“I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” — Galatians 2:20
June 12, Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C. Readings:
1) 2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13
Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11
2) Galatians 2:16, 19-21
Gospel: Luke 7:36-8:3 or Luke 7:36-50
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
This Wednesday, Bettina will spend two hours volunteering at her community’s free clinic, which offers a range of medical services for the working poor. She’s not a medical volunteer but goes to the clinic every Wednesday to greet and take information from clients and potential clients to determine or confirm their eligibility for services.
She’s aware that her tasks are minimal and that her annual monetary donation to the clinic is far more valuable than her service, but she has continued her weekly stint for years simply because she loves the free clinic for how it makes a significant difference in individuals’ lives — including hers.
She loves seeing the staff and volunteer nurses, doctors, dentists and pharmacists treat the patients with respect and genuine concern. She loves observing the easy, familiar relationship that various clinic personnel have with patients who have depended on them for years. Bettina’s love of the clinic is personal.
Many years ago, she was a patient there. Struggling financially and psychologically while trying to put herself through college, she depended on the free clinic for her regular medication for depression. The clinic literally was her salvation for two years.
Our Scriptures for this weekend speak about God’s saving mercy. The Gospel tells how a person’s gratitude for being saved by Jesus’ mercy produces a deep and lasting love. A woman anointing Jesus’ feet after bathing them with her tears was lifted out of a life bound by sin. Now her love for him was sealed.
Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees that a personal experience of love and mercy begets a greater response of love and mercy than a lesser relationship. Bettina’s love and commitment to the free clinic grew out of her experience of mercy. Once lost in the darkness of depression, she was lifted free to have a productive future. Her gratitude to God and the people at the free clinic who do God’s work of compassion (Read More)
Andrew Thornton-Norris offers readers a his poem, Moments of Vision, along with an explanation of its composition. An Englishman based in the West of England, whose work is admired and published on both sides of the Atlantic, Andrew teaches literature and poetry at Pontifex.University.
Andrew wrote an earlier blog posting called ‘Redeeming Romanticism’ by which he meant raising the purpose, or end of the genre to something higher, what it ought to be. In this poem he gives an example of what he was describing. I find it fascinating how he brings modern ideas of form into what has at its heart a traditional structure.
Moments of Vision
1. The Apophatic (After T.E. Hulme)
O moon hanging there not lighting up
The darkness but just leaving it obscure,
Reflecting light that’s hidden for a time:
You are the blessed sacrament that shines
Upon the darkness of their majesty.
2. Helen’s Face
The female body is the battlefield
In the war that’s taking place between
The Word, the world, the devil and the flesh:
The judgement cast upon it, lust that it
Betrays and crimes that are committed there.
3. The Hymn of the Nuptial Mystery
In intimate relation we are in
Eternal intimate relationship
Within our souls and beating in our hearts
The passion of transcendent being back
Together that we thought we’d left behind.
The Forty Days and Forty Nights is when
God’s Kingdom is the desert where we meet
Him in the hidden fasting and the prayer
That separates us from the world outside
And brings us to the peace of penitence.
5. Dead Souls
All beauty’s holy and eternal and
Destroyed by commodification,
Which brings it back to dust in an
Embittered fall from heaven earthward but
The hope of faith is in the Death of God.
6. The Flower Bed
When I went back to the place where I
Had slept and saw the mess of lying there
I felt forboding of the grave and rushed
To get away but now I see perhaps
One heaven sent and love to contemplate.
When the whole world and all its life
And history is here to hand and at
The touch or click upon a button then
The only way to turn to get away
Is inwards, walk into the world within.
8. Sapperton Tunnel
Between the catchment of the Severn and
The Thames, the way of life is different,
The valley sides that crumble down into
The houses flowing streamward down below,
Suggestive of the valley of the Wye.
9. The Passion of the Lord is the Birth of Love
As fires from tiny flames great cities fell
My love for you began with just a (Read More)
“The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.” — Luke 7:15
June 5, Tenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Cycle C. Readings:
1) 1 Kings 17:17-24
Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13
2) Galatians 1:11-14a, 15ac, 16a, 17, 19
Gospel: Luke 7:11-17
By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service
Across the decades since I came into the church in 1974, I have seen many instances where God was at work in the world. I’ve seen healings and many more instances of God bringing about good results in situations for which there was no reasonable hope.
