„True beauty is numinous. When a person has beauty, their presence is full of radiance. In German, they say such a person has a ‘grosse Ausstrahlung’, literally, ‘a flowing forth of radiance’. The individual is no longer confined within the frame of her own identity. There is a light in beauty which no frontier can limit or contain; it has a distinctive dignity. Like consciousness, beauty shines with a light from beyond itself. In medieval thought, Albert Magnus spoke of beauty as the brilliance of an object’s form shining forth in its sensible presence.
Beauty is not to be captured or controlled for there is something intrinsically elusive in its nature. More like a visitation than a solid fact, beauty invests the aura of a person or infuses a landscape with an unexpected intimacy that satisfies our longing. True beauty cannot be invented or manufactured.
We ‘cannot bear very much reality’. Neither, it seems, can we bear very much beauty. The glimpse, the touch of beauty is enough to quicken our hearts with the longing for the divine. Beauty never finally satisfies though she intensifies our longing and refines it. Were the human person simply soul, beauty would be an absolute embrace. We are, however, threshold creatures of deep ambivalence and when beauty touches the matrix of human selfhood, it can only be just that: a touch.”