The Role of Beauty in the Formation of Men as Men

Once upon a time in the Western world, exposure to “the beautiful” was an important element in the development and formation of men. The ideal man was also an educated man, and an educated man knew something about, and appreciated, good art, good music, good literature, and good taste (and perhaps also good wine). The Romantics of the nineteenth century added to this resume a man who had the capacity to be intoxicated by the beauty of nature. Many of the great works of art and music of that time period reflect this. Then there was the “gentleman” who valued beauty in speech and in writing, even if his language sometimes descended into a dry, mechanic artificiality.

By contrast, today’s tech-savvy, fast-food fed, materialistic West places more emphasis on money, things, efficiency, and instant gratification, and as a result the importance formerly placed on that seemingly impractical entity referred to by dusty old philosophers, intellectuals, and artists as “the beautiful” has greatly diminished. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen captured this modern mentality well when he said that “Saints are impractical; artists and philosophers are impractical. The world has room for only the practical.” Who today, in the hustle and bustle of modern life, has the need for a quiet walk through woods in the early morning just as the sun begins to pierce through the fog and nature’s symphony is at its peak? Complicating matters even more is the irony that the modern man, in his attempt to “protect” his “manliness,” shies away from any lengthy talk about “the beautiful” in a floppy attempt to protect his masculine toughness—while in reality demonstrating just how shaky that masculinity really is.

Despite this, it is as true today as ever that encountering and contemplating beauty should be an integral part of the formation of men, and especially of Catholic men. This is because, first of all, beauty helps to direct the male drive to aggression and fighting to a worthy end. It is often the case in the animal kingdom that the male is more aggressive, more inclined to fight, and heavier built than the female. These characteristics are also generally found in our own species. Because of this, in both the animal and human domains it is usually the male who takes up the role of primary guardian and protector. As an example of the human male’s stronger inclination to aggression and fighting, we can refer to the fact that men have traditionally dominated highly aggressive sports, even in societies influenced by modern feminism. A survey of the athletic departments of American colleges and universities will show that almost every sport has both a male team and a female team … with the notable exception of football.

This stronger inclination to fighting is not, in itself, automatically directed to either good or evil. It has the potential to go either way. It can be directed to good, as in the case of fighting to defend one’s country against unjust aggression, or to evil, as in the cases of murder, rape, and other acts of unjust violence.

Beauty here enters the picture by helping to direct this male inclination to aggression and fighting to a worthy end. This is because real beauty is always found wherever there is truth and goodness, and it strengthens the attraction these other two values exert on the human person. It moves a man to defend whatever is good and true. The beautiful maiden is a potent spell which carries the knight into the field of battle. It can be said that there is no one the enemy should fear more than a man who enters into battle with his lady in his heart. Beauty makes men fighters because it first makes them lovers.

Beauty also teaches men to appreciate the being of things rather than merely their utility. The strong male tendency to deal with problems in a more or less logical, strategic, categorical manner can cause being to recede into the shadow in favor of an almost exclusive focus on that being’s usefulness and practical purpose. Beauty counters this tendency and reveals something as worthwhile simply because it exists and because it is what it is. A man who has been pierced by the beauty of his bride will die for her not because his death will be of any practical use to himself, but because through her beauty (not just physical but also personal and spiritual) he has seen through a window to her intrinsic value and to the fact that she is worth dying for simply because she exists and is who she is.

On a lighter note, another result of this tendency of beauty to put being into relief is the aversion many people feel to touching something beautiful. Unnecessarily messing with a well-decorated Christmas tree seems to do violence to its “immaculate perfection.” Walking out into the newly-fallen first snow of winter is done with regret, since it destroys the picturesque scenery of that “winter wonderland” which greeted the early riser. In all of this beauty turns our attention from something’s utility and practical use to the wonder of the thing itself.

A third reason for beauty’s importance in male formation is that it reveals and brings to life another level of existence beyond mere survival—this being the spiritual domain. Man is not a mere brute. Animals eat, drink, and sleep to live, and pretty much live to eat, drink, and sleep. The caveman of old, on the other hand, though having much of his time consumed with procuring the necessities of life, still found time to produce works of art, such as the stunning cave paintings found in Lascaux, France. It is partly because of this drive for a more fully human life that has led to the emergence of civilizations, economies, and the division of labor. The human person is simply not satisfied with a circular existence of seeking out and procuring the necessities of life in order to merely go on seeking out and procuring the necessities of life.