But there are abuses of the belief in miracles. The worst I ever heard about came through a friend who was teaching in East Texas. While there, she heard of the death of an infant for whom a Pentecostal church had prayed fervently. At the funeral, it was reported, the pastor lifted the lifeless infant in the air and declared, “This is lack of faith!”
That horrible moment must have caused some in the community to question their authentic faith in and love of God. The preacher’s arrogance and self-righteousness confused “faith” with human will as he suggested the people’s prayers weren’t good enough to save the infant.
Today’s readings hold the antidote to such flawed thinking by pointing out that God, not human strength, has miraculous power.
In the passage from Kings, the prophet Elijah cries out to God to restore life to the only son of the widow who was providing him shelter. Elijah, in service to God, pleaded the widow’s case and her son was saved — not by Elijah’s action, but by God’s.
When Elijah restored the child to his mother, she responded. “Now indeed I know that you are a man of God. The word of the Lord comes truly from your mouth.”
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is “moved with pity” when he witnesses a mother, also a widow, who has lost her son. He steps forward, touches the coffin and says, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” He is restored to life and to his mother.
The crowd, witnessing these events cries out, “A great prophet has arisen in our midst,” and “God has visited his people.”
God was glorified in action in the first case by the faith-filled holy (Read More)
I have become aware over the last couple of years of contemporary artists looking to the 19th century Beuronese school for inspiration when painting for the liturgy. Time will be ultimate test of how appropriate this is, but my initial reaction is that this is good thing. I thought that I would give some thoughts as to why I think this.
Stylistically, Beuronese school is an interesting cul-de-sac that sits outside the mainstream of the Christian tradition. It is named after the town of Beuron in Germany which is the location of the Benedictine community in which the school originated in the mid-19th century.
The most well known artists who painted in this style in Europe are Desiderius Lenz (d 1928) and Gabriel Wuger (d 1892). In the United States, the walls and the ceiling of the abbey church of the Benedictines at Conception Abbey in Missouri, are decorated primarily with authentic examples of the Beuronese style. The abbey website tells us that the work was done between 1893 and 1897, by several monks of Conception, most notably Lukas Etlin (d. 1927), Hildebrand Roseler (d. 1923), and Ildephonse Kuhn (d. 1921), the latter two of whom had studied art at Beuron.
The original Beuronese artists were reacting against what was the dominant form of sacred art being painted for the churches of the Roman Rite at the time. This dominant style was an overly naturalistic and sentimental form of academic art, the product of the French academies and ateliers. The most well known artist of this decadent form is probably the Frenchman Bougeureaux. (For an in-depth discussion of this over naturalism in academic art read Is Some Sacred Art Too Naturalistic?)
Authentic Christian art has a style that is always a carefully worked out balance of naturalism (sometimes referred to as ‘realism’) and idealism. The naturalism in art tells us visually what is being painted – put simply if you want to paint a man it must look like a man, with a human body and limbs and so on. The idealistic element of the style is a controlled deviation from strict adherence to natural appearances by which the artist reveals invisible truths. The invisible truths that the artist might reveal, though style, are that man has a soul and a spirit that is intellect and will, for example.
It is this deviation from strict ‘photographic’ naturalism that characterizes the style (Read More)
“Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.” — Luke 9:13
May 29, Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Genesis 14:18-20
2) 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel: Luke 9:11b-17
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
One day, just after starting my first job on a parish staff, I went searching for paper stock and wandered into the wrong supply closet, where I stumbled onto the church’s stash of sacramental wine.
I know it’s not really a “stash,” but to me, a recent convert at the time, it seemed like it. I stood staring at several stacks of common corrugated cardboard boxes that contained large bottles of wine — ordered from a wholesale distributor. But I knew the bottles’ secret.
My initial reaction was that I’d exposed them, opened the door on them before they became the blood of Christ. It was like unwittingly finding Superman’s Clark Kent clothes.
This week’s readings recall the covenant of Christ’s body and blood, transformed from ordinary bread and wine and given for our nourishment and salvation. In his First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul recollects Jesus establishing that covenant at the Last Supper.
But the Gospel story of the multiplication of loaves and fish emphasizes the infinite supply of the Lord’s offering. We witness on the mountainside Jesus beginning with a small amount of bread and feeding thousands of his hungry followers. When all were satisfied, there was plenty available for whoever would come later.
The message is that an endless supply line will continue everywhere and forever, as long as people come seeking Jesus.
