We Catholics witness today a sad turning point in out church history. We are looking at a demographic cliff of dying churches, and a youth which overwhelmingly not staying home in the church. The ability I had to swing into a local church for a Rosary, in a town not my own, in the presence of the Lord in Adoration may not be available to my children. I saw today a glimpse of hope I the church I visited today…one sixty plus parishioner, one 50 something, a 19-20 year old young man, and me Mr. Middle Aged man all sat together in the chapel. This was an encouraging mix to be part of for a Rosary.
On this trip I did find hope, as I met men living lives full of charitable work (done in God’s name not theirs) all searching for better understanding of God’s law. It reminded me, even though in the course of human events matters may appear bleak…if we pray for and believe in the supernatural power of God we may yet be surprised in how the world can turn to hear his word again. I know this does not avail me of my duties to evangelize, but it gives me faith to redouble my devotion and duty to live the word I deed.
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.
Things going a little crazy right now? Election got you in a funk? Well how about a dose of happiness? This is John Paul’s version of a pick you up smile!
Catching babies and children is a hard task, but a little flash and quick thinking help. In this case John Paul was happy since he was on a swing, and making it go very very fast. The flash caught the action in freeze frame where it counted most: the eyes. The flash also put a sparkle in the eyes which gives you a sense of life in a frozen frame. His natural smile completes the moment without the typical childhood squint and cheese.
This is what great family portraits are all about…making art where the going is rough!
First sunrise shot in about ten years!
Back in June I was able to get up to the mountains of North Georgia. It was hot, but a good time to explore a little of more of the state. One opportunity I received was the gift of an early rising to meet the sun. Watching the earth go from black through its purples, reds, orange and full daylight was a simple pleasure. What a gift from God!!