The Beauty of Holiness

John Henry Newman: Mosaic at Westminister CathedralIt’s a phrase of Blessed John Henry Newman’s: “the beauty of holiness.”

Cardinal Newman was a scholar, and he was very familiar with the Fathers of the Church. He knew full well that, for the Latin and especially for the Greek Fathers, our being taken up into Christ had visible or noticeable effects in the world. Our relationship with Jesus is not only an interior thing. Of course, it is an interior thing; if it is not interior, it is nothing. But what Cardinal Newman insisted on was that our new life in Christ is not only an interior reality. It moves outwards as it moves more inwards. It radiates goodness. It becomes visible, or quasi-visible. There is a beauty. The lines of the face, the focus of the eyes, the gentleness of the gestures: there comes a beauty.

This visibility of the invisible often, and especially on this blog, goes by the name of “transfiguration of the body.”

On this memorial of Blessed Cardinal Newman, itself a remembrance of the day he was received into the Catholic Church (not a remembrance of his day of death), let us remember the beauty of grace and the grace of transfiguration.


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