Wednesday, 23 February 2011

'The evidential power of beauty' by Fr Thomas Dubay

I've been browsing again through the book that Helen lent me, Fr Thomas Dubay's "The Evidential Power of beauty - Science and theology meet"
The quote that opens the book comes from Von Balthasar - "Every experience of beauty, points to infinity".

I highly recommend it for the wet weather; by which I mean that it deeply re-invigorates one with a high enthusiasm for life, of Chestertonian proportions!

Allow me to tempt you with the Chapter headings alone:
1. Charting our Course; deep thirst for endless beauty, a brisk tour, a needed nudge.
2. Beauty Beckons, the classical analysis, scientific concept of beauty, Glory, Divine beauty, transcendental objectivity.
3. Radiant form, Philosophical usage , the enrapturing form, musical form, triggering the Divine.

Under the section 'Savouring the Symphony', he shares with us Macromarvels, midimarvels, micromarvels, artistry and design, anthropic principle and providence and then the crown of the cosmos; human life and the grandeur of spirit.

In the final section called Divine Glory, the titles reach up into The Beauty of Sanctity, the Splendor of Revelation, Glory Supreme and Afterglow...
.. under the title Glory Supreme even the subtitles are tantalising:
Speaking of the unspeakable, The Christ Form, Screens before the Radiance, The absolute Singularity, Specific Glimpses, Compelling Impact , Crucified Glory, Trinitarian Splendor and Trinitarian Effulgence.

He never tires of being amazed and his amazement always leads onwards to the place where our amazement can rest and then be taken upwards into God. Our work as artists falls into this vast continuum of wonder and attempted comprehension.

It is good to return to the roots and marvel at the staggering complexity of a single cell.

Fr Doubay in his chapter on Micromarvels reminds us -

"Imagine a city so tiny it cannot be seen by the naked eye, and yet having millions of opening and closing gateways. It possesses a transportation system, libraries of information, manufacturing plants, computers, and much else. Imagine each of these microcities making others like them in an afternoon. If readers have not yet exhausted their wondering energies, we may note how all this happens on a vast scale. A single rye plant has 14 million roots and 14 billion root hairs. In one summer it can grow well over 300 miles of roots, which means that on average it grows three miles of roots each day. When we recall that one single cell in one root hair is as complex as New York City, we can be pardoned if we blanch with amazement. "

I look forward to the full journey he is going to take us on.. and as I often begin a book by reading the end, as I like to see where I'm going if at all possible, I'll share with you the final sentence..

"The marvels of our created arena are foretastes of the immeasurably greater eternal ecstasy awaiting those who embrace fully the plan of the supreme Dramatist. 'Within the beautiful the whole person quivers'.

Sit nomen Domini benedictum.
May the name of the Lord be blessed."

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