Since the Last Supper, Christians have provided bread and wine from sources in their own communities throughout the world and throughout the centuries — from vineyards and wheat fields to casks, jars and ovens to bottles and boxes to storehouses and closets.
From there, they are brought to altars, where they are consecrated as Jesus’ body and blood to nourish and save the faithful again and again.
I found one tiny store of ordinary wine in an appropriately unremarkable closet in a church office building. But as I received it in Communion the next Sunday, it was not the same, and neither was (Read More)
Cardinal Loris Capovilla, St. John XXIII’s secretary and the oldest member of College of Cardinals, has died at the age of 100.
Four years ago we interviewed then-Archbishop Capovilla, who shared his insights on the Second Vatican Council and his memories of the future saint.
Filed under: (Read More)
When I decided I wanted to be an artist, I started to investigate the training that was given traditionally to artists in the past. This involved the study of a number of things: how the skills of the art, painting and drawing for example, were transmitted; the great works of Catholic culture so that the artists understands the tradition in which he is working; and a formation of the person, so that he is open to inspiration, and can apprehend beauty and work beautifully.
This article is an attempt to articulate concisely what I discovered (and describe in greater length in the book the Way of Beauty) – that a formation in beauty, was not only part of a general Catholic education, but in fact was identical with what a general Catholic education ought to be, and so rarely is.
The only difference between an artist’s education and any good general education was the vocational element, in this case painting. It occurred to me that this could change according to the particular calling of each person. Then the rest would benefit every person, regardless of his precise calling in life and could complement all other study and human activity.
I believe also, incidentally, that this is a program that could be also a formation of people as evangelists who can participate in the New Evangelization, shining with the Light of Christ as they go about their daily business.
The content of the syllabus, which I do not describe in detail here is superficially similar to many humanities and liberal arts educations. However, in contrast to many of these existing educations (the ones that I have looked at, at least), it emphasizes in its pedagogical method more strongly what I see as an essential element, that of praxis – putting into practice what is learnt and so developing the faculty of the creativity by creating beautiful things..
The other key element – perhaps the most important – is that of consciously ordering of everything to man’s ultimate end and relating it to the highest form of praxis – the worship of God.
Teachers and students alike should be able to make the connection between any element of study and our purpose in life. Then the teachers know the answer to the question, why teach? And students know the answer to the question, why learn? And each will be motivated all the more to fulfill their (Read More)
Faith-based investors will ask ExxonMobil to change some of its corporate practices to better address climate change during the company’s annual general meeting in Dallas today.
(CNS/Gustavo Amador, EPA)
Working through the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and advocacy groups, the shareholders have introduced a series of resolutions meant to change how the world’s largest publicly traded energy company responds to global warming.
Dominican Sister Patricia Daly, executive director of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, said the resolution that her group of 34 institutional investors has introduced seeks a “moral response” from the company through a policy acknowledging the need to limit global average temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
Speaking during a teleconference with reporters May 23, Sister Patricia said the resolution, like others pertaining to climate change, “have always been grounded in justice and good business.”
Six resolutions related to global warming are on the agenda for the meeting in Dallas. In a letter to shareholders, a company official has called for their rejection, saying the firm has long addressed global warming concerns.
The company had tried to remove the resolutions from the annual meeting agenda; however, the Securities and Exchange Commission ruled in March that shareholders must be allowed to vote.
While efforts such as the one from the investment coalition have been soundly defeated in the past, this year’s proposals come as ExxonMobil is under scrutiny for its long-standing policy of failing to publicly acknowledge how climate change was impacting its operations.
Seventeen state attorneys general are investigating ExxonMobil and other energy producers for fraud in concealing the impact of climate change on the world.
Another resolution proposed by Capuchin Father Michael H. Crosby, executive director of the Wisconsin/Iowa/Minnesota Coalition for Responsible Investment, asks that the ExxonMobil board of directors nominate at least one candidate with expertise in climate change and environmental matters.
Father Crosby explained during the teleconference that the resolution was introduced because the company “won’t give us access to board members.” He said that by having an environmental expert on the board, the company would be better able to managing the risk of climate change to its business model.
This year’s annual meeting will give Exxon Mobil “a chance to restore the public trust,” Father Crosby said.
