"The artist and the priest serve a similar function... they are both about the business of seeing the unseen and making it present to us."
Priest, Prophet and King
Priest, Prophet and King, all of the baptized are invested in these three offices. The degree to which they fulfill these offices will depend on their individual gifts, talents, and calling.
But how, specifically does an artist fulfill the role of priest? To answer this we must first briefly examine the role of the priest and the Sacraments of the Church.
The Sacraments of the Church
All who enter Holy Orders, enter first as deacons. They are ordained, that is, "put in order," to serve the faithful. Some deacons remain deacons for life while other deacons are ordained further as priests to celebrate the Sacraments. They do not cease to be deacons but they are "re-ordered" to an additional role, that of ministering the Sacraments of the Church.
The Sacraments are the ways God has established to convey grace upon us. They are configured in such a way as to give us a visible sign of an invisible reality.
Baptism washes away sin. We cannot of course see sin being washed away but we can see water poured over the head of the person being baptized. The pouring water thus becomes a visible sign of an invisible reality. By celebrating the Sacraments, the priest makes visible the invisible.
The role of the artist is to present new revelations of the divine, to show the beauty of the world, lit by the grace of God to a people who have become blind to it. The artist presents transcendent truths in a form that can be seen and comprehended by all. He also shows us the spiritual world in such a way that we can grasp its meaning and impact on our lives, if not its actual appearance.
The Artist as Priest
The artist and the priest serve a similar function in this way, they are both about the business of seeing the unseen and making it present to us.
An artist fulfills the role of priest, when he makes visible the invisible.
this article originally appeared at www.DeaconLawrence.org
Pontifex University is an online university offering a Master’s Degree in Sacred Arts. For more information visit the website at www.pontifex.university
Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith and the spiritual “hero’s journey” that is part of every person’s life. He maintains a blog at www.DeaconLawrence.org