Christ the Beautiful

All of the wild beauty of the world, the soaring mountains of Patagonia Chile, the crystalline Plitvice Lakes of Croatia, the rugged and spellbinding Amalfi Coast in Italy, the innocence of a child, all the poetry and paintings, the giant spinning super storm of Jupiter, the mathematic wonders steering our solar system are meant to reflect the supreme beauty, the par excellence—Christ. “In him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col 1:15-17; 1 Cor 8:6) In Christ we see, more than anywhere else, the beautiful. He embodied the essential features of beauty: harmony, unity, and radiance. He demonstrated harmony. He was at ease with Himself, there was no conflict between His inner and outer world. He was balanced, composed, level—strikingly symmetrical. He was unified. No desire was disordered, there was wholeness, integrity, and alignment with His loves. He was radiant. There was glory in His face, in His movement, and in His speech. He dwelt among us and we saw it, His glory (Jhn 1:14). His goodness on display. Christ remains the source and summation of the beautiful. And we only participate in it because He overflows with it. When we receive beauty, with the right intention, we receive Christ. So it doesn’t matter if we’re delighting in a waterfall’s thousand shards of spray or contemplating the agony and tenderness of His Passion. Both beauties lead us nearer the image of Christ, both fill our soul with sustenance, both beauties illuminate and inspire our entire existence. The harmony, unity, and radiance we long for in the beautiful are the same characteristics of Christ. And wonder of wonders, this is what He gives us when He gives himself. He gives us His own beauty: a harmony between our being and becoming, a unity of our loves, and a radiant brightness that even the darkness cannot shade.

Jonathan R. BaileyBeauty, Glory