“Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye,
Not utter’d by base sale of chapmen’s (shopmen’s) tongues.”
(Reply of the Princess of France to the flatteries of Lord Boyet in Love’s Labour’s Lost)
There is a transcendent quality to beauty. Here I speak of true beauty and not the manufactured beauty that our world is so good at concocting and continually parading in front of us. The two (true beauty and false beauty) can be distinguished by their fruits. True beauty fills the soul, nourishes, brings joy and maturity. False beauty leaves the soul both empty and ravenous and stunts growth into personhood.
True beauty, it seems to me, can never be fully manipulated because beauty, by its very nature, always points beyond itself to the ultimate source of all beauty – who is God. It is no coincidence that when we gaze on a moment of beauty our breath stops, our attention is held, thoughts are raised and the soul is filled; this cannot be contrived, we stand in relation to the Divine. True beauty leads one to God.
Somewhere I read that the Greek word most often translated into “good” in the tenth chapter of John when Christ refers to himself as the “good” shepherd would, in fact, be more accurately translated as “beautiful”. “I am the beautiful shepherd.” (Jn. 10:11)
In Christ the fullness of God and humanity dwells … beauty enfleshed.