make no mistake, the gift of artistic ability, this sharing of the divine spark of creativity, places those so gifted in a unique position to protect, and encourage and empower the people of God.
Artists need the Church to remind them who they are and why they are here. They need the refuge of the Barq of Peter to shield them from the work of the Adversary that preys upon their ego and the wants and desires that are common to all people regardless of their vocation. Artists need the Church as much as the Church needs artists because it is in the Church that the Artists finds True Beauty and the meaning of their lives.
"The composition of religious imagery is not left to the initiative of the artist, but is formed upon principles laid down by the Catholic Church and by religious tradition... The execution alone belongs to the painter, the selection and arrangement of subject belongs to the Fathers."
The above quote is often cited as an "instruction" from the Second Council of Nicaea, but this passage is not found in the dogmatic canons issued by the Council. Where does it come from and what does it mean to the contemporary Christian artist?
God is patient with us. He gives us time. He gives us time to explore our gifts and perhaps even misuse them. But always God is there calling us to discover the proper use of those gifts, to put the past behind us and move forward in our proper work. Whatever your situation is now, whatever mistakes you have made in the past, they are in the past, resolve to put them behind you and go forward, finding the role God has put you here to fulfill.
We tend to think of a prophet as one who predicts the future, but that is not at all the ancient understanding of the word. The word "prophet" means speaker, or one who speaks. In Christian use, a prophet is one who has a special connection to God and speaks on God's behalf.
By virtue of our Baptism we are invested in the threefold office of Christ, priest, prophet, and king. The degree to which we fulfill each of these offices will depend on our individual gifts and calling. We are all called to be prophets, as well as priests and kings, to the degree our gifts allow us.