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Faith & Teaching - Poems and Quotes about Beauty

"Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed? Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts? Can the writer renew our hopes for literary form? Why are we reading, if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage and the hope of meaningfulness, and press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?"
-- Annie Dillard

“We want to eat all the other objects of desire. The beautiful is that which we desire without wishing to eat it. We desire that it should be. . . . Distance is the soul of the beautiful”
-- Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, 136

"Here perhaps we can best realize why beauty does not mean simply perfection. For anything perfect in every respect in its own genus - anything "totally perfect" on earth - is both totally terminated and without any lack, therefore leaves nothing to be desired - and therefore lacks that longing and "irritated melancholy" of which Baudelaire spoke, and which is essential to beauty here below. It is lacking a lack. A lack is lacking in any totally perfect performance (with all due respect to Toscanini). A totally perfect finite thing is untrue to the transcendental nature of beauty. And nothing is more precious than a certain sacred weakness, and that kind of imperfection through which infinity wounds the finite. . . .

Beauty moves, and "Beauty limps." And does not, in quite another order, contemplation also limp? Just as Jacob limped after his struggle with the Angel, St. Thomas says, the contemplative limps in one foot, for having known God's sweetness he remains weak on the side that leans on the world"
-- Jacques Maritain, Creative Intuition and Poetry, 127-128

“.... one both can and must consider the revelation of the living God, as the Christian understands it, not only from the point of view of its truth and goodness, but also from that of its ineffable beauty. If everything in the world that is fine and beautiful is epiphaneia, the radiance and splendour which breaks forth in expressive form from a veiled and yet mighty depth of being, then the event of the self-revelation of the hidden, the utterly free and sovereign God in the forms of this world, in word and history, and finally in the human form itself, will itself form an analogy to that world beauty however far it outstrips it.”
-- Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord, Vol. II, p. 11
[Note: for von B. beauty is contained within the Biblical category of glory.]

"He hung therefore on the cross deformed, but his deformity is our beauty"
-- Augustine, Sermon xxvii.6

"All things are beautiful because you made them, but you who made all things are inexpressibly more beautiful."
-- Augustine, Confessions 13.20.28

Late have I love you, Beauty so ancient and so new,
late have I loved you!
Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made I rushed headlong,
I, misshapen.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being
were they not in you.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped, and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.
-- Augustine, Confessions, X.27.38 (trans. Maria Boulding, New City Press, 1997)

"How indeed should we love, had he not first loved us? Through loving we have become friends; but it was a enemies that he loved us, in order that we might be made friends. He first loved us, and bestowed on us the power to love him. As yet we loved him not: through loving we are made fair. An ugly and misshapen man may love a beautiful woman, or an ugly and misshapen woman of dull complexion may love a handsome man; but love can make beautiful neither the man nor the woman. The man loves a fair woman and when he looks on himself in the glass, he is ashamed to raise his face to the beauty of her whom he loves. He can do nothing to make himself beautiful: if he waits for beauty to come to him, waiting will make him old and his face plainer. There is nothing he can do, no advice you can give him but to restrain his passion and venture no more to set his love upon an unequal match: if he loves and would marry a wife, he must desire modesty in her and not physical charm. But our soul, my brethren, is ugly through its iniquity: through loving God it is made fair. What manner of love is this, that transforms the lover into beauty! God is ever beautiful, never ugly, never changing. He that is ever beautiful, he first loved us - and loved none that were not ugly and misshapen. Yet the end of his love was not to leave us ugly, but to transform us, creating beauty in place of deformity. And how shall we win this beauty, but through loving him who is ever beautiful? Beauty grows in you with the growth of love; for charity itself is the soul's beauty."
-- Augustine, Homilies on I John, IX.9

"When the Scholastics spoke about beauty they meant by this an attribute of God. The metaphysics of beauty (in Plotinus, for instance) and the theory of art were in no way related. ‘Contemporary’ man places an exaggerated value on art because he has lost the feeling for intelligible beauty which the Platonists and the Medievals possessed."
-- E. R. Curtin, cited in Eco, Middle Ages, p.5