Company spokesman Alan T. Jeffers told The New York Times in mid-May that ExxonMobil welcomed discussions with shareholders to help them understand (Read More)
By Julie Asher
Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Orange, California, says his cameo role as a gambler, dapperly dressed in a striped suit and fedora, in the final theater production of the season for Santa Margarita Catholic High School brought back memories.
Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Orange, Calif., center, makes cameo appearance in Catholic high school musical. (Photo/Orange County Catholic)
His brief stint in the school’s performance of the hit Broadway musical “Guys and Dolls” last month reminded him, he said, of when he portrayed the story’s Nicely Nicely Johnson in a community theater version of the musical when he was a pastor in the Midwest.
“Thanks to all of them, after a couple of more serious months of ministry and decisions, I found that I still could sing, laugh, and yes, even still dance a few steps, even at now nearly 65 years old! I had played the role of Nicely Nicely Johnson in an abridged version of that musical when I was a pastor back in Decatur, Illinois,” Bishop Vann told the diocesan newspaper, the Orange County Catholic. “So my time with the Santa Margarita production of that musical helped me to connect with that important time in my life and ministry!”
The story in the Orange County Catholic about his performance includes a video clip. The Orange County Register, the daily paper, covered it too.
“What was most impressive to me in that month of singing and practicing and performing,” Bishop Vann said, “was the hard work, dedication and the faith of our young people in the cast and crew! I truly enjoyed being with them, and ‘hanging with them,’ perhaps more than they know, and they made me, and all of us proud.”
Filed under: (Read More)
“Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.” — John 16:13
May 22, The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Proverbs 8:22-31
2) Romans 5:1-5
Gospel: John 16:12-15
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
One of my favorite memories from my years as a youth minister was teaching the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults adapted for youth. There was always such an interesting group of teens who either needed to catch up on their sacraments of initiation or, once in a while, there was a teen who wanted to become Catholic totally on his or her own initiative.
A story that sticks in my memory comes from three sisters from a blended family. They were each around 13 years old. They had never been to church before and they knew nothing about God, the Bible, the Catholic Church or what we believed.
They had heard of God, but they understood God as being only what we would call God the Father. When I was teaching them the sign of the cross, they wanted to know who the Son and the Holy Spirit were. I said the Son is Jesus and together with the Father and the Holy Spirit this is God.
The looks on their faces were priceless. They argued that God was God, so Jesus cannot be God, too. They had no idea what to do with the Holy Spirit. We went round and round, with me using every analogy I could think of to try to get these teens to understand how three separate persons could share one divinity and together be the triune God.
It took the better part of our next four classes for them to just begin to grasp the concept that most Christians learn from an early age. I had the same feelings that Jesus expressed in this Sunday’s Gospel, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.”
Whether one is a teenager who knows nothing about God or holds a doctorate in theology, there is always more to know about God, and especially the mystery of the Holy Trinity. But as I tried to explain to those three sisters, it is not important that we totally understand every mystery. Faith is (Read More)
I was trawling the net and saw this in Google images.
I don’t know what you think of it, but I love it. The expressions on the faces show the love between Our Lady and Our Lord without straying into sentimentalism; the grace, pattern and flow of line in the design is exquisitely handled and in harmonic rhythm, and the color harmony is perfect – bright and attractive, without ever looking like a fluorescent print on a nylon T-shirt.
It took some work and help from others but eventually I found out that it was painted by a Roumanian iconographer called Monica Vasiloaia, you can see her work here.
Geoff Yovanovic, who will teach a course on the principles of design in architecture for Pontifex University, describes some of the sources of inspiration for his ideas.
I have always been fascinated by cities. While cities have always had a fundamental role in shaping culture, I was always more mesmerized by the towering skyscrapers and sinuous interstates which stretched to the horizon. The physical form of the city was what captured my imagination. I followed this natural interest into architecture where I focus primarily on traditional design. My interest in tradition has grown as I have been able to see past the aesthetic surface of a building and uncover the beauty and truth within the designs. Through my course on Pontifex, I hope to pass along these discoveries, and foster an appreciation of design that transcends the shock, sensation, and “originality” which passes for most architecture today.
My search for beauty started as an observation in my undergraduate architectural history survey course. I have always been interested in history so it was natural for me to create a timeline of major historical events and currents in the art world. It became clear to me that there would be a noticeable change in art during the decades preceding a cultural or political revolution. In France before the French Revolution, the architecture scraped off the barnacles of the Baroque and substituted a more rational Classical style. Prior to World War I in Europe, we find the introduction of International Style Modernism.
