Educational Theory: Ideas that Matter - Beauty


Theme: "Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education"

Children exposed to what is aesthetically and morally excellent are helped to develop appreciation, prudence and the skills of discernment. Here it is important to recognize the fundamental value of parents’ example and the benefits of introducing young people to children's classics in literature, to the fine arts and to uplifting music. While popular literature will always have its place in culture, the temptation to sensationalize should not be passively accepted in places of learning. Beauty, a kind of mirror of the divine, inspires and vivifies young hearts and minds, while ugliness and coarseness have a depressing impact on attitudes and behaviour.

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From The Order of Things by Fr. James Schall (Ignatius Press, 2007)...

"For Plato," Joseph Ratzinger wrote, to make the same point in another way, "the category of the beautiful had been definitive. The beautiful and the good, ultimately the beautiful and God, coincide. Through the appearance of the beautiful we are wounded in our innermost being, and that wound grips us and takes us beyond ourselves; it stirs longing into flight and moves us toward the truly Beautiful." What is orderly and beautiful leads to what is order and beauty in itself. We are made in such a way that, on first beholding what this beauty is, in any of its forms or wordly manifestations, we cannot rest without an explanation and, indeed, without a possession of it after its own manner.

From Cardinal Ratzinger's Feast of Faith:

Thomas says that through the praise of God man ascends to God. Praise itself is a movement, a path; it is more than understanding, knowing and doing - it is an "ascent", a way of reaching him who dwells amid the praises of the angels. Thomas mentioned another factor: this ascent draws man away from what is opposed to God. Anyone who has ever experienced the transforming power of great liturgy, great art, great music, will know this. Thomas adds that the sound of musical praise leads us and others to a sense of reverence. It awakens the inner man...

Related Links:

Liturgy and Beauty - Nobilis Pulchritudo