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.
-- John Keats, Endymion : Book I, lines 1-24

"Come, I pray, and share my sorrow, all of you who desire to rejoice in the Lord. Behold how your Strong One is broken, your Desirable One disfigured; behold your Peaceful One dying in battle. Where are now the cheeks flushed with life, the skin fair as snow? Where in this ravaged body will you find any beauty? Behold, they have passed away, the days of our Day, of Jesus most kind, the only Day without darkness. His bones have been parched like firewood, His heart cut down and dried like grass; He has been lifted up and cast down to the depths. Yet, throughout this external disgrace, He has kept all His inner beauty and honor.

Do not, then despair for Him in His affliction. Those who are led only by appearances saw on the cross Him who is fairer in beauty than the sons of men deprived of beauty or human sightliness. They saw a disfigured face and a distorted body. Yet from this disfigurement of our Saviour flowed the price of our grace. We have seen, at least in part, the dark and outward ugliness of the body of our most loving Jesus. But who shall tell of the inner beauty of Him in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead? Let us, too, be deformed outwardly in our bodies, together with Jesus deformed, that we may be reformed internally, to companion Jesus most fair"
-- Bonaventure, The Mystical Vine, V.7

See Zurbaran’s painting of Francis kneeling, meditating on death (note the skull) and yet in ecstasy: http://www.abcgallery.com/Z/zurbaran/zurbaran23.html

The Bright Field

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
the treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
-- R. S. Thomas

Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore
masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more.
See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.

Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived.
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed.
What God's Son hath told me take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly, or there's nothing true.

On the Cross thy Godhead made no sign to men:
Here thy very manhood steals from human ken:
Both are my confession, both are my belief.
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.

I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see.
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he:
This faith each day deeper be my holding of.
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.

O thou our reminder of Christ crucified.
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died.
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind.
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.

Jesus, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I long for so:
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest for ever with thy glory's sight.
-- Thomas Aquinas, trans. Gerard Manley Hopkins

Lavish love, abundant beauty, gracious gifts for heart and hand,
life that fills the soul and senses -- all burst forth at your command.
Lord, our Lord, Eternal Father, great Creator, God and Friend:
boundless power gave full expression to your love which knows no end.

Who am I that you should love me, meet my every need from birth?
Why invest yourself so fully in a creature made of earth?
In your loving heart you planned me, fashioned me with greatest care;
through my soul you breathed your Spirit, planted your own image there.

I am yours, Eternal Father, all my body, mind and heart.
Take and use me to your glory, form yourself in every part.
Lord, your love brings joy and gladness flowing forth within my soul.
May my very breath and being rise to you, their source and goal.
-- Perry Ellis, 1986


The Naked Seed

My heart is empty. All the fountains that should run
With longing, are in me
Dried up. In all my countryside there is not one
That drips to find the sea.
I have no care for anything thy love can grant
Except the moment’s vain
And hardly noticed filling of the moment’s want
And to be free from pain.
Oh, thou that art unwearying, that dost neither sleep
Nor slumber, who didst take
All care for Lazarus in the careless tomb, oh keep
Watch for me till I wake.
If thou think for me what I cannot think, if thou
Desire for me what I
Cannot desire, my soul’s interior Form, though now
Deep-buried, will not die,
— No more than the insensible dropp’d seed which grows
Through winter ripe for birth
Because, while it forgets, the heaven remembering throws
Sweet influence still on earth,
—Because the heaven, moved moth-like by thy beauty, goes
Still turning round the earth.
-- C. S. Lewis
 [Lewis is quoting this passage from the end of Dante’s Divine Comedy]