This being the case, men, as the traditional providers of the family, can easily get caught up in a careerist mindset and become over-immersed in the temporal necessities of life. In addition, modern education has shifted from an emphasis on the liberal arts (a traditional venue for introducing people to the beautiful) to an often exclusive focus on career-oriented education. We are rapidly becoming a society of animals, where serving our needs and our wants is the over-arching narrative of our existence.

It is the role of beauty to shake men out of this mundane existence (or, to borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis when he was referring to joy, to “administer the shock”) by making them confront a reality above and far more wonderful than a life of simply existing. Ultimately, beauty is a pointer directing us to the reality of the Beatific Vision. This vision will ultimately be an experience of simply taking in the beauty and wonder of the Triune God. In an analogous sense, it is an experience like a couple who from time to time simply want to sit and gaze at each other, taking in the being of the other. Such an experience does not really have a practical or survival purpose. Still, it is experiences like this that are arguably the most fully human, and which remind us that we, as human beings, do not live by bread alone.

The practical question now arises as to how to integrate this exposure to beauty into the formation of men. This task falls partly on the men themselves, and also on those charged with the formation of boys and men (whether this formation be educational, spiritual, liturgical, or cultural). For those involved in education, this means giving the liberal arts a certain pride of place, even while also ensuring that students receive a practical, career-oriented education at the same time. Cultural formation, while acknowledging the importance of popular culture, will also entail exposure to the greatest works of the human spirt. Boys and men should also be encouraged to leave the computer, IPad, and video games behind and go out and experience the greater thrill of nature and the outdoor life. Finally, Catholic men who are preparing to be ordained to the priesthood will see it as their mission to celebrate mass in such a way as to give their congregation a glimpse of the transcendent beauty of God.

Exposure to beauty is a necessary component of the formation of men as men. As the boys and men of today are setting the stage for a disturbing future course of manhood through the proliferation violent video games and movies, pornography, consumerism, and materialism, the time has come to “administer the shock” of beauty by revealing to the world the radiance of truth and goodness. There is an element of truth to Dostoevsky’s famous line that “Beauty will save the world.”

Editor’s note: The illustration above painted by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale appeared in The Book of Old English Songs & Ballads (ca. 1920).

Jared M. Silvey


Jared M. Silvey received his BA in philosophy in 2012 and his MA in theology in 2014 from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT.

  • Martha

    Beautiful! 😀

  • Holy smokes

    Very encouraging! I learned this lesson while on the Camino to Santiago. On the Camino you are “shocked” or rather, pleasantly surprised, by beauty everyday. Now, I´m trying to incorporate that outlook of beauty into day to day life. Thank you for the inspiring article.

    • Catholic pilgrim (Advent)

      Buen Camino, Peregrino! I’m glad you got to experience the pilgrimage to Santiago. Did you go on a group or were you by yourself? Any tips for future Santiago pilgrims? Thanks.

      • Holy smokes

        Greatest retreat of my life. Most importantly, I received signal graces that are transforming my life. I made the Camino alone but I was never lonely. There are many pilgrims along The Way that become a kind of Camino family. The most important tip I can give is to make the Camino with courage and pack light (don’t pack your fears). Talk to the Lord why you walk. You will never get so much consecutive uninterrupted time with Him (as you walk and stop in the multitude of chapels and churches along the journey). I made the Camino Portuguese from Lisbon to Santiago (400 miles/28 days) in September of this year. As testified by the me and the multitude of pilgrims before, the Holy journey is a taste of Heaven on Earth. Pax et Bonum, William

