Sacramental Aesthetics

This class on Sacramental Aesthetics is the first in a series of five on the “Theology of Beauty and the Sacred Liturgy” online class at the Liturgical Institute. Please take an hour to view this video, then another hour to view it again… If you are ministering in the liturgy, this is a must-see.


“Sacramental Aesthetics is the perception of spiritual realities.”

“Beauty is the revelation of the fullness of Truth.”

“We call a thing beautiful when it reveals its ontological truth” . Note: If you are familiar with Thomas Aquinas’ definition of beauty as the intersection of Consonancia, Integritas and Claritas, notice the parallels: Beauty is the revelation (Consonancia) of the fullness (Integritas) of an ontological truth (Claritas).

Dr McNamara gives a simple definition of “ontological truth”: to add “-ness” to a word. For example, the “giraffeness” of a giraffe. ”

“Ontological reality resides in the mind of God. ”

“Imagination is the faculty of representing to oneself sensible objects independently of an actual sense impression.”

“At Mass, the priest makes Christ present. ”

“God is unknowable, but in the incarnation made himself present. Every sensible act in the liturgy must aim to make present the invisible reality of God. ”

“Foundations of the Catholic liturgy:

  • The Incarnation:          matter can reveal God.
  • The Transfiguration:  matter can reveal the glory of God.


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