As the geometer intently seeks
to square the circle, but he cannot reach,
through thought on thought, the principle he needs,
so I searched that strange sight: I wished to see
the way in which our human effigy
suited the circle and found place in it —
and my own wings were far too weak for that.
But then my mind was struck by light that flashed,
and, with this light, received what it had asked.
Here force failed my high fantasy; but my
desire and will were moved already — like
a wheel revolving uniformly — by
the Love that moves the sun and other stars.
-- Dante, Paradiso, Canto XXXIII, 133-145

From Fra Lippo Lippi

You speak no Latin more than I, belike;
However, you're my man, you've seen the world
-- The beauty, and the wonder and the power,
The shapes of things, their colors, lights and shades,
Changes, surprises -- and God made it all!
-- For what? Do you feel thankful, ay or no,
For this town's fair face, yonder river's line,
The mountain round it and the sky above,
Much more the figures of man, woman, child,
These are the frame to? What's it all about?
To be passed over, despised? or dwelt upon,
Wondered at? oh, this last of course! -- you say.
But why not do as well as say, paint these
Just as they are, careless what comes of it?
God's works -- paint anyone, and count it crime
To let a truth slip. Don't object, "His works
"Are here already; nature is complete:
"Suppose you reproduce her (which you can't)
"There's no advantage! you must beat her, then."
For, don't you mark? we're made so that we love
First when we see them painted, things we have passed
Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see;
And so they are better, painted -- better to us,
Which is the same thing. Art was given for that;
God uses us to help each other so,
Lending our minds out. Have you noticed, now,
Your cullion's hanging face? A bit of chalk,
And trust me but you should, though! How much more,
If I drew higher things with the same truth!
That were to take the Prior's pulpit-place,
Interpret God to all of you! Oh, oh,
It makes me mad to see what men shall do
And we in our graves! This world's no blot for us,
Nor blank; it means intensely, and means good:
To find its meaning is my meat and drink.
-- Robert Browning

The White Tiger

It was beautiful as God
must be beautiful ; glacial
eyes that had looked on
violence and come to terms

with it ; a body too huge
and majestic for the cage in which
it had been put ; up
and down in the shadow

of its own bulk it went,
lifting, as it turned,
the crumpled flower of its face
to look into my own

face without seeing me. It
was the colour of the moonlight
on snow and as quiet
as moonlight, but breathing

as you can imagine that
God breathes within the confines
of our definition of him, agonising
over immensities that will not return.
-- R. S. Thomas

"Esther was the ancient equivalent of a high fashion model, a beauty queen, a woman whose beauty was her career. There is nothing in the story of Esther to suggest that beauty is a bad thing in a woman, or that it should not be valued. However, there is a higher value. Alexander Pruss has pointed out that when she chose to fast before going in to see the king, Esther was jeopardizing her beauty, since fasting for three days was likely to leave her looking less than her best [The Unwritten Esther,” Judaic Seminar, no.1, vol. 8, http://www.shamash.org/tanach/tanach/ commentary/j seminar/volume1/v1n8 ]. She was choosing to rely on God’s power instead of on her beauty to soften the king’s heart. Personal physical beauty is a good thing, but it’s not as good, it’s not even as beautiful, as dependence on God. Ascetics also are willing to let go of a lesser pleasure in order to more fully experience the greater pleasure. Consider this example from C. S. Lewis’ novel Perelandra:

“What you have made me see,” answered the Lady, “is as plain as the sky, but I never saw it before. Yet it has happened every day. One goes into the forest to pick food and already the thought of one fruit rather than another has grown up in one’s mind. Then, it may be, one finds a different fruit and not the fruit one thought of. One joy was expected and another is given. But this I had never noticed before — that the very moment of the finding there is in the mind a kind of thrusting back, or setting aside. The picture of the fruit you have not found is still, for a moment, before you. And if you wished — if it were possible to wish — you could keep it there. You could send your soul after the good you had expected, instead of turning it to the good you had got. You could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other.”

Ransom interrupted. “That is hardly the same thing as finding a stranger when you wanted your husband.”