  • Jdonnell

    Good intention in directing “fight” toward beauty and ultimately toward beatific vision, but the essay consists mainly of assertions without much support and sometimes those assertions about fighting are downright dangerous. College sports that glorify violence–the most popular of college sports–have been shown far too often to be associated with more violence off the field and long-term harm to the participants. Too much of this is storybook stuff, accidentally intimated in the opening “once upon a time” sentence. Such lines as, ” It can be said that there is no one the enemy should fear more than a man who enters into battle with his lady in his heart. Beauty makes men fighters because it first makes them lovers,” are simply banal, as well as foolish. Fight more often than not takes the beauty from life instead of adding to it. This attempt to make fighting positive echoes the longing to domesticate the propensity toward violence in phrases like Alex. Pope’s “sylvan war”–his implied hope that hunting might replace actual war. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    • Desmond

      What exactly are you protesting? The author never indicated his belief that football forms men well, the football reference is done to show that there are real differences between men and women. One of them is the principal topic of this essay: the aggressiveness of males. The author is talking about how best to channel that aggression. His discussion of soldiers articulates the traditional ideal that men will fight (and fighting men will always be necessary until He comes for the last time) better when they love what they are fighting to protect. There is much practical wisdom in promoting an education oriented toward the beautiful; which includes first and foremost a turn toward the beauty that surpasses all others. Your comment misses the point of the article.

      • Jdonnell

        I found the disc. of “fight” too accepting of it. I realize that channeling it is good, though it may be more illusory when done in sport, as I pointed out, using the football example.
        The article’s claims are too pie-in-the-sky much of the time. Like you he is too accepting of war. Since the US has just been so recently involved in illegal and immoral war, it is especially dangerous simply to accept war as a reality and not challenge it as often–even mostly –as immoral. Christians should refuse to participate in such wars.

        • St JD George

          Wouldn’t it be beautiful indeed if Satan did not roam in the world with a mission to destroy Christ’s church. Hopefully we aren’t preparing ourselves to be fattened lambs for slaughter when the wolf arrives at the door. In heaven and this ADVENT season at least we have hope, for peace on earth and good will towards men.

          • Jdonnell

            Wouldn’t it be beautiful if those professing Christianity would act in the spirit of the beatitudes, support social justice, and refuse to fight in wars that aggrandize power? Fear turns pseudo-Christians from lambs to pigs.

            • How about we refuse to pay taxes that support the pigs?

              • Jdonnell

                Not a bad idea. Some war protesters already do that. (Cheating on taxes is a whole different ball game.)

                • The IRS doesn’t care whether you have a gripe or not.

            • St JD George

              Maybe I’m wrong, but since I don’t know you when I read your reply the vision of Michael Dukakis enters. You’ve stated your opinions about the follies of our recent crusades, and enamor for the vacuum created by our rapid departure, but I’m curious what would you consider a noble endeavor? Is IS (or more broadly, fundamentalist jihadists who believe in the written word to slaughter and conquer infidels) an existential threat to world peace or do you only view it is the result of US aggrandizing? Maybe you read different journals, but my recollection was that we tried to establish stability and self governance (arguably an impossible task), and we went out of our way at great expense to leave a legacy of not enriching ourselves exploiting contracts over resources as pay back for our invested blood and treasure. Truthfully, I don’t think we could ever succeed in that mission in that part of the world because of their tribal culture, violence and mistrust. Democracy is not created unless the people are willing to fight for it. However, the seed of democracy has a hard time germinating when the boot of a dictator is on it’s throat. Are you really that fearless as you profess J? I wasn’t going to reply but you got my blood boiling again, darn. I still wish you a Merry Christmas.

              • Jdonnell

                Yes, I agree, maybe you are wrong. As an American, I am especially concerned that our country avoid the sins of inflicting violence and injustice on other countries in the name of democracy. The old business of the beam in one’s eye being ignored while calling attention to the sliver in another’s eye is also a basis for my words. In his new book, Kissinger (brilliant in some ways, perhaps demonic in others) makes the implicit (and sensible) criticism of Obama of US foreign policy that equates pacification with democratization. Both Bush Jr. and Obama seem to share such a view, even though Bush, and not Obama started wars to pacify. (Obama isn’t however responsible for the mayhem there; it is a failed state–the result of W’s war (and his “surge” was not the victory claimed, nor did he leave the place in decent shape, not did Obama pull troops out any sooner that W. planned to do).
                Of course, IS can’t be allowed to have its way and must be dealt with–more difficult since the US fueled their growth and supplied most of their weapons (W again).
                Boiling blood stifles thought. What the US needs to do is to make nice with Russia. Putin after all asked to join NATO and was given the cold shoulder. From there, a united front in supporting or tolerating Assad (the best thing that Syria can use at present) to deal with IS (without panic and without exaggerating it strengths).

