“The arrow of His paradoxical beauty”

Today is one of our community feasts, the Triumph of the Cross.  Many things could be said about this day, but what is coming to mind–since I’ve been thinking about beauty so much these days–is another excerpt from the then Cardinal Ratzinger’s address to the Communion and Liberation community in Rimini.  He started his address by speaking about how on the Monday of Holy Week the Liturgy of the Hours juxtaposes two seemingly contradictory antipons: You are the fairest of the children of men and grace is poured upon your lips (Ps 45.3)and He had neither beauty, no majest, nothing to attract our eyes, no grace to make us delight in him (Is 53.2). He says, “How can we reconcile this?”  and then goes on to talk about true beauty: a love that loves “to the end” (Jn 13.1). 

The One who is the Beauty itself let himself be slapped in the face, spat upon, crowned with thorns; the Shroud of Turin can help us imagine this in a realistic way.  However, in his Face that is so disfigured, there appears the genuine, extreme beauty: the beauty of love that goes “to the very end” . . . Is there anyone who does not konw Dostoyevsky’s often quoted sentence, “The Beautiful will save us”?  However, people usually forget that Dostoyevsky is referring here to the redeeming Beauty of Christ.  We must learn to see Him.  If we know Him, not only in words, but if we are struck by the arrow of His paradoxical beauty, then we will truly know Him, and know Him not only because we have heard others speak about Him.  Then we will have found the beauty of Truth . . .

You can find his entire address here and it is worth reading in its entirety.

And let us let ourselves be wounded by the arrow of Christ’s paradoxical beauty. . .

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