“Oh, that is how I came to understand the whole thing. You and the King differ more than two kinds of fruit. The joy of finding him again and the joy of all the new knowledge I have had from you are more unlike than two tastes; and when the difference is as great as that, and each of the two things so great, then the first picture does stay in the mind quite a long time — many beats of the heart — after the other good has come. And this, O Piebald, is the glory and wonder you have made me see; that it is I, I myself, who turn from the good expected to the given good. Out of my own heart I do it. One can conceive a heart which did not: which clung to the good it had first thought of and turned the good which was given it into no good....

“I thought... that I was carried in the will of Him I love, but now I see that I walk with it. I thought that the good things He sent me drew me into them as the waves lift the islands; but now I see that it is I who plunge into them with my own legs and arms, as when we go swimming. I feel as if I were living in that roofless world of yours where men walk undefended beneath naked heaven. It is a delight with terror in it! One’s own self to be walking from one good to another, walking beside Him as Himself may walk, not even holding hands. How has He made me so separate from Himself?" [Perelandra, pp. 68-70]

"Dost thou love beauty? Wishest thou to be beautiful? Confess! He said not, beauty and confession, but confession and beauty. Thou wast foul; confess, that thou mayest be fair: thou wast a sinner; confess, that thou mayest be righteous. Thou couldest deform thyself: thou canst not make thyself beautiful. But of what sort is our Betrothed, who hath loved one deformed, that he might make her fair?... we love beauty; let us first choose confession, that beauty might follow."
-- Augustine, Expositions on the Psalms, 96.7

[By a "learned life"] I mean the pursuit of knowledge and beauty, in a sense, for their own sake, but in a sense which does not exclude their being for God's sake. An appetite for these things exists in the human mind, and God makes no appetite in vain. We can therefore pursue knowledge as such, and beauty as such, in the sure confidence that by so doing we are either advancing to the vision of God ourselves or indirectly helping others to do so. Humility, no less than the appetite, encourages us to concentrate simply on the knowledge or the beauty, not too much concerning ourselves with their ultimate relevance to the vision of God. That relevance may not be intended for us but for our betters -- for men who come after and find the spiritual significance of what we dug out in blind and humble obedience to our vocation. This is the teleological argument that the existence of the impulse and the faculty prove that they must have a proper function in God's scheme -- the argument by which Thomas Aquinas proves that sexuality would have existed even without the Fall. The soundness of the argument, as regards culture, is proved by experience. The intellectual life is not the only road to God, nor the safest, but we find it to be a road, and it may be the appointed road for us. . . .
-- C. S. Lewis, "Learning in War-Time" in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses

Karl Barth on Divine Beauty

[Barth discusses divine beauty in the context of his discussion of God’s glory. The discussion is found in Church Dogmatics, vol. 2, part 1, chapter VI, section 31.3.]

The concept which lies ready to our hand here, and which may serve legitimately to describe the element in the idea of glory that we still lack, is that of beauty. If we can and must say that God is beautiful, to say this is to say how He enlightens and convinces and persuades us. It is to describe not merely the naked fact of His revelation or its power, but the shape and form in which it is a fact and is power. It is to say that God has this superior force, this power of attraction, which speaks for itself, which wins and conquers, in the fact that He is beautiful, divinely beautiful, beautiful in His own way, in a way that is His alone, beautiful as the unattainable primal beauty, yet really beautiful. He does not have it, therefore, merely as a fact or a power. Or rather, He has it as a fact and a power in such a way that He acts as the One who gives pleasure, creates desire and rewards with enjoyment, because He is the One who is pleasant, desirable, full of enjoyment, because first and last He alone is that which is pleasant, desirable and full of enjoyment. God loves us as the One who is worthy of love as God. This is what we mean when we say that God is beautiful. [pp. 650,651]

Barth is insistent on containing the discussion of God’s beauty within the discussion of God’s glory. He doesn’t want beauty to become a “leading concept,” since he doesn’t think that’s Biblically justifiable, though he admits that the Biblical concept of glory does include the idea of beauty. “We speak of God’s beauty only in explanation of His glory. It is, therefore, a subordinate and auxiliary idea which enables us to achieve a specific clarification and emphasis.” Beauty describes the subjective response to God’s objective glory.

