The Face of Beauty: Jesus

For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. Psalm 22:24 NIV

Pieta Jesus

The face of Jesus

from Michelangelo’s Pieta in St. Peters Cathedral, Rome


He has not hidden his face from you in your suffering.

He has heard your cries.

He has brought you victory.

They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them. Psalm 44:3 NLT

For you, He made his face visible.

For you, He made LOVE visible.

Linda CrawfordCelebrating and meditating on the beauty of Holy Week . . .

The Face of Beauty: Pope Benedict XVI

The truth is beautiful and the true and beautiful go together:

beauty is the seal of truth.

– Pope Benedict XVI, February 2013

Pope Benedict XVIIn 2009, inside the beautiful Sistine Chapel, Pope Benedict gave a speech to those in the arts with a simple, straightforward message:

“Dear Artists, You Are the Custodians of Beauty”

Twelve years ago I sat on a concrete step under the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and stared . . . for an hour and a half.Sistene chapel

Hundreds of people mulled about, talking, pointing, examining, and exclaiming in wonder. My husband, ten year-old daughter and I sat in stunned silence.

I wiped tears from my eyes and could only stutter to speak as my whole body vibrated in the presence of such overwhelming beauty.

Later, we entered St. Peter’s Basilica and experienced the indescribable beauty of Michelangelo’s  Pietà.

PietaAppreciation began to turn to confusion.

I am not Catholic, and I had heard many voices over the years criticize and reject the “ostentatious” and “too ornate” nature of the Catholic church’s cathedrals and art. I had been influenced to believe that being too “showy” was wrong. That “real”  faith was supposed to be unobtrusive, plain-loving . . . and most of all . . .quiet.

I walked under the magnificent rotunda, where I finally succumbed to the force of the beauty that surrounded me. With tears running down my face I looked up into that beauty, divinely inspired and wrought with human hands, and begged God to explain it to me.

“Why, why God, do you need all this? What am I supposed to think about all this ornate-ness? Surely, it can’t be your desire that we focus on such things!”

His immediate response to my spirit was firm and loud: “Do not despise the worship of my people.”


To create beauty is an act of worship.

We were created to create it. To worship. To speak loudly and ornately and even obtrusively of the beauty of God.

We are, as Pope Benedict said, the custodians of beauty:

You are the custodians of beauty: thanks to your talent, you have the opportunity to speak to the heart of humanity, to touch individual and collective sensibilities, to call forth dreams and hopes, to broaden the horizons of knowledge and of human engagement. Be grateful, then, for the gifts you have received and be fully conscious of your great responsibility to communicate beauty, to communicate in and through beauty! Through your art, you yourselves are to be heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity! And do not be afraid to approach the first and last source of beauty, to enter into dialogue with believers, with those who, like yourselves, consider that they are pilgrims in this world and in history towards infinite Beauty!

Faith takes nothing away from your genius or your art: on the contrary, it exalts them and nourishes them, it encourages them to cross the threshold and to contemplate with fascination and emotion the ultimate and definitive goal, the sun that does not set, the sun that illumines this present moment and makes it beautiful.

Pope Benedict Farewell Pope Benedict,  and thank you for preaching the message of beauty to the world.

May there be more preachers of this beauty among us.

Linda Crawford

Linda Crawford



More Faces of Beauty:

Lygon Stevens
Lygon Stevens
Embracing the Gift of our Days
Embracing the Gift of our Days

©2013 Linda Crawford