O God of Loveliness

Hank Mattimore
June 19 2011
Reproduced with Permission

Seasoned Catholics may remember a hymn that was once quite popular in Church a number of years ago. It was called "O God of Loveliness." and was often sung at Benediction along with the Latin hymns, "O Salutaris Hostia" and "Tantum Ergo."

Remember? Anyway, "O God of Loveliness" popped into my head the other day and it struck me that "Loveliness" is a word we don't often use anymore. That's a loss to our language because the word expresses in a gentle, understated way an aspect of our world, our nature and our very lives that screams for attention.

Lovelines is all about peace and tranquility. It bring to mind children playing on the grass in summertime, soft rain falling on a Japanese garden or snuggling under the blankets on a cold winter morning.

The hymn reminds me that we do inhabit a lovely world after all and it is nourishing to the soul to pay attention to the beauty that surrounds us. I noted with satisfaction the other day that Louis Armstrong's classic song; "It's a Wonderful World" is still ranked among the top songs of the century. No wonder. How can the human heart not respond to "the skies of blue and red roses, too"of Louis's song? We yearn for the wonderful world that is out there inviting us enjoy it.

It's pathetic isn't it how so often we can manage to overlook the loveliness of our world and focus instead on the clothes we wear or the impression we make on others or the "toys" we accumulate instead of opening our senses to the sound of waves or the softness of a baby's skin or the embrace of a friend or lover.

Flawed human beings that we are, we find ourselves running from God and the beauty of God's creation and wasting our precious minds talking about the sexual indiscretions of a congressman or paying attention to a news story about a star athlete being ejected from a commercial airline for wearing drooping pants. Come on! We can do better.

Buddhists are right on target when they teach the importance of mindfulness in our lives. It's the things we choose to be mindful of, the big picture, not the shallow nonsense we are fed through the mass media that gives meaning and perspective to our lives. We become what we think. Like the computers we invented, our minds reflect back "garbage in; garbage out."

Don't you think it's time we refocus our minds and hearts on the God of Loveliness, the beauty that resides within us and the world outside us, time to be more discerning about the raw material we put into our brains. We might rediscover that real loveliness is all around us.