We have already said that God’s glory is His overflowing self-communicating joy. By its very nature it is that which gives joy. This is not contradicted by the fact that it can unleash fear and terror. It works by contraries on the man who cannot have it, just as bright light can only blind eyes unaccustomed to it. But the cause in this case is subjective. The objective meaning of God’s glory is His active grace and mercy and patience, His love. In itself and as such it is worthy of love. In and with this quality it speaks and conquers, persuades and convinces. It does not merely assume this quality. It is proper to it. And where it is really recognised, it is recognised in this quality, with its peculiar power and characteristic of giving pleasure, awaking desire, and creating enjoyment. [p. 653]

I.e., when God’s glory is recognized, it is experienced as beautiful. Barth follows this paragraph with a discussion of the Augustinian idea of frui, or enjoyment, as the proper way to respond to God. As we saw last week, he also discusses this response of joy at length in another section of the Dogmatics. The fact that God’s glory creates joy in us when we perceive it is a sign that glory is — among other things — beautiful.

We shall not presume to try to interpret God’s glory from the point of view of His beauty, as if it were the essence of His glory. But we cannot overlook the fact that God is glorious in such a way that He radiates joy, so that He is all He is with and not without beauty. Otherwise His glory might well be joyless.... We are dealing here solely with the question of the form of revelation. [p. 655]

Barth gives several examples of ways in which we experience God as beautiful. God is beautiful in the fullness of his attributes, in being triune, and — most completely — in the incarnation.

For the beautiful in God’s being, that which stirs up joy, is the fact that so inexhaustibly and necessarily (although the necessity is not one of outward compulsion, but the inward movement of His own being) He is One and yet another, but One again even as this other, without confusion or alteration, yet also without separation or division. What is reflected in this determination of the relationship between the divine and the human nature in Jesus Christ is the form, the beautiful form of the divine being. In this way, in this rest and movement, God is the triune, and He has and is the divine being in the unity and fulness of all its determinations. Because He is this in this way, He is not only the source of all truth and all goodness, but also the source of all beauty. And because we know that He is this in this way in Jesus Christ, we must therefore recognise the beauty of God in Jesus Christ. [p. 664]

Barth takes the OT proscription against the making of images to be an anticipation of the incarnation. The incarnation is God’s own infusion of beauty into human form. Barth closes his comments on God’s beauty with an aside about Isaiah 53:2-3, which suggests that the Messiah will have neither “form nor comeliness.”
If the beauty of Christ is sought in a glorious Christ who is not the crucified, the search will always be in vain. . . . In this self-declaration, however, God’s beauty embraces death as well as life, fear as well as joy, what we might call the ugly as well as what we might call the beautiful. It reveals itself and wills to be known on the road from the one to the other, in the turning from the self-humiliation of God for the benefit of man to the exaltation of man by God and to God. This turning is the mystery of the name of Jesus Christ and of the glory revealed in this name.... how can it be known except in the face of Him who Himself gives us power to know it? There is not other face of this kind. No other face is the self-declaration of the divine loving-kindness towards men. No other speaks at the same time of the human suffering of the true God and the divine glory of the true man. This is the function of the face of Jesus Christ alone.

And this is the crux of every attempt to portray this face, the secret of the sorry story of the representation of Christ. It could not and cannot be anything but a sorry story. No human art should try to represent — in their unity — the suffering God and triumphant man, the beauty of God which is the beauty of Jesus Christ. If at this point we have one urgent request to all Christian artists, however well intentioned, gifted or even possessed of genius, it is that they should give up this unholy undertaking — for the sake of God’s beauty. This picture, the one true picture, both in object and representation, cannot be copied, for the express reason that it speaks for itself, even in its beauty. [pp. 665,666]

How Lovely, Lord, How Lovely (Psalm 84)

How lovely, Lord, how lovely is your abiding place.
My soul is longing, fainting to feast upon your grace.
The sparrow finds a shelter, a place to build her nest;
and so your temple calls us within its walls to rest.

