Concluding our look at how we identify and understand beauty in all its forms, we again feature Denis McNamara, the Director of Benedictine College’s Center for Beauty and Culture. In Part V, Dr. McNamara discussed the importance of liturgical iconography and why it matters to the Mass. His conversation with Robert Mixa, the Word on Fire Institute’s St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Fellow for Catholic Education, now concludes with a discussion of how liturgical participation contributes to the overall beauty of the most spiritually powerful and penetrative act in the world, as well as how Catholic evangelization plays into this.
Robert Mixa: If only we had good churches with good liturgies! I mean, beautiful churches with beautiful liturgies at the center of the city. Having everything else ordered around that deepest center, time is brought into liturgical time, the economy is brought into divine economy, and the culture is brought into cult, so everything finds its fullness in God. This is the belief behind the Liturgical Movement, right? Denis, I know you used to teach a course on that. And you once gave a graph and said, “What’s the problem? Sin. And the solution? The liturgy.”
Dr. Denis McNamara: Well, it’s not that simple because you can have valid Masses all over the world, and beautiful ones. But if the people don’t know what they’re doing, if they don’t care, if they don’t show up, or if they read the bulletin during Mass, then they’re not going to receive the available grace as fully as they ought. So this is where beauty—the subjective and the objective—work together.