Luminous Wake

“However, if we look to the saints, this great luminous wake with which God has passed through history, we truly see that here is a force for good that survives through millennia, here is truly light from light.

“In the same way, if we contemplate the beautiful works of art created by the faith, they represent, I would simply say, the living proof of the faith.

“If I look at this beautiful cathedral, it is a living proclamation! It speaks to us, and starting from the beauty of the cathedral we can visually proclaim God, Christ, and all God’s mysteries: here they have taken form, and they look at us. All the great works of art, the cathedrals – the Gothic cathedrals and the splendid Baroque churches – are a luminous sign of God, and thus are truly a manifestation, an epiphany of God.

“In Christianity it’s precisely a matter of this epiphany: that God has become a veiled Epiphany – he appears and is resplendent.

“We just heard the organ in all its splendor, and I think that the great music born in the Church is a way of rendering audible and perceptible the truth of our faith: from Gregorian chant to the music of the cathedrals up to Palestrina and his epoch, through Bach and Mozart and Bruckner and so on … Listening to all these works – the Passion of Bach, his Mass in B Minor, and the great spiritual compositions of the polyphony of the 16th century, the Viennese school, all the great music even of minor composers – suddenly we feel: ‘It’s true!’

Where things such as these works are born, there’s the truth. Without an intuition about the true creative center of the world, such beauty cannot be born.”

From Pope Benedict XVI’s vacation Q&A session with priests in Northern Italy.

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