Over the last few years I found myself learning more and more of my faith…yet with each lesson I realized my understanding of faith is barely out of its infancy. I can grasp a concept, but to know the precise details will escape me for many years to come. I am not worried though, it just means each day I can explore a little more. I also take heed of St Thomas Aquinas vision…what we understand and can percieve here can do no justice to what the reality of what the Divine Law really is.
So if we can only see a glimpse of heaven in anything we think or create, I think religious art should reflect that. Eastern Rite Catholic churches have incredible icons which follow this very basic premise. What we see is not to be hyper realistic, but rather a starting point to enter the mystery presented. From this entry point in meditation, you can explore the rest of the story and its application in your life and its journey towards heaven.
Take this photo for example. A hyper realistic photo here would draw no interest. It was washed out, a simple statue in front of a church. There was however much more to its story if you cared to look for it. In the editing I found the amazing light and shadow contrast. I vignetted the photo to draw the eyes into my message, I knew the subject matter was an angel or a messenger of God and it just fit. I removed some color to make it timeless, since angels are timeless creatures. The contrast of the man made wall and green plants made me think of the leading Rosary mystery of that Friday…Mary why do you look here in a tomb for the living?
The scene before me became the pathway to a deeper meditation on something far bigger than I will ever be able to comprehend on earth through the creation of and review of Catholic religious art. One added bonus in all of this was I needed to quiet my mind to the world’s distractions to see this. In the silence, is where God can speak to our souls, and where we need to spend some of our time each day. So I got my silence, my thought and my created art.
This is what making and viewing Catholic religious art should do for you…at least from my little spot on this earth.