Attuning the Heart to the Art of God

by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

This passage concludes the essay "Revelation and the Beautiful" by Hans Urs von Balthasar in Explorations in Theology I: The Word Made Flesh (public library).  Earlier in the essay he discusses Christ as God's greatest work of art.
Beauty is not subject to man's command, and nothing is freer, less subject to hard and fast rules than the balance between the favorable historical circumstances in which great art appears and the freedom of divine grace.  The latter is not there for the purpose of compensating the lack of the former.  Nonetheless the prayer of the artist for the right spirit and the right kind of inspiration has always been effective.  No matter how great the genius, he can no longer, now that the mystery of Christ has come to dwell with us, penetrate to the heart of beauty without the aid of the Holy Spirit.  If both cannot be conjoined perfectly - the gospel is no human work of art - it is always the function of a given epoch to make itself receptive to the art of the Holy Spirit, to let the power of love mold it, for it is the absence of this that explains the coldness of our own art; that fire alone can rekindle it.  Only one whose heart is attuned to the art of God can be expected to establish order and due proportion in the confusion and chaos of the present moment (126).

The Savior written through the hand of Andre Rublev