Here are some of O'Donohue's words on the importance of beauty found in the introduction to his book (accompanied by a few photographs of mine, that to my eye qualify as beautiful):
"The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere -- in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, campanionship, love, religion and in ourselves . . . When we experience the Beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming . . . We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful for it meets the needs of our soul. For a while the strains of struggle and endurance are relieved and our frailty is illuminated by a different light in which we come to glimpse behind the shudder of appearances the sure form of things. In the experience of beauty we awaken and surrender in the same act. Beauty brings a sense of completion and sureness. Without any of the usual calculation, we can slip into the Beautiful with the same ease as we slip into the seamless embrace of water; something ancient within us already trusts that this embrace will hold us.
"These times are riven with anxiety and uncertainty, given the current global crisis. In the hearts of people some natural ease has been broken. It is astounding how this has reached deep into the heart. Our trust in the future has lost its innocence. We know now that anything can happen, from one minute to the next. The traditional structures of shelter are shaking, their foundations revealed to be no longer stone but sand. We are suddenly thrown back on ourselves. Politics, religion and economics and the institutions of family and community, all have become abruptly unsure. At first, it sounds completely naive to suggest that now might be the time to invoke and awaken beauty. Yet this is exactly the claim that this book explores. Why? Because there is nowhere else to turn and we are desperate; furthermore, it is because we have so disastrously neglected the Beautiful that we now find ourselves in such terrible crisis."
A little beauty, goodness and truth died when John O'Donohue died. But his writings remain (see below a few of his books) and anchor me still. O'Donohue sees the beauty in everything - in the flaw, even in death. His words are like a healing ointment applied to the existential wounds we all carry. I have only shared introductory remarks in his book. You will have to check it out yourself to enjoy the waft and weave of his celtic imagination. I encourage you to meet, know and love John O'Donohue, if you do not already.
As an aside, I have been working to "beautify" this blog and the makeover is almost complete in work behind the scenes with a deft blog designer. We should upload it this week. I apologize in advance for any disruptions that might arise as I switch it to it's new format - my hope is that it will be a smooth transition. So keep an eye out - and don't click off if you see a whole new look - it's still me - just an up-dated, easier to view and understand (I hope) version.