“Indeed, an essential function of genuine beauty, as emphasized by Plato, is that beauty gives man a healthy “shock”, it draws him out of himself, wrenches him away from resignation and from being content with the humdrum—it even makes him suffer, piercing him like an arrow, but in doing so it “ reawakens” him…. Beauty pulls us up short, but in doing so it reminds us of our final destiny, it sets us back on our path, fills us with new hope, gives us the courage to live to the full the unique gift of life. The quest that I am describing here is clearly not about escaping into the irrational or into mere aestheticism.

If we acknowledge that beauty touches us, that it wounds us, that it opens our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of seeing, of being able to grasp the profound meaning of our existence…In this regard one may speak of a via pulchritudinis, a path of beauty which is at the same time an artistic and aesthetic journey, a journey of faith, of theological enquiry.”

— Benedict VXI (from an address delivered to over 250 artists on November 20, 2009)


6 Replies to “THE SHOCK OF BEAUTY”

  1. Heather, I think this is a Red-shouldered Hawk.

    1. Could very well be, Michael, I see they look a lot alike. My roommate, who's lived here for 17 years, says the bird comes around periodically and insists it's a Cooper's hawk. Couldn't get super-clear pix in the morning light. Anyway, as always, thank you for your sharp eye!

  2. whatever sort of raptor it is I would say it was mousing – perched there waiting for some unsuspecting ground dweller to wander past – and dinner with one pounce.

    1. Yes, Stephen! I sat there watching it for awhile, majestically and even (so it seemed to me) meditatively surveying the scene. Oh, he's in Morning Prayer! I thought. Then I got a good look at his beak and realized he was actually looking for something to kill and eat.

  3. HaHaHa, you really make me laugh, Heather. Reality kills our expectations. Ceci

  4. On all raptors the beak is merely the tool for plucking & dismembering, the feet / claws are the tools for capture & killing. So remember if ever rescuing an injured raptor from roadside, keep your hands well clear of its feet. A friend found this out the hard way with a harrier's claws meeting inside his wrist – first difficulty was to remove the bird, then off to ER

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