Saturday, July 02, 2005

Mary--the Exemplar of Beauty

Tolkien once wrote, in a 1953 letter to the Jesuit priest Robert Murray, that the Blessed Virgin Mary was for him the exemplar of all aesthetics: "Our Lady . . .upon which all my own small perception of Beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded." I think we might take him at his word--and explore how Mary is beautiful. From her immaculate conception through her glorious assumption, how is Mary God's perfect Work of Art? And we might look at this question by gazing at the mysteries of her life, one by one, and in connection to each other, in order to get a glimpse of that perfect Beauty. And we can do so by contemplating her figure in Scripture, in her Feasts in the Church's liturgy, in the poetic praises of the Fathers, in the mysteries of the Rosary, and in the blue & gold of the imaginations of Christian artists. Beholding, lovingly, and for a long time, this beautiful painting by the Blessed Fra Angelico, would offer us a first eloquent moment of such rapture.

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