As you can see, we have made many new additions to our Church to make it more beautiful. We have installed the tile flooring and put up a new mural. It really draws attention to the sanctuary and therefore to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I know that a lot of people really appreciate the changes and I hope we can continue to improve our Church and make it as lovely as possible.
I recently reread an article by a wise priest named Fr. Dwight Longenecker. He’s part of the Anglican Ordinariate in Texas. (So, he’s a Catholic priest that celebrates Mass in the Anglican tradition.) He gives three reasons why we ought to build beautiful churches. First, he said beauty is universal. In other words, everyone appreciates it. Second, it transcends and unites. So, it draws people together who would otherwise disagree. I find his third reason most profound, so I’ll quote it here:
“The final point is that beauty is the language of worship because God himself is not only good and true, but beautiful. He is, in fact, the source and foundation of all that is beautiful, good, and true. Furthermore, when the human heart connects and experiences what is beautiful it connects and experiences also what is true and good. This is because the beautiful, good, and true are one of the “little Trinities” of which the Most Holy Trinity is composed.
This is the theological reason why Catholics (and all Christians as much as they are able) should not only invest in building beautiful churches, but should also take the time, effort, and investment in making their worship beautiful.
Someone has well said, “The gospel is not good news unless it is subversive.” In this utilitarian, barbaric, and cost-effective age, building a beautiful temple for the Almighty is a counter-cultural, prophetic, and subversive thing to do. Anyone can set up chairs and a coffee bar and make a church out of an old supermarket. Anyone can build a theater in the round where people can hear a religious pep talk once a week.
Put simply, the unknown architect of Glastonbury Abbey in England wrote more than a thousand years ago, “I want to build a church so beautiful that even the hardest heart will be moved to prayer.” (“Beauty: The Language of Worship”)
If you would like to read his essay in full, it can be found here: