By Tom Quiner
I am exactly like you. I love beauty.
Every human soul is instinctively attracted to beauty. This modern world needs more beauty. To that aim, Quiner’s Diner will begin a regular feature titled “The world will be won by beauty.” We will occasionally post a work of art that transcends this world, that allows us to imagine the divine, namely God’s pure love.
I heard the quote above on the radio once. I did a little digging and discovered it is a variation of Dostoevsky’s quote: “beauty will save the world.” The 19th century Russian philosopher, Vladimir Solovyov, had this to say about Dostoevsky’s words:
“Dostoevsky not only preached, but, to a certain degree also demonstrated in his own activity this reunification of concerns common to humanity–at least of the highest among these concerns–in one Christian idea.
Being a religious person, he was at the same time a free thinker and a powerful artist. These three aspects , these three higher concerns were not differentiated in him and did not exclude one another, but entered indivisibly into all his activity.
In his convictions he never separated truth from good and beauty; in his artistic creativity he never placed beauty apart from the good and the true.
And he was right, because these three live only in their unity. The good, taken separately from truth and beauty, is only an indistinct feeling, a powerless upwelling; truth taken abstractly is an empty word; and beauty without truth and the good is an idol.
For Dostoevsky, these were three inseparable forms of one absolute Idea. The infinity of the human soul–having been revealed in Christ and capable of fitting into itself all the boundlessness of divinity–is at one and the same time both the greatest good, the highest truth, and the most perfect beauty.
Truth is good, perceived by the human mind; beauty is the same good and the same truth, corporeally embodied in solid living form. And its full embodiment–the end, the goal, and the perfection–already exists in everything, and this is why Dostoevsky said that beauty will save the world” (Vladimir Soloviev, The Heart of Reality, trans V. Wozniuk, p. 16).
What is beautiful? Schubert’s Ave Maria, composed by the legendary composer in 1825, three years before his untimely death at thirty-one.
The version sung in the video above is by “The Priests,” a trio of Irish priests who have gained popularity in recent years. They sing the traditional Latin version:
Ave Maria Gratia plena
Maria Gratia plena
Maria Gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Ventris tui Jesus
Ave Maria Mater dei
Ora pro nobis pecatoribus
Ora, ora pro nobis
Ora ora pro nobis pecatoribus
Nunc et in hora mortis
In hora mortis, mortis nostrae
In hora mortis nostrae
Here is the well-known English translation:
full of grace,
the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Schubert’s melody is beautiful, a perfect tribute to the second most beautiful human being God ever created: Mary, the Blessed Mother of our Christ.