                • St JD George

                  Well, I guess I’ll go look for some tweezers. Meanwhile, the wheel is spinning and fast … I guess we’ll have to see where the ball lands. I don’t know if there’s 38 possible outcomes (actually, probably at least), but a bet on red or black would be a fair choice. I’ve never played so I don’t really know.

                • Siwash

                  I think your solution for Russia is dangerous simplification. I agree that the middle east wars are useless and were foisted upon the public (in my case, I felt uneasy about the start of these, but was reassured by Colin Powell’s support. . . which he said in the end had been gained through falsehoods).

                  Power can be put to good uses.

                  And I think we can agree that torture is NEVER American, nor should it be condoned by America. If this happens, we become bad guys and purposefully corrupt!

            • Siwash

              This is cryptic. Of course Christians are acting with enormous self-restraint in the interest of helping their fellow men. I’m unclear about what exactly you’re getting at.

            • ForChristAlone

              How do you reconcile the fact that your boy promoted wars across the globe then?

        • Since the US has just been so recently involved in illegal and immoral war, it is especially dangerous simply to accept war as a reality and not challenge it as often–even mostly –as immoral. Christians should refuse to participate in such wars.
          Who are you to judge?

          • Jdonnell

            You don’t see anybody being judged in my comment, which raises the issue of participating in wars. I do judge you, however, to be deficient in understanding much of anything, based on your comments on this site.

            • “Illegal” and “immoral” are judgments. Don’t worry, I hold you in the highest contempt too.

              • Catholic pilgrim (Advent)

                Wow, DE. You have a tendency of falling into bitterness & snarky comments when you lose arguments. Bitterness is a sign of defeat, you know. The pre-emptive Iraq War was both Immoral & illegal, PERIOD. Did Saddam Hussein invade us in 9/11, or Osama? Why the hell did we send our soldiers to lose their lives in the Iraq mess? What were the results from our Iraq War? Have you looked at how things are in Iraq today (ISIS/Islamic State & an unstable, incompetent Baghdad government)? The USA has a long history of illegal & immoral proxy wars. Catholicism stands against War & war-hawks like you DE.

                • I’m really gratified by the interest you show in me. You probably should broaden your interests, but if you want, we can always meet in person.

                  Of course your rant still didn’t refute what I wrote: “”Illegal” and “immoral” are judgments.”

                  And yet another name. Here’s one for you. Sybil.

                  • Catholic pilgrim (Advent)

                    On your first point: Sure, whatever.
                    Second: Alright, so what? Are we not allowed to judge situations & actions anymore?

                    • Try to pay attention and take your meds.

                    • Catholic pilgrim (Advent)

                      Sure. Remember, bitterness/snarky comments are certain signs of defeat. If you can’t make arguments, throw insults- always very nice of you, DE.

                    • Do you read your own posts?

                    • Catholic pilgrim

                      To do a quick proof-read and spell check. Why is that relevant? Goodnight, DE. I got a busy day tomorrow. Computer: Off

                    • Finally.

                    • Jdonnell

                      From your perspective, frothing at the mouth about Hitler or Stalin and judging their mass killing and genocide to be immoral is just being judgmental. Wake up.

                    • Last I checked, there were trials at Nuremberg. They were adjudicated.

                    • Jdonnell

                      Yes, they were matters of moral and legal judgments. Your earlier comments would make that an act out of keeping with scripture.

                    • You really need to try to pay attention.

                    • Catholic pilgrim (Advent)

                      I got an email notification that you replied. But you didn’t. You simply spent time editing & resubmitting your posts. DE, talk about being a tad obsessed & bitter. DE, thank you for your rent-free interest in me.

                    • Jdonnell

                      DE’s logo is a self-portrait: churning brainlessly through unknown seas.

                    • Catholic pilgrim (Advent)

                      lol Indeed!

                    • ForChristAlone

                      Who sends you here?

                    • I suspected you set up a notification and tested my theory. Thanks so much for admitting it publicly.

