Evangelizing through beauty

by Kevin Birnbaum

The always excellent Jennifer Fulwiler writes today about how her parish is evangelizing through beauty, most recently with a performance of Mozart’s Requiem:

After the last explosion of sound from the choir and the orchestra, there was a beat of awed silence, and then the crowd rose to its feet. As roaring applause thundered through the walls of the church, I thought of what a powerful — and underutilized — form of evangelization this is. There are a lot of different ways to re-inspire Catholics in their faith and to lead others to the fullness of truth, and all of them are important. For example, strong preaching and rigorous apologetics are needed desperately in this culture that is so confused about pretty much every aspect of life. But with all of these kinds of efforts there’s always the nagging question, “How do you get anyone’s attention in the first place?” In order for a people to hear the truth, they first have to be listening.

This is where sacred art comes in. As I saw at Saturday night’s concert, an entire church full of people were moved to the core of their being by this music. I doubt there was a person in the room who didn’t feel at least a small stirring within his or her soul, who didn’t walk out of that building with a yearning to draw closer to the Source of this experience. It undoubtedly requires a lot of time and effort to keep the sacred music series going at St. William, but I have no doubt that it’s having even more of an impact than its organizers know — for few things will get people to open their minds to God than an experience of true beauty.

Read the rest at her blog at the National Catholic Register.