We just completed our seventh annual Wojtyla Institute, on the theme of Beauty and Faith (hence, my brief hiatus from writing here) which was a grand success overall: Very fine speakers, lots of discussion and debated, new friendships made and old ones rekindled, all in the midst of the beauty of the Madawaska Valley. I will have more to say here and elsewhere on the theme of beauty, unpacking what was , on this all-important topic. How important? Well, here is a prelude, a quotation from Hans Urs von Balthasar, which sums up what we are up against in the battle for souls:
In a world without beauty – even if people cannot dispense with the word and constantly have it on the tip of their tongues in order to abuse it – in a world which is perhaps not wholly without beauty, but which can no longer see it or reckon with it: in such a world the good also loses its attractiveness, the self-evidence of why it must be carried out. Man stands before the good and asks himself why it must be done and not rather its alternative, evil. For this, too, is a possibility, and even the more exciting one: Why not investigate Satan’s depths?
Why not, indeed, unless we can offer cogent reasons, for what beauty is the right and true beauty to follow, best to discover early in life.
As the great Saint Augustine wrote in lament in his Confessions, after having immersed himself in all sorts of ‘wrong’ beauty:
Late have I loved you, O beauty ever ancient and ever new!