our emotional dispositions. A rightly ordered sense of beauty is thus central to the moral imagination of the believer.” (Robin Phillips)


“The beautiful is identical with The Good, for all things seek the beautiful and the good at every opportunity, and there is no being that does not participate in them. They extend to all that is, being whatever is truly admirable, sought for, desired, pleasing, chosen and loved. Observe how the divine force of love –that power of Eros pre-existing in the good—has given birth to the same blessed force within us, through which we long for the beautiful and the good in accordance with the words, ‘I become a lover of her beauty‘ (Wisdom 8:2) and, ‘Love her and she will sustain you; fortify her and she will exalt you‘ (Proverbs 4:6, 8).” (St. Maximos the Confessor)


“Beauty is not simply a name we give to a concept but is a deep truth of God's reality. One way to test true Beauty and whether or not we are responding to it well is the depth of our gratitude. The appropriate response to Beauty is gratitude. It is fitting to give thanks when one encounters Beauty. As ongoing sense of gratitude is a sign that we are beginning to live with gladness and singleness of heart. A mere attitude of gratitude is not enough. We are invited, over time, to be gratitude. Another name for ongoing gratitude is adoration.” (Rev. Christopher H. Martin)


“Perhaps the most profound line Dostoevsky ever wrote is: “The terrible thing is that beauty is not only fearful but also mysterious. Here the devil is struggling with God, and the battlefield is the human heart.” For most of us, this struggle will last a lifetime. Our hearts are hardened and slow to change. But nevertheless let each of us patiently remind ourselves again and again of these truths, and so over time learn with God’s help to see through the tired lies of our old sinful pleasures. Let us as often as possible, and with all the love that we can find within our hearts, set before ourselves the holy things of God: the divine Scriptures, the holy icons, the hymns of the Church, the writings of the Holy Fathers, the lives of the saints. Let us also not forget to set before ourselves our own brothers and sisters around us in whom Christ mystically dwells, and let us open our hearts to be moved and inspired by their living examples of love and self-sacrifice. And above all let us constantly, with reverent awe and humble gratitude, remember our Savior Himself, the love with which He has loved us, and the grace and mercy and providential care which He always and unfailingly bestows upon us despite our innumerable weaknesses and failings and falls into sin.” (Hieromonk Gabriel)


“So if by love and right living, you wash off the filth that has become stuck to your heart, the divine beauty will shine forth in you. Think of iron, which at one moment is dark and tarnished and the next, once the rust has been scraped off, shines and glistens brightly in the sun. It is the same with the inner core of man, which the Lord calls the heart. It has been in damp and foul places and is covered in patches of rust; but once the rust has been scraped off, it will recover itself and once more resemble its archetype. And so it will be good, since what resembles the good must be good itself” (St. Gregory of Nyssa)


“When you see that you have sinned, and you repent the sin, do not wish you had not sinned. Wish instead that God, in his mysterious way will turn your sin to a good end, for your sin is now already a part of the history of His ongoing creation of the world. To wish it away is to resist His will…May God transfigure all of our words and deeds – even our mistakes, failures and sins- into something beautiful which in turn speaks of God.” (Walter Miller, Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“…a Christian’s experience of beauty is by necessity a faith experience.” (Jeffrey L. Morrow)


“What Christians call “repentance”—from the Greek metanoia, to turn back—is often sparked by an encounter with the beautiful.” (Makoto Fujimura)


“…beauty requires people who live beautiful lives. They need neither wealth nor power, only the living icon of the Logos to be manifest in their being. It is the secret to Christian “civilization” – not an empire maintained by force of arms or economic power. Rather Christian civilization is the politeuma of the heavenly city that is continually reborn in the heart of every Baptism. That city is built in the heart. It is there that we repent and there that we forgive. It is there that we find within us the image of the city that God has already prepared for us.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“The…Christian way of soul healing – of soul development – can be described as “Beauty first.” Although moral struggle and intellectual understanding are also crucial, our very first task is to discern the beauty that summons us up from sin, up from ignorance, up from sorrow, despair, and a broken heart. That ultimate beauty is Christ himself, in his self-emptying love… God had created the world by revealing himself, his beauty, over the face of the deep. God’s beauty was so intense and so desirable…even non-being couldn’t resist its allure. When the primordial theophany occurred, the forces of chaos immediately repented, ceased moving aimlessly, and set out for the divine vision. In doing so, chaos was transformed into a cosmos – into something ordered, harmonious, beneficial, and, finally, itself beautiful…At the foundation of the world was a theophany – the self-emptying love of God in Christ…This was so lovely that the universe itself arose out of attraction to it. All was in repentance, all was doxology, all things were penetrated and bound by divine love, and by the love of created things for God and for each other.” (Timothy Patitsas)


