All posts tagged: illumination

Beauty Already Has Saved the World

Editorial Note: This essay was originally delivered as a presentation at “Illuminating the Incarnation: A Musical Meditation on The Saint John’s Bible,” a multi-disciplinary concert sponsored by the McGrath Institute for Church Life, directed by Carmen-Helena Téllez of Sacred Music at Notre Dame, and performed on September 24, 2017 at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at the University of Notre Dame. St. Paul concludes his letter to the Philippians with an exhortation: Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. This is what we come here today to do: to place ourselves in the presence of something lovely, something excellent, something beautiful. Yet, this afternoon’s concert is not something that is merely meant to entertain us. This afternoon’s concert, like all great art, is something that is meant to transform us. We’ve come here to experience the beauty of Scripture in all of its truth, purity, …

The Word Made Beautiful: The Saint John’s Bible

Tomorrow evening, the McGrath Institute for Church Life will welcome Donald Jackson, the visionary calligrapher commissioned by St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota to create a hand-written illuminated Bible using techniques that date back centuries. Jackson will speak on the process of planning, writing, and illuminating The Saint John’s Bible, a project which took fourteen scribes and artists sixteen years to complete. To put this into perspective, it took Michelangelo four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The Saint John’s Bible is a massive undertaking, miraculous even, considering the daunting physical and artistic task of writing and illuminating the entire Bible, to say nothing of the financial cost. This begs the question: why write the Bible now? Why spend millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of hours writing and illuminating texts that can be pulled up on a smartphone in seconds? What’s the point of The Saint John’s Bible? The point is this: The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul …