Beauty Awakening Belief

How the Medieval Worldview Inspires Faith Today

Jon M. Sweeney

Sep/2009, 160 Pages, PAPERBACK, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9780819223708



What once drove men to construct enormous abbeys and cathedrals, with gargoyles, rounded arches, rose windows, dark recesses, and flying buttresses?

In the modern imagination, these structures are believed to tell a series of stories about the meaning of life, but this anachronism would have astounded their medieval creators. As he explores two of the finest churches of this period – the Abbey of Mont St- Michel on the Normandy coast, and soaring Chartres Cathedral in the fields of the Loire Valley – author Jon Sweeney comes to the conclusion that, without faith, they make no sense at all. But within a life of faith, the universe that includes them is marvelous, beautiful, mysterious, and tapped into something that secularism cannot fathom.

This luminous series of reflections hinges on seven words of Gothic spirituality — space, sanctuary, stone, light, darkness, gargoyles, and flight and shows us that beauty is not just for admiring, but a key to believing, and reveals how the vision of our medieval forebears can refresh and inspire our faith today.

Jon M. Sweeney is an independent scholar and one of religion's most respected writers. His recent books include The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation, published by Image/Random House and optioned by HBO; Inventing Hell, published in June 2014 by Jericho; and When Saint Francis Saved the Church, published by Ave Maria Press. Sweeney is editor in chief and publisher of Paraclete Press. He is married to Rabbi Michal Woll, has three kids. Jon and Phyllis were in active conversation about co-authoring a book at the time of her death.

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