We will discuss the wide range of topics that you are used to reading about on the blog. All relate to faith, culture and beauty - which is anything from prayer and economics to art, architecture, music and gardening!
"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?
We need art that is clearly derived from the liturgical forms but is distinct from it and directs us to purest form, so to speak, by being part of the wider culture of faith. This is the beginning of the process by which the liturgy, which is a source of its own culture, begins to push out into the wider culture and transform it into a Christian culture.
Stories serve us on many levels. They invite us to consider situations by drawing us in, making us part of the story, making us feel like we are experiencing the struggles and challenges of the protagonist first hand. They may teach us small lessons about life or they may invite us to consider ourselves as part of the bigger picture of the story of our salvation.
In the Western/Christian tradition meditation and contemplation are two different things and often misunderstood. As a result of the The Beatles and the Maharishi Yogi, the words are often used interchangeably to apply to meditative practice of Eastern religions, which is different and less effective, in my experience, than the methods of Christian mysticism.
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 can distinguish two movements in prayer: one is passive (or receptive) by which we listen to what God is saying to us. The other is active, albeit responding to the prompts of the Holy Spirit, by which we might, for example, give praise or thanks to God or ask something of him. A well-painted piece of sacred art will include stylistic elements (ie going beyond content) that engage the viewer in such a way that it promotes both attitudes of prayer, active and passive,