#4 Beauty.

In 1999, Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote a letter to artists. In this letter, John Paul used this quote from Dostoyevsky's The Idiot: “Beauty will save the world”.

As I continue on this earthly pilgrimage, I believe that claim more and more every day. Because I truly believe this, Beauty is another reason that I am super excited for the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal.

Before we get into examples of the Beauty of the new translations, we should probably explore more closely what exactly Beauty is. Okay, let's be honest, Beauty is not a concept that can easily be defined - although I do hope to explore this topic for my Master's Thesis. However, I would like to posit that beauty is an encounter, in some genuine way, with the Divine. As Pope Benedict recently said, it “opens the door to the infinite”.

In this sense, we cannot speak about Beauty without speaking about Truth. In 2002, then Cardinal Ratzinger had this to say about Beauty:
Whoever believes in God, in the God who manifested himself, precisely in the altered appearance of Christ crucified as love to the end, knows that beauty is truth and truth beauty.
This is what beauty is. Beauty is an encounter with Truth Himself, this is why I believe Beauty will save the world, and this is exactly why I'm excited about the beauty in the new translations.

Let's look, now, at some of the beautiful new prayers. The following prayer is the Collect for Ash Wednesday:

Grant, O Lord,
that we may begin
with holy fasting
this campaign of Christian service,
so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils,
we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

Such a beautiful prayer. The images of battle and weaponry point to the truth of the Christian mission – a reminder that we are the Church Militant. By drawing upon these images, the faithful are reminded of the seriousness of their Lenten journey and, in parallel, their entire earthly pilgrimage.

Here's another beautiful prayer. This one is the post-communion prayer of the 3rd Sunday of Lent:

As we receive the pledge
of things yet hidden in heaven
and are nourished while still on earth
with the Bread that comes from on high,
we humbly entreat you, O Lord,
that what is being brought about in us in mystery
may come to true completion.

Look at what is being said in this prayer. The beauty of the Eucharist is put in direct connection to the hope of Heaven. Being that this is a post-communion prayer, those who have just received Our Lord are reminded that there is something particularly special, something mysterious, about the communion they just shared in.

Okay, let's look at one more, one that you'll be hearing pretty soon. This is the Collect for Christmas day:

O God,
who wonderfully created the dignity of human nature
and still more wonderfully restored it,
grant, we pray,
that we may partake in the divinity of him
who humbled himself to share in our humanity.

Such eloquence. The prayer captures the monumental truth of the incarnation – Christ “humbled himself” while begging from God the grace to be able to share in the promise of Heaven - “that we may partake in the divinity of him”. That is what Christmas is really about. Emmanuel means "God is with us". God is with us so that we might be with God! Beautiful.

And how about that image that although Creation was wonderful, what is even more wonderful is that God saves us. Even on Christmas day, when the Son was born, we look towards the day the Son would rise on Easter.

Doth that not get you excited?!

Well, that's it for now. Maybe you learned something new in these last two posts. If you did – and even if you did not – this leads into next week's reason to be excited: An Opportunity for Catechesis.

We're close, within the month, folks!

If you missed it, last week's reason: #5 Fun words.