The rational design of Hotel Guimard by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, 1770-73
These observations remained as interesting but unrelated historical currents until I began research for my undergraduate thesis. I began studying whether architecture was used by the founding fathers to support their personal political beliefs. For example, was the Virginia Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson as an aspiration to the ancient Roman Republic? It was. That was the easy question. Instead, my advisor challenged me to explore a deeper understanding of the Enlightenment ideas that influenced Jefferson’s architecture. He pressed me even further to look beyond the details and columns. He taught me to observe how the rational Enlightenment ideas about man’s relationship to the cosmos was subtlety transforming the shape and space created by their architecture. I first learned of beauty by recognizing its flight (Read More)
Demonstrators in Washington gather around an inflatable nuke to protest nuclear weapons while world leaders were in the U.S. capital for the Nuclear Security Summit in April. (CNS/Tyler Orsburn)
Prospects for a new round of nuclear disarmament worldwide are bleaker than just a few years ago because governments have lost the willingness to shrink their arsenals in the face of rising security threats.
Heightening tensions between the United States and Russia, North Korea’s drive to develop intercontinental missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads, and a growing desire among non-nuclear states to build their own lethal weapons were cited as roadblocks to deeper reductions in the world’s nuclear arsenals during a May 17 webinar sponsored by the Pax Christi International Washington Working Group.
Presenters Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, an author and speaker, Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen, distinguished professor of ethics and global development at Georgetown University, and Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, painted a grim picture of the prospects for nuclear disarmament and urged viewers to step up their activism if they want to change the scenario.
Offering a moral vision for disarmament, Sister Joan said that the world has lost sight of the God of peace and the life of a savior in Jesus, who brings the fullness of God to the human spirit.
Sister Joan said the world has turned away from seeking true peace, instead finding its “security” in its dependence on sophisticated and dangerous weaponry. She recalled the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, in which civilians became the primary victims, exposing how “the immorality of war was clear for everyone to see.”
Since World War II nuclear politics has threatened all life on earth, she said, “either by mass murder or conscious suicide” and has even “replaced democracy” because “nobody asked us to vote on this because they’d (the country’s leaders) be afraid of what we’d say.”
From there, Kimball offered a pessimistic view of prospects for disarmament despite the course toward that goal set by President Barack Obama in a 2009 speech in Prague, and multiple comments from the Vatican questioning the morality of possessing nuclear weapons.
Although Obama and the Pentagon have said the U.S. could unilaterally reduce its nuclear arsenal by one-third and maintain an effective deterrence from a foreign attack, Kimball explained that the current political environment makes such a reality difficult to achieve.
In addition, the (Read More)
How what started as a budding artist’s quest for a formation in beauty and creativity became a manifesto for cultural renewal; and will now be available as a whole program of courses offered by www.Pontifex.University.
It’s not just for artists. It’s good for anyone looking for creativity and inspiration no matter what they do!
I started to research the material for my book the Way of Beauty about 20 years ago in England, where I am from originally, when I decided I wanted to be an artist to serve the Church. Of course at that stage I didn’t know that it would end up as the material for a book. I was fed up with the art I saw appearing in the churches around me and decided I wanted to do something about it by becoming an artist myself. I was full of the zeal of the newly converted and was on a mission to change the world.
The problem was how to get the necessary training. I knew that no existing art school would give me what I was looking for. I needed the traditional skills and although it was difficult to find people who still taught drawing and painting with rigor, it was just about possible. The real problem was knowing how to direct those skills once I had them.
Two things were necessary for such a formation. First, was a Catholic inculturation, so that I understood how to recognize what it is that makes some forms instrinsically Catholic – the iconographic, the gothic or the baroque styles of art for example; and others instrinsically anti-Christian and anti-Catholic – cubism or abstract expressionism for example.Secondly, I needed a spiritual formation that would develop my sense of the beautiful, and would engender creativity and an openness to inspiration.
No one I knew could tell me enough about either so I started to do my own research into both the traditional understanding of the basis of Catholic culture; and I how artists were trained.
The Way of Beauty contains all the details about what characterizes Catholic art, Catholic culture and the spiritual formation that engenders those personal qualities needed in the creative forces behind such a culture. In short a formation in beauty.