                    • “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

                    • Is that a response?

                    • ForChristAlone

                      Who sends you people here?

                    • ForChristAlone

                      No. Just do what George Soros tells you

              • Jdonnell

                They sure are, but not of the sort scripture cautions against. Would you ban the judicial system? The top members of W’s administration ought to be indicted. They know that they might be in some countries and so avoid setting foot in them.

                • “They sure are, but not of the sort scripture cautions against. ”

                  Yeah they are. Illegal has a meaning.

                  It doesn’t mean whatever gets a frothing-at-the-mouth leftwing eagerly regurgitating TPM bullets panties in a wad, so in addition to judging others, you bear false witness.

    • Identitycrises

      I happened to like that phrase. War definitely takes beauty from life, but the phrase brings to mind a knight riding into battle to defend that which is beautiful. Like St. Ferdinand III who had his mother, wife, and our Lady in his heart. That is why he fought, that is why he was such a man. He was a fighter, but he was first a lover.

  • Will B

    My Sacred Art Series is an excellent new way to help form men in the way of beauty. Visit Please spread the word.

    • Catholic pilgrim (Advent)

      Beautiful, indeed, Will. I love it! Thank you for the link.

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    This, by Robert Tristram Coffin, the great Maine poet of the thirties, captures the essence of masculine strength, reserve and beauty (and even echoes Sacred Heart theology).


    Across the years he could recall
    His father one way best of all.

    In the stillest hour of night
    The boy awakened to a light.

    Half in dreams, he saw his sire
    With his great hands full of fire.

    The man had struck a match to see
    If his son slept peacefully.

    He held his palms each side the spark
    His love had kindled in the dark.

    His two hands were curved apart
    In the semblance of a heart.

    He wore, it seemed to his small son,
    A bare heart on his hidden one,

    A heart that gave out such a glow
    No son awake could bear to know.

    It showed a look upon a face
    Too tender for the day to trace.

    One instant, it lit all about,
    And then the secret heart went out.

    But it shone long enough for one
    To know that hands held up the sun.

  • While reading this article, a question occurred to me that seems always to have bothered me — but that I’d never stopped to consciously ponder before. Does not America — in particular, among all the nations — fail in the placing of high value on beauty? And to the extent that we may have tainted the world, would not that be the essence of the taint?

    • Chris Rawlings

      You might be onto something. Perhaps it is our Puritan, dualistic roots. Sensuality was rejected as base and vain by the Puritans, while Catholics are a more incarnational people who readily see grace in material things, indeed, think of our seven Sacraments. The point of ascetic beauty is that it points us to a supremely beautiful Creator. There is an obvious risk there of neo-pagan nature-worship, which Puritanism tried to avoid by downplaying beauty.

      • Yes, it’s a return of iconoclasm. But notice an irony here — in that it’s the Puritans who seem to have opened the way morally to a more unembarrassed pursuit of MATERIAL GAIN. Which certainly plays a great role in our being such a beacon to the nations. Kind of like choosing which side of the materialism coin you wish to emphasize.

        • Terry Mushroom


          ” Which certainly plays a great role in our being such a beacon to the nations.”

          If you can, I’d be interested if you developed that statement.

          I have no wish to be antagonistic. I’m genuinely curious as to how the US thinks the rest of the world sees it. I write from the UK.

          • I wish I could develop the statement in some profoundly insightful way for discussion, but I’m afraid it rests on the simplest and homeliest of facts: Exceptions abound of course. But I believe all the data would show that mostly by far, immigrants have always seen “a better life” in America to mean more and better food to eat, more and better shelter, more material wealth, a higher material status. That’s what the “pursuit of happiness” really means to the majority who come here. Let me add that I myself, along with the Gospel, would judge all this to be 95% illusion — but as illusions go, maybe not so bad a background against which to play out one’s search for real happiness.

    • craig

      America still has vestiges of a frontier mentality. We have a well-developed appreciation for the wild beauty of Nature, but tend to view man-made attempts at creating beauty for its own sake as fripperies — we enjoy them, but if given a choice prefer to spend our energies on function over aesthetics.

      • Well, at least appreciating nature is part of what I do mean by “placing a high value on beauty.”

