What Is Beauty

“One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

What is “Beauty”? We can see all sorts of beauty in God’s creation. In a field of flowers, a sunset or sunrise. Looking out over the ocean or the vastness of the mountains. All beautiful things but what is it exactly? Beauty is creation being exactly what God created it to be. Pure, untouched perfection. Such is the beauty of a soul. Beauty is knowing the perfection of God’s creation, which then fills the soul with His peace, comfort and joy.

Each human has been created exactly as God intend that soul to be. It is only this world and the corruption in it, that seeks to mar and scar the soul, in the same way man seeks to dominate and control all of his environment and then to take the credit for it to feed his own ego.

Beauty is God’s justification of innocence, and the fruit is genuine love, “ever ancient, ever new”. It can be found in every human heart, hidden from the reach of the outside world that is busy seeking the easily accessible corruption and destruction in it and the ways to damage it and inflect pain, torment and death on the soul. So often is this beauty overlooked that when it is found, it is all the soul seeks. Beauty is the needle in the haystack.

Late have I loved you,
O Beauty so ancient and so new,
late have I loved you!
You were within me, but I was outside,
and it was there that I searched for you.
In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
Created things kept me from you;
yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all.
You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.
You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.
You breathed your fragrance on me;
I drew in breath and now I pant for you.
I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.
You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

St Augustine of Hippo

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