Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 14 June |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Francisa de Paula de Jesus Isabel
home iconNews
line break icon

The Never Ending Thirst for Beauty

Ian Carroll

Sequoia Sierra - published on 01/05/14 - updated on 06/08/17

Deep within the human heart lies a longing for the attainment of this beauty, since “beauty is the visible form of the good”, and that good - the ultimate good - is God.

When we behold something truly beautiful – whether it is something that we visibly see or something we hear or experience – it is transcendent, touching not only the sense by which we perceive it, but also our minds, hearts, and souls.  This is true beauty, for beauty, being ordered to the divine, touches our being on all levels.  That is why the beauty that we experience often leaves us hungry for more – hungry for a desire to be consumed by beauty.  By this beauty, God touches the human soul and draws us to Himself, as St. Augustine says in his Confessions: “O Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

True beauty transcends language, culture, and time. There are things created by civilizations hundreds or even thousands of years ago that still amaze us today – consider the Pyramids of Giza, Michelangelo’s Pietà, or a Bach violin concerto, to name just a few.  Deep within the human heart lies a longing for the attainment of this beauty, since “beauty is the visible form of the good” (from John Paul II’s “Letter to Artists”), and that good – the ultimate good – is God.  This beauty not only transcends our perception and senses, but it transcends our entire being, for as we partake in beauty either by sensing and experiencing it or by creating it through art or begetting life, we partake in a mystery greater than ourselves; indeed, we partake in a good greater than ourselves. Through beauty, we more fully and perfectly manifest Him whose image we have been created in; we actualize and realize what we were created for as we partake in God’s own goodness, and in that lies the transcendence of true beauty.

In a society that is very much unable to be moved by logic or rational thinking, beauty remains one of the last means of conversion and evangelization. It is the champion of the natural law, for the natural law is ordered toward beauty, goodness, and truth; it is ordered toward God.  Having been created in the image and likeness of God, our essence is fundamentally good. However, by acting in sinful ways that are contrary to that good, we come see the very apparent and real effects of the lack of this goodness in our culture and the havoc that it creates. And yet, despite our human frailty and concupiscence, we still find that our society seeks after the good and the beautiful; it is like a divine fingerprint upon the soul that spurs us on in search of Him who left that mark.

It is therefore only by beauty that we can begin the conversion of our society, since reasoning seems to have lost its ability to convince as our culture continues to lose the ability to reason and think logically. Beauty alone remains as that transcendence that requires no rhetoric, and that is all the more persuasive in drawing all to Himself.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
Miracle prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
Lucandrea Massaro
This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the ...
Philip Kosloski
Offer your heart to Jesus with this prayer
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
The short prayer Pope Francis says every night
Philip Kosloski
5 Things to know about the Sacred Heart feast
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.