The Way of Beauty The Q&A for All Seasons

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Jn 67-68) This was St. Peter’s burning question and answer.  

Peter’s Q&A has to be put on the back burner, comes a response. We are immersed in ninety-nine pressing issues. We resolve one, and others appear. When an unemployed family member is looking for work, when bills are piling up, when the one and only family car needs replacing, when an older relative needs home care—these worries, and those unnamed, occupy, weary and burden us. Perhaps we want to scream at our inability to cope with these difficulties. The Q&A persists, nonetheless.

The Futility of Nothingness

The Norwegian Expressionist painter, Edvard Munch, captures the pulse of contemporary man and woman in his famous work, “The Scream, painted in different versions between1883-1910.  It shows an agonized figure in front of a bloody red sky and painfully expresses man’s futility, alienation, and fear. The pop culture mesmerizes our young people and echoes a similar morbidity. Without God, modern man and woman scream for meaning, for hope. A nihilism of dread plagues them. 

Feast of Christ the King

With the feast of Christ the King, the Church marks the end of this year of grace and inclines toward Advent, the first season of the new year of grace. Next Sunday, November 30th.

The feast of Christ the King has assumed a new urgency. Why so? In 1925, Pope Pius XI proclaimed this feast to overcome the prevailing errors of the time—materialism, secularism, and relativism. Today, unbelief, religious indifference, and a neo-paganism have been added to the list. Taken all together, they pose an assault on a moral and Christian way of living. These false teachings target everyone and exclude no one.

Ours is a Christophobic culture. Except perhaps for blasphemy, the name of Jesus Christ has been banished from polite company and from the public square. Mention the name Jesus Christ more than once, and you are branded a “Christ-er.” Most social conversations barely tolerate the name of God, let alone the name of Jesus Christ. 

Temporal Monarchs

And what of kings, queens, and monarchies? Americans have little or no experience of them.  Still, Royalty on display captures our attention. The British, including the Anglican Communion, are unrivaled for their ritual, pomp, and pageantry. They stand to sing “God Save the Queen” with awe and hymn-like reverence. Such is their love for the world’s most recognized national anthem, so beautiful is its text and melody.

Americans see Royalty from afar, but temporal monarchies can externally point to the meaning of Christ the King.

If the British see in their Queen the embodiment of all that is good, how much more so is the person embodied in the one name, “Jesus?” Or, as the refrain in one old English litany puts it: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, be unto me a Jesus,” the most comforting name for all seasons, but especially in times of difficulty.

“Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock”

In 1853, the artist William Holman Hunt painted a series entitled, “Christ at Heart’s Door.” The most famous of these depictions is “The Light of the World,” based on Revelations 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” This painting shows a gentle face of Christ as he knocks on a door that can be opened only from within; it has no outside knob. He holds a lighted lantern.

The entire message refers back to Peter’s Q&A: “Lord, to whom shall we go; you have the words of eternal life (Jn 67-68). Implicit in both question and answer is that of free will; it is open or closed to the divine initiative.

Ambassadors for Christ

St. Paul calls us “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor 5:20). We are people who, through the witness of their lives in Christ, hold lighted lanterns to help others find their way. It’s a more persuasive approach to build his kingdom than direct proselytizing. 

More in The Way of Beauty

Hollywood ‘Comes Out of the Closet’ in a New Way

According to a recent interview with Kirk Cameron, actor, former atheist-turned-Christian evangelist, Hollywood Elites are starting ‘to come out of the closet’ with their Christian identity.  We hear promises of movies with a wholesome message. We shall see. We anticipate quality films which, through the Christian lens, offer the film-goer’s palette a feast of good taste and permeated with the mystery of God’s grace. 

“To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King”

Finally, the feast of Christ the King boldly affirms the providential care of Christ over persons, families, the culture, the state, and the entire universe. Great figures in history have built a better world, but there is none other than “Jesus Christ, our sovereign King who is the world’s salvation.” Here is the Q&A for all seasons: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.