Thursday, January 15, 2009

Truth and Goodness.

One of the philosophy lessons that most impressed me as an undergraduate was the metaphysics of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

The True satisfies our intellect or reason; the Good satisfies the will; and the Beautiful satisfies the senses or feeling or sensibilities or emotions or heart. To paraphrase Peter Kreeft: We need them. We need them absolutely. And we know we need them absolutely. We want, not some truth, but all truth and without limit. We want all goodness and all beauty, also without limit. They are the three things that satisfy us and with which we are never bored.

It was the understanding of the connection (or, rather, oneness) between Truth, Goodness, and Beauty that helped me to break through that "duty" mentality toward Church or divine law. If there is One who is these three things, then Truth is Beauty is Goodness. The most beautiful thing in the world will be true goodness. The laws of God (which I have come to believe are revealed through Christ) are not tiresome checklists to be fussed over; they show me what it is good to desire, what is beautiful to behold, what is true to contemplate. They satisfy me; they do not tire me. The laws of the One refresh and do not destroy.

John Paul II in the Splendor of Truth said that we must understand this link--the salvation of the world rests on it. We are only free when we can recognize and rejoice in the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

So, on your next date night (yeah, I'm a dork) or when you're folding the laundry, give a listen to Kreeft. Or take a gander over to the pope's encyclical (hint: include it in your plans for Lent!). Take some time to seek what is truly good, and therefore beautiful beyond words. The demands of truth are simply the demands of our own hearts.

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