  • Daniel P

    The only place a man is free to wholeheartedly appreciate beauty in this culture — aloud — is when looking at the body of a naked (or nearly naked) woman. All other appreciation of beauty runs the risk of seeming effeminate.

    It’s like we’re actors in a script written by the devil, and we read our lines perfectly.

    • Chris Rawlings

      And even that isn’t really about beauty, anyway. Sexual self-satisfaction from naked women is actually profoundly un-beautiful, because it robs the human person of the very thing that fosters beauty: dignity.

  • Major914

    Truth, Goodness, and Beauty–never can go out of style…

    He questioned softly why I failed?
    “For beauty,” I replied.
    “And I for truth, the two are one;
    We brethren are,” he said.

    • pbecke

      I believe Love, Beauty and Truth form a kind of ‘triumvirate/continuum’! The first two must make heaven, itself, the ‘third musketeer’, Truth, fabulous beyond our imagination. Apparently that’s true even of heaven’s ante-room, the most blessed part of purgatory, quite paradisial, as attested to by many people who have had ‘near-death experiences’.

  • Siwash

    The liberal arts are overrated and useless, and are a relic of by-gone days. I would never let my son study the liberal arts.

    The idea in the column, that manhood is about more than watching spectator sports, makes sense. These are amusements.

    • R. K. Ich

      The Liberal Arts are useless! That’s what makes them perfect for education. But who’s overrating them, really? Look around, society is clearly awash with an absence of true learning, a learning sacrificed at the altar of utility. You are right about relics, sir. The Liberal Arts are from a by-gone day that you or your son seemingly will never have the pleasure nor blessing of knowing firsthand.

      • Ruth Rocker

        I didn’t start my college education until I was 40 and my children were nearly grown and out of the house. I started learning computer programming but after getting an Associate’s degree in it discovered that to transfer to the University meant I would have to take 4 years of differential calculus!! I can do math, but it’s not my strong suit and I saw no reason to beat my head against that wall. I changed my major at the University of Oklahoma to Letters. This is the ultimate liberal arts degree – it’s what used to be called a classical education. Language, literature, history and philosophy make it up. I graduated with distinction with a Bachelor of Arts & Letters degree and a minor in Classical Culture. I can honestly say it was the most enjoyable time of my life and I’d do it again in a minute. Did it prepare me for the workplace? Not directly as I did not acquire a “marketable” skill in that study, but it gave me a much broader perspective on the world. Especially the study of history. George Santayana told us in the early 1900’s that “‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” and we are seeing it graphically today.

        • That injunction is used as a blueprint by people who want to ERASE any memory of the past.

          Most of what is called “liberal arts” today are counterfeits, designed not to provide people with perspective, but to indoctrinate them.

          • musicacre

            Except for the newer excellent Liberal arts programs that have popped up to answer the need for real programs, such as: Thomas Aquinas College, Wyoming College, Christendom College, Our Laldy Seat of Wisdom, etc. etc.

    • craig

      Encourage your son to study the liberal arts himself, reading from the sources directly. Don’t read about Homer and Shakespeare, read Homer and Shakespeare. That will pay lifelong dividends in pleasure, appreciation, and thoughtfulness.

      But what passes for ‘liberal arts’ courses in universities anymore is derivative Marxist agitprop crafted to indoctrinate against Christianity and Western civilization. You are right to steer away from that.

    • Kilo4/11

      Hardly useless: even a lowly B.A. is good enough to get you a job in a library or office, where at least you’ll have a steady paycheck, nothing to sneeze at in this economy. For many men, this will be a better option than trying for the brass ring in finance and business.

  • M

    Beauty is GOOD for all of us:

    I wish our schools focused more on art, music, and dance.

  • John Horvat II

    This vision of beauty and all the transcendentals is found inside man himself.
    It corresponds to the most fundamental desires of the human heart. It comes
    from our constant search for all that is good, true, and beautiful. This
    impulse is something that occurs naturally in us and sets in motion powerful
    movements inside our souls that call us to sacrifice.

    Aristotle speaks of what he calls to kalon, that is, our passionate concern for all that is elevated, dignified, and noble. It was something he recognized as universally present in
    the spiritual core of each human being. These highest aspirations of rational
    and free beings make us capable of dedication, devotion, and sacrifice for
    just and higher causes.

