Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 94, 2020

The Good, the True, the Beautiful: Through and of the Ages

Alice M. Ramos
Pages 229-242

What is the Meaning of Beauty’s Leading Us before the Face of God?

For Dietrich von Hildebrand beauty invites us to transcendence and leads us before the face of God, or in conspectu Dei. In order to elucidate what this means attention will be focused first on the objective importance of beauty, which carries with it according to von Hildebrand a message such that it speaks to us. The meaning of beauty as a “word” needs to be grounded in a metaphysics of the Logos which is in fact Light and Beauty, making everything a participant in its light and beauty. If beauty as that which is important in itself or as value speaks to us, then a response is needed on our part, but responses to beauty can vary as von Hildebrand indicates in distinguishing between appropriate and inappropriate responses; why this is so will occupy briefly the second part of this paper. And lastly, the “call” of beauty to us is related to the final perfection of the human person, where true identity is achieved and where we will at last stand before the face of God.