In your blest courts to worship, O God, a single day
is better than a thousand if I from you should stray.
I'd rather keep the entrance and claim you as my Lord
than revel in the riches the ways of sin afford.

A sun and shield forever are you, O Lord Most High;
you shower us with blessings; no good will you deny.
The saints, your grace receiving, from strength to strength shall go,
and from their life shall rivers of blessing overflow.
-- Arlo Duba

No Beauty We Could Desire

Yes, you are always everywhere. But I
Hunting in such immeasurable forests,
Could never bring the noble Hart to bay.

The scent was too perplexing for my hounds;
Nowhere sometimes, then again everywhere.
Other scents, too, seemed to them almost the same.

Therefore I turn my back on the unapproachable
Stars and horizons and all musical sounds,
Poetry itself, and the winding stair of thought.

Leaving the forests where you are pursued in vain
-- Often a mere white gleam -- I turn instead
To the appointed place where you pursue.

Not in Nature, not even in Man, but in one
Particular Man, with a date, so tall, weighing
So much, talking Aramaic, having learned a trade;

Not in all food, not in all bread and wine
(Not, I mean, as my littleness requires)
But this wine, this bread . . . no beauty we could desire.
-- C. S. Lewis

"i thank you God for most this amazing"

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
-- E. E. Cummings

The Rhodora
On Being Asked, Whence Is the Flower?

In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou were there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew;
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Grace

Grace, she takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

Grace, it's the name for a girl
It's also a thought that changed the world
And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything

Grace, she's got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She's got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma
She travels outside of karma
When she goes to work
You can hear her strings
Grace finds beauty in everything

Grace, she carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things
Grace makes beauty out of ugly things
--Sung by U2; lyrics by Bono

White Lent

Now quit your care
And anxious fear and worry;
For schemes are vain
And fretting brings no gain.
To prayer, to prayer!
Bells call and clash and hurry,
In Lent the bells do cry,
“Come buy, come buy,
Come buy with love the love most high.”

Lent comes in the spring,
And spring is pied with brightness;
The sweetest flowers,
Keen winds, and sun, and showers
Their health do bring
To make Lent’s chastened whiteness,
For life to men brings light
And might, and might
And might to those whose hearts are right

To bow the head
In sackcloth and in ashes,
Or rend the soul,
Such grief is not Lent’s goal;
But to be led
To where God’s glory flashes
His beauty to come nigh.
To fly, to fly,
To fly where truth and light do lie.

For is not this
The fast that I have chosen? —
The prophet spoke —
To shatter every yoke
Of wickedness
The grievous bands to loosen
Oppression put to flight,
To fight, to fight,
To fight ‘til every wrong’s set right.

For righteousness
And peace will show their faces
To those who feed
The hungry in their need,
And wrongs redress,
Who build the old waste places,
And in the darkness shine.
Divine, divine,
Divine it is when all combine!

Then shall your light
Break forth as doth the morning;
Your health shall spring,
The friends you make shall bring
God’s glory bright,
Your way through life adorning;
And love shall be the prize.
Arise, arise,
Arise! and make a paradise!
-- by Percy Dearmer (1867-1936)

O Lord, You’re Beautiful

O Lord, you’re beautiful.
Your face is all I seek.
For when your eyes are on this child,
your grace abounds to me.

ALSO
Beautiful Savior
For the Beauty of the Earth
God is Seen
All Things Bright and Beautiful
God Who Fills the Earth with Beauty, Make Me Lovely Too
Beautiful, Beautiful, Jesus Is Beautiful
-- Keith Green