|All photos taken July 6-7, 2018|
Inspiration rises with such a morning as this. The heavy damp air, dripping with moisture, too humid to draw off perspiration, has been replaced with air almost light enough to walk upon, and the gentle breeze plays shadow games across the multicolored blooms. The camera angles for breath-taking proportions, enjoying different backgrounds, shutter speeds, and focal points. All these offer deepening into the divine.
Balthasar explains how our attention to natural beauty provides foundation for “our supreme object: the form of divine revelation.”
“Here, again, a new and sharper vision is required, and there is little hope that we will receive and use such eyes unless we have to some extent learned to see essential forms with our old ones. The supernatural is not there in order to supply that part of our natural capacities we have failed to develop. Gratia perficit naturam, non supplet. The same Christian centuries which masterfully knew how to read the natural world’s language of forms were the very same ones which possessed eyes trained, first, to perceive the formal quality of revelation by the aid of grace and its illumination and, second (and only then!), to interpret revelation. In fact, God’s Incarnation perfects the whole ontology and aesthetics of created Being. The Incarnation uses created Being at a new depth as a language and a means of expression for the divine Being and essence.” Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Vol.1, Seeing the Form. Edinburgh, 1982, p. 29.
My spirits lift when I sight through my camera lens the qualities of beauty, especially:
|the interplay of light and shadow,|
|the spectrum of color across a single bloom,|
|and the balance of line, curve, and color.|
John O’Donohue (The Invisible Embrace of Beauty) tells how all this leads also to our quality of relationship.
“At the heart of things is a secret law of balance and when our approach is respectful, sensitive and worthy, gifts of healing, challenge and creativity open to us. A gracious approach is the key that unlocks the treasure of encounter. The way we are present to each other is frequently superficial. We become more interested in ‘connection’ rather than communion…When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and the arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter the embrace. Beauty is mysterious, a slow presence who waits for the ready, expectant heart” (p. 24).
As much as I’m loving cooler temperature, lowered humidity, sunlight, and mosquito-removing breeze, I’m also aware that the bounty we enjoy today depends on the balance with other day's sweat-soaked time. Light finds beauty in concert with the dark, and the balance of life resides in the knowledge and grace of God.