  • slainte

    Something beautiful to reflect upon.

    • musicacre

      This is great; used it for New Year’s!

  • M. J .

    Good article , with one modification ;as shown in that picture above , beauty is also what a parent takes in, in the beauty of the little ones that The Lord has blessed them with

    – ‘ My Lord , You are Good !’ ;

    and in our times , men might esp .need to direct that gaze towards The Father ..His image , such as is shown ( even in very imperfect manner , as St.Faustina herself says )

    in that Vilnius Image ; – by getting a good size canvas image , in the prayer area or even near the computer, often raise eyes to Him , contemplating His life ..the compassion in the eyes …the moment of the Incarnation , being caught up, oneself , in that love ..and seeing others too , in same ..and so on , for many , many moments ..taking in The Father love, for our Mother, The Bride ..
    and thus washed free from the filth that might have darkened the senses , all else that is true and beautiful becomes more vibrant too !

  • Tony

    An important article, thank you!

    We will either have good men or bad men, but one way or another we will have men and not only women. Good men create and defend things of beauty; bad men destroy them, or create things that are positively hideous.

  • musicacre

    Thanks for this timely article that helps articulate what a lot of people know is wrong but couldn’t put into words. Even as homescholing parents we may not have thought all this through specifically, yet always tried to nudge the kids toward beautiful experiences, including the Mass which is at its most beautiful in the Extraordinary form. In our case we always had beautiful music around. Now the older son has a music degree (strings) even though he is going into business and is almost finished his accounting designation (and working in the field already..) Younger son went on hike today on the “wet coast” where we didn’t stop him and his friend from climbing a mountain even though it’s pouring buckets!! I think they both know and appreciate something about beauty and they are both strong and charming young men. We could not have done it without beauty in their lives.

  • JuneV26

    I think we need to look at the heart of the matter here; It all comes down to setting our priorities straight, making time to enjoy what God has given us. The electronic age, while it has its advantages, can be abused, as we have seen. So it’s up to us to personally take that time to spend some quietness in beauty to acknowledge the subtleness

  • egalitrix

    “It is often the case in the animal kingdom that the male is more
    aggressive, more inclined to fight, and heavier built than the female.” Why does everyone try to back up human masculinity with this statement? This is generally more true when it comes to mammals, but there is the rest of the entire animal kingdom.

    • I was hoping someone would bring this point to bear. If one is going to assert that the role of guardian is natural to the human male, the only place one should look at is man’s nature, not Nature in the abstract.

  • Anna

    This article is so true it almost makes me cry. Brilliant link between education and appreciation for beauty. I feel sorry for many men … and have long thought they are underdeveloped because their own spirits can no longer recognize beauty. In mass the other day, only a quarter of the congregation stuck around to listen to a choir sing a most beautiful song. Those of us who did stay, burst into spontaneous applause. But I couldn’t help but think of those who left …

  • Kilo4/11

    I am late to the convo, but I’ll add that I hope that by teaching my sons something about beauty I can improve their appreciation of Truth, which is, as the poet said, so closely related as to be nearly identical.

  • Caroline :)

    Jared, this is a great article! We would greatly benefit it you would follow up with an article on practical ways to do this with boys. Thanks for writing this.

  • GrahamUSA

    For some time I have felt that our elites, upper classes, ruling classes betray us in their failure to promote beauty in music, art, literature, and especially in religion. When the Detroit Institute of the Arts invites Patty Smith as some sort of performance artist, then perhaps it is time to sell off the collection and put them in the hands of people who truly appreciate them. My roots are deep in the working class and working poor of this country and yet I seem to value beauty more than the products Princeton, Yale, Harvard etc. This was never more true than during my decade in New York book publishing. It is not an accident that the products of Apple were stylish and tasteful in part because its founder was from the working class (he left college in part because it was a financial burden to the mother and father who adopted him). Perhaps you can only appreciate beauty if you grow up without it in abundance. I am a Catholic now and attend a TLM parish in the heart of Detroit’s devastation but I thank God that my father converted to Anglicanism in the 1950s and left me with a legacy of liturgical beauty.