The Expression of God’s Beauty

If liturgy is beautiful because it is an encounter with Christ the expression of God’s beauty, and if liturgy is the expression of faith of those created in the image and likeness of the Beautiful, an assembly of the beautiful (as Christ’s body at worship), then it can be argued that the faithful have a right to beauty in worship, and a right to become co-creators of beauty in worship by participating in the work of God which is the liturgy. What is less-than-beautiful in the manner of celebrating the liturgy thus must be avoided at all costs. If what is at stake is the faith-life of believers, which poor celebrations risk weakening or destroying, then good celebrations, beautiful celebrations, are vital because the encounter with Christ’s beauty in the liturgy is that which changes us/opens us up to desire the promotion of what we have experienced: exposure to God’s beauty prompts us both to promote and emulate that beauty beyond the realm of the liturgical.

Clare V. Johnson, “Portals to Transcendence”, in At the Heart of the Liturgy: Conversations with Nathan D. Mitchell’s “Amen Corners,” 1991-2012, Maxwell E. Johnson, Timothy O’Malley, Demetrios S. Yocum, eds. (Collegeville, MN: A Pueblo Book, published by Liturgical Press, 2014), p. 96. ISBN: 978-0-8146-6309-7.