...in a sentence

Published on 02 Dec 2016
Credit Ju On via Unsplash

There is nothing like a sentence that can reorganise your thoughts and provide you with a new perspective, read on a sunny afternoon whilst sitting on a London green. 

Yesterday I read Pope Francis’ words, on ‘beauty – that “great worth” which is other than physical or psychological appeal – enables us to appreciate the sacredness of a person, without feeling the need to possess it.’

In this world we are so used to thinking in dualistic terms: the physical versus the psychological; visible reality versus invisible metaphysics; internal versus external; inner or outer beauty. It is difficult, in fact it can seem impossible, to think outside the terms of the language and logic of antagonism, of opposites – which is, ultimately, the logic of violence and domination.

As I read this description of a worth that is other than physical or psychological I couldn’t help but feel struck by the distinct spirit of these words, which seemed altogether holy. A Holy Spirit, a Third, which is neither x nor y, a beauty that we can’t localise or define as easily as we’d like, a joy which, as St Thomas Aquinas would say, ‘expands the heart’.