I affectionately refer to this image as the “peekaboo” Madonna and Child, partly because it seems to capture a moment of tender playfulness between the Blessed Mother and Jesus. But what I like most is that it has a sense of mystery about it that relates to the theme for today, which is the beauty we long for, the beauty yet to be possessed, the beauty that calls us to transcendence.
I’ll begin Day Two of the Novena of Beauty in honor of the Blessed Mother by sharing an excerpt from a collection of essays by C.S. Lewis and end with some scriptural quotes (NAB) and the words of some of the great saints of the Catholic Church. I hope you enjoy them!
“Rustling with the Rumour,” by C.S. Lewis
“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words-to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves-that, though we cannot, yet these projections can, enjoy in themselves that beauty, grace, and power of which Nature is the image. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can’t. They tell us that ‘beauty born of murmuring sound’ will pass into a human face; but it won’t. Or not yet.
For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy.
At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get in.”
(THE WEIGHT OF GLORY by CS Lewis © copyright CS Lewis Pte Ltd 1949.)
He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. (Revelation 21:10-11)
Your adornment should not be an external one…but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:3-4)
“Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to heaven.”
-Pope St. Pius X
“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!”