“Repentance is not a self-contained act: it is a passing over, a Pascha from death to life, a continual renewal of that life. It consists of a reversal of what has become the normal pattern of development, which is the movement from life to death. To experience this reversal in repentance is to have tasted of the glory and beauty of God; it is the mark of man's presence before God in the abundance of His mercy and of God's presence before man…It is the awareness of God's beauty that makes one realize the chasm that separates one from His gratuitous grace. The initiative belongs to God, but presupposes man's active acceptance, which is a way of perpetually receiving God within the heart, of God being embodied within man, of divine incarnation. Here God calls man, and man responds to God and in doing so gains salvation and life abundant: "sorrow working repentance to salvation not to be repented of" (2 Corinthians 7.10). In repentance it is man's total limitation and insufficiency that is placed before God, not simply particular wrongdoings or transgressions.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)


"Human nature intrinsically yearns for Eden, experiencing momentary visions of its beauty throughout human experience." (Lisa Coutras)

“Only beautiful things lead us out to join the world beyond our heads…Beauty is to the spirit what food is to the flesh.” (Matthew Crawford, Frederick Buechner)

“When you see a beautiful painting, praise the artist. When you hear a beautiful song, praise the composer. When you experience beauty in nature, praise the Creator.” (Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz)

“Christianity is an experience of saying yes to what is truly beautiful. The puritanical, legalistic, and fundamentalist strains of modern Christianity have left our culture traumatized by a Divinity that is not beautiful." (Jonathan Jackson)

“Young people are not going to be argued into Christian chastity or browbeaten by moralistic maxims. Beauty and goodness, embodied in great art and fiction, and in the lives of ordinary Christians, married and single, is the only thing that stands a chance.” (Rod Dreher)

“God provides signs within nature and throughout Scripture to display His beauty and glory as a sign of His presence.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible)

“God and beauty are inseparable. The beauty of a sunset is a reflection of our Creator, just as the interior of a temple reflects our experience with the Creator God. We humans were formed as physical beings, placed in a material world, and invited to commune with our Creator. The majesty and beauty of the created world inspires us to an awareness of God’s presence.” (Abbot Tryphon)

"One can no more reject the pursuit of beauty or understanding on the grounds that they are self-indulgent exercises in pride, than he can reject the pursuit of righteousness on the grounds that it makes a man self-righteous. And it would be as superficial to value truth and beauty simply for their utility as it would be to seek righteousness just to impress God or to influence men. God's gracious gifts to His creatures are to be valued and developed, and we are to involve ourselves heartily in His creation." (Arthur Holmes)

“A sacramental view goes beyond this superficial understanding and sees the stars, the seas and indeed all the cosmos for what it is – an expression of the grace, beauty, glory and love of God." (Archpriest Lawrence Cross)

“The connection between the human artist and the Creator God, the ultimate Artist, can be found only in beauty. True art and music are a reflection of the soul that is journeying into the heart of God and is a mirror of God’s beauty and light.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Beauty is always something of a mystery; it defies understanding…Beauty is not simply an adornment of the good; it is a glimpse of the transcendent revealed through the splendor of being…the Incarnation embodies this beauty, for Christ is the absolute Beauty of God.” (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin, Lisa Coutras)

“Beauty brings us into places of healing, as well as into God’s presence…The beauty of believers consists in their resemblance to Jesus Christ.” (Jane Rubietta , Matthew Henry)

“Only through union with the Christ Jesus, who is both God and man, can deity penetrate our humanity, cleansing and restoring it to that “pristine beauty” that was ours from creation. The purifying mystery that begins at baptism is now accomplished in us by the Holy Spirit.” (OCPM 6/8/2016)

“One becomes aware of God's presence through the senses, in the experience of "splendor" and "beauty.” (John Yiannias)

“We are created in God’s image and share in a lesser way our Creator’s ability to create...and when we act in concert with God’s will, our creative and artistic abilities reflect the beauty of God.” (Abbot Tryphon)


#JohnYiannias #LisaCoutras #SrDrVassaLarin #ArchpriestLawrenceCross #ArthurHolmes #AbbotTryphon #JaneRubietta #MatthewHenry #MatthewCrawford #FrederickBuechner #BruceBickel #StanJantz #JonathanJackson #RodDreher #JeffreyLMorrow #MakotoFujimura #FatherStephenFreeman #TimothyPatitsas #GreekOrthodoxArchdiocese #StMaximostheConfessor #RevChristopherHMartin #HieromonkGabriel #StGregoryofNyssa #WalterMiller #FrTedBobosh #FrAndrewStephenDamick #RobinPhillips

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