Have you ever watched a mother comforting her child and seen it as immensely beautiful? Or a child hugging her father and telling him that she loves him? Perhaps a widow kissing a photo of her dead husband? Have you seen a couple holding hands and smiled because their love for one another was palpable? A soldier standing watch over his platoon? An older brother defending his younger brother from bullies? A granddaughter who visits her grandfather in the nursing home to laugh and talk with him each week? A friend who lets another friend stay at her home after their house burned down in a raging fire, treating them like family every day for months?
No museum I've ever been to has art that moved my heart as much as witnessing these kinds of acts of love. No performance I've seen has shone with as much beauty as the human heart shines with the most beautiful love while performing acts of loving service. No "super models" who are plastered on the cover of magazines have ever even come close to entrancing me so deeply as entering into love itself in the daily life of many people. In my experience, there is nothing more beautiful than love.
We know intuitively that beauty is inherently connected with love. We can see it in the way we decorate our homes, the extravagance of our love filling the space where our loved ones dwell with beauty in the form of art on the walls, well-made furniture, vibrant plants, portraits or photographs on the shelves and tables, and flowers in a vase. We can see it in how we give them gifts wrapped in paper with lovely patterns on it. We can see it in how we adorn those we love in precious jewelry, purchase delightful perfumes for them, and give them the best clothes we can afford.
This is part of the beauty of love, that we choose to surround those we love with as much beauty as we can provide for them. So it is with building a beautiful church for the one we love above all, the one who loved us unto death. We decorate His house with art on the walls and the ceilings, furnish it with well-crafted chairs and pews, brighten it with vibrant plants, and place portraits of the Icons of Love on the shelves and tables. We present the gifts in the most precious metals of silver and gold, adorn His Word in the best binding we can afford, and fill His house with the finest fragrance of frankincense.
We give Him the greatest treasures of worldly beauty we can afford. This we do for our beloved Christ, our God who gives us all, including the freedom to lose it all, and then gives us His all once more after we lose it. Giving Him all the best we have is not solely an act of love for His sake, but also an act of love for all. All can walk in the midst of the most wondrous beauty which fills His house, the house built with love for the one who is Love, each part of the building of the church a beautiful act of love, the beauty of love shining in every inch of the beauty made for Love Himself.
All can witness the immense beauty of love in the church made with love. Each person who prays with love in the house of the Lord shows us the beauty of love. Each person who kisses the cross with love shows us the beauty of love. Each person who struggles to walk in on aching knees, kneels with aching back held straight, and sits with an aching heart full of love shows us the beauty of love. Each person who sacrifices for the sake of going forth to the house of Love to give back in love all that Love has given to them shows us the true beauty of love.
With each gift of the beautiful to the One we love and the ones we love, we fill the world with a bit more love and beauty. We are called to fill this world to overflowing with the beauty of our love, shining forth as an icon of Love's beautiful heavenly home. We are called to make our lives and the lives of others more beautiful by our acts of love, showing to all the beauty of love in each moment of each day.
We are called to love to death all those parts of us which do not reflect the divine radiance of the King who is the fulfillment of all that is true, good, and beautiful, thus burning away in the fires of love those parts of us which do not shine forth with the heavenly Beauty of Love.
By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42184402
Note: The above is a picture of the Church of the Society of Jesus in Ecuador.