Can’t Live Without It

Beauty is a necessity, not a luxury. …without beauty, the duties prove too hard and, eventually, seem pointless. 

Charles Klamut

Why is it that we feel happier when we’re in the presence of beauty? And why do drab or utilitarian surroundings make us feel sort of listless or depressed, or even agitated? We instinctively respond to beauty, just as we keenly, if unconsciously, sense it’s absence. 

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That’s Just Your Opinion!

Understanding this difference between objective and subjective judgment is crucial to our understanding of beauty and indeed reality. 

Joseph Pearce

Is it possible to speak objectively about what’s beautiful and what isn’t? Joseph Pearce argues that we can, though we will first need to be open to the truth that there is such a thing as an objective standard for beauty. That’s a tough sell today, and requires a large dose of humility. 

“Angelus” Bells… ?

You may have noticed we started ringing the church bells in a particular way at noon and 6:00 pm. (Ok, we know they’re electronic—maybe someday!) What’s that all about? 

You may have heard Fr. Bierbaum mention last Sunday that we’ve begun to mark the traditional times of the Angelus. If you don’t know what that is, read the article linked below. Even if you DO know about the Angelus, still read the article—it’s worth a few minutes of your time. This Angelus is a great way to begin organizing your day around set times of prayer.

Music: Indispensable or an Add-On?

Sacred Music is the indispensable instrument of the Holy Spirit in leading souls in their march toward Heaven…

Fr. John A. Perricone

Authentic sacred music isn’t a luxury or a mere affectation—it is a necessary element in right worship. As Fr. John Perricone sets out in the article linked below (h/t Crisis Magazine), our souls are moved in profound ways by the music we encounter, and this is especially true in the liturgy. He writes:

This music transforms him and pierces man’s soul to the core of his being. Often, it produces a contrition so profound that a man’s life can take a wholly different course.  

This basic understanding is what guides our music program at St. Mark. Music for Mass isn’t about “filling in the gaps” or giving people something to do. It is an expression of our love for God, which in turn lifts and transforms our souls. But for this dynamic to truly work, the music must be fitting. Not necessarily complicated or expensive to produce, but fitting

Happily, we have available to us a long tradition of music that is well-suited to the worship of the Most Holy Trinity. Some of this music ornate and difficult, and some is quite simple and accessible, but all of it has been proved over the course of centuries to both render right praise to God as well as “pierce man’s soul.” 

Read the entire article below:

Recovering an Understanding of Art

When it comes to art, especially sacred art, we don’t know what we don’t know. 

In the article linked below, Catholic artist and author David Clayton writes about the collapse in art education and the resulting fruits we see around us every day, even in our churches. He also provides a detailed description of how sacred art “works,” and what we need to do to recover a genuinely Christian approach to art. 

https://www.thewayofbeauty.org/blog/2022/8/the-corruption-of-art-education-in-the-modern-era

God is NOT Ugly or Banal

It is no accident that much of the most beautiful art and music in the Western tradition has been religious, and that a good deal of that has been produced for use in the sacred liturgy.

William Schaefer

Evangelization isn’t just giving people a set of propositions, or a rulebook to follow. It’s inviting them into a relationship with the living God. But first we must get their attention. Human beings are by nature drawn to beauty. If we want people to fall in love with God, we must give them a glimpse of His loveliness. 

Of course, love is the primary way we do this. But it’s a mistake to think that the outward forms of the Faith—liturgy, music, art, architecture—are superfluous. Nothing could be farther from the truth. These outward manifestations of beauty reveal something of the great love of God for us. They are also a sign of our love for Him. 

There’s so much ugliness and banality all around us—it’s the hallmark of our post-Christian age. The Church must provide a refuge from all that. 

The article linked below describes the connection between beauty and right worship, and explains why “there are no box stores… in the City of God.”

Fulton Sheen on Architecture

The Ancient architecture was always using material things as signs of something spiritual. But today our architecture is flat, nothing but steel and glass, almost like a cracker box. Why? Well, because our architects have no spiritual message to convey.

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was not an architect, but he knew a thing or two about theology and philosophy, and so could diagnose the spiritual sickness lurking behind modernist architecture. Moreover, he knew what architecture—sacred architecture in particular—is supposed to be: a kind of sacrament.