God Is Beauty: A Retreat on the Gospel and Art
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Originally delivered in 1962 for artists — and made available now for the first time in English — St. John Paul II's (Karol Wojtyla's) penetrating spiritual exercises on divine beauty and its reflection in our humanity — and the art it produces — remain as timely as ever.
The retreat itself, of course, forms the heart of this attractive volume. To aid you in mining its many riches, it’s followed by an extensive commentary by Dr. Christopher West and various shorter, personal reflections from authors who are distinguished in the fields of theology and the arts and whose hearts and works have been transformed by the themes in this retreat: Bill Donaghy, Mike Mangione, Fr. Thomas Loya, Jennifer Settle and Dr. Sarah Maple. The book also features an inspiring conversation with artist Dony MacManus.
This book shows you:
The interior journey of "the ache" an artist must take to produce transcendent, impactful art.
How an artist should process the tensions in life that can inform their work.
The one thing necessary to make everyone's life a reflection of divine beauty. "Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life … to make of it a work of art." — Saint John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla)
Reflections from artists and theologians who are living out the themes of this retreat.
A road map for the Church to reclaim its role as the world's patron of the arts.
PRAISE FOR GOD IS BEAUTY
Dr. Peter Kreeft, Best-selling Author, Philosopher, Theologian
"This book is not a masterpiece. It is two masterpieces! One is a short retreat by the greatest man of the 20th century about the divine attribute that is the most irresistible, beauty. It is written in a style much clearer and simpler than most of his other writings. The other is a deeply, moving and illuminating commentary on it by Christopher West, the world’s premier writer on that great saint’s “Theology of the Body,” which George Weigel, John Paul’s biographer, deemed “a theological time bomb” and perhaps her most important theological gift since St. Thomas Aquinas."
Dony MacManus, Renowned Irish Sculptor and Art Teacher
“As artists, the greatest masterpiece we can hope to pull off is our own sanctification, and the truth, goodness and beauty that flows from it. This book will serve as a great starting point for this, the most noble and worthwhile of adventures.”
Elizabeth Lev, Catholic Art Historian and Author
“The rediscovery of this jewel among St John Paul II's teachings offers a splendid opportunity to revitalize the relationship between Catholicism and the arts, which has sadly suffered over the past century. Wojtyla's emphasis on the human person and his inherent beauty and dignity underscores a constant in the history of Christian art and provides an antidote to contemporary trends towards abstraction and relativism in creative output. Not since Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti in the era of the Counter Reformation has a theologian furnished so much to elevate the interior formation of artists, sharing wisdom to integrate the artistic sense and the moral conscience, and exhorting them to authentic love and humility.
“God is Beauty provides an opportunity to bask once again in the thought of Karol Wojtyla, elucidated by Christopher West through the lens of the Theology of the Body and by sculptor Dony MacManus through his practical experience as an artist. It is a chance to reclaim the holy splendor of the human form in an age when ideological and empirical ugliness seem to cloud all that is true, good and beautiful.”
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