People often wonder why did we build all these expensive and grandiose buildings? The reason is that we’re drawn to beauty. We find beauty alluring and are called to create it and find it in our lives. The good, true, and beautiful go together, and we yearn for each of them. Listen below to the full discussion.
A longing for Beauty
In my conversation with Stained Glass Zealot, he discussed how beauty led to his conversion. And many people are longing for this right now. We live in an ugly culture, and yearn for beauty. We live in a brutal, nihilistic, materialistic culture and want something sublime, uplifting, and transcendent. And I think that's why there's a return to traditionalism is because people are longing for beauty like St. Peter’s and the Pantheon.
Absence of Beauty
How can someone compare some of the magnificent churches of the past to a square box? They would have to jump through hoops to psychologically and philosophically rationalize it. The problem that we're having right now is that there are beautiful modern things and there's some pretty cool, modern architecture out there. But just say that these grandiose traditional buildings, like St. Peter’s is worthless is just wrong.
Truth and Goodness often need to be worked toward. They don’t come easy. But beauty, can be simply appreciated by anyone. And, you can't argue against beauty when you see it. When you look at St. Peter’s, the Pantheon, or other impressive buildings, when you hear a beautiful piece of music, you just know that there's something calling you in that. And I think that's why it's so powerful for people.
Beauty for a Higher Purpose
Many craftsmen working on St. Peter’s were carving the birds that they knew no one would see. People would say, “Why are you spending all this time and effort for something no one's ever going to see, that bird?” And they would say, “Well, God's going to see it.” They were doing it for higher reason, a higher calling, and that's what makes it so powerful.