It describes how the worldview of the artist is manifested in the style of his art, for good or ill, by giving an overview of the all the stylistic characteristics of the great (Read More)
“They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” – Acts 2:4
May 15, Pentecost Sunday
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Acts 2:1-11
Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34
2) 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Romans 8:8-17
Gospel: John 20:19-23 or John 14:15-16, 23b-26
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
My husband and I have enjoyed hosting a small faith-sharing group in our home for the past few years.
Two in this parish-based group are Haitian immigrants. Yves is fluent in English, but his wife Suzanne came to the U.S. more recently and still struggles with the language.
So I was a little surprised that they wanted to participate in the group as it focuses on reading Scripture and involves a lot of discussion. On the other hand, I recognized that taking part in a faith-sharing group simply follows from their commitment to their parish community.
Personally, I love hearing Yves read Scripture because his heavy accent evokes an unusual tone in the text. I also have to listen extra closely. His shared experiences of faith, having grown out of a different culture, greatly enrich the conversation for the rest of us.
At first, I was concerned that Suzanne would feel left out of the discussion that she could barely understand. But as I watched her, I realized that she was fully engaged with us — not in words, but in Christ’s Spirit among our group.
Everyone sensed this, and it came to an almost thundering manifestation — imagine the “noise like a strong driving wind” described in today’s reading from Acts — one evening when we invited Suzanne to offer the closing prayer. The emotion, the confidence of God’s presence and power came pouring out over all of us as she spoke stirringly in her native Creole language.
I heard a few people murmur in reverence as we all, somehow, understood every word.
The passage in Acts describes a moment when Jesus’ disciples experienced a sudden noise as they became filled with his Spirit. They sensed what was happening — it was palpable — as they heard and understood the mighty acts of God spoken in foreign tongues.
In our home, there were no accompanying tongues of fire visible. But it became clear (Read More)
It’s short notice but Fr Brian Dinkel of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, IVE, sent me this flyer for a 4-day summer camp in the Catskills of New York State. It is for young adults and college students. The topic is ‘The Mystery of Man’.
It takes place May 22-26 and it costs just $70.00 for the four days. You can register at www.iveamerica.org or email email@example.com for more information. It takes place at IVE’s St. Patrick’s Retreat Center, 19 Sunside Rd., Cairo, NY
Here is early notice of a conference that will take place in the Fall. The Catholic Artists Conference is intended to encourage and guide Catholic artists and patrons. The central theme is prayer and it is entitled Prayer: Art from the Heart of God. You can read more about it at Catholic-Artists.com. Speakers include most prominently Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska. I am also speaking at the conference.
In conjunction with the conference is an exhibition which is the US debut of the Faces of Christ exhibition. An exhibition of works by living artists from around the world.
I have attached below images of the conference and exhibition promotional material. To read more about the conference to go Catholic-Artists-Conference.com; and about the exhibition go to Faces-of-Christ.com
I will be posting reminders as we get closer to the date.
In this post, by the English poet, Andrew Thornton- Norris, he discusses the ‘inculturation of the gospel into modern culture through the redemption of Romanticism’. Many who study literature will think of the Romantic poets of England – Wordsworth or Coleridge for example as perhaps the height of poetry in the English language. Thornton-Norris does not deny their brilliance, but says that we should be looking for something greater than this as we seek to transform the culture today. For him, raising Romantic poetry and literature up to something even greater, ‘represents a movement back from a religion of art to a religious art which recognises the Glory of the Lord’.
Romanticism and the attempt to escape it through formal Modernist strategies is the inescapable condition of modern art. This is the consequence of the spiritual individualism that is the result of the reformation, and the political and moral individualism that is its consequence. The refusal to accept the external authority of tradition or of the Magisterium means that each man is an island adrift in his own futile attempt to reconstruct a value system that re-connects him with a community and with objective reality.
This is the modern condition and its aesthetic consequence is Romanticism. The legitimate natural impulse towards transcendental beauty has no external object towards which to be directed, and so is tragically misdirected within, towards the creative impulse itself, thus becoming a religion of art. This can be seen in Wordsworth’s Prelude, Coleridge’s Rime, Beethoven’s Symphonies and Wagner’s Operas, as well as the whole movement from Impressionism towards Abstraction and Conceptualism in art.
I do not mean that these Romantic artists and the reactions to them are bad, quite the reverse, they are heroically good given the circumstances, just that they all contain a Romantic understanding of the universe, which turns art into a quasi-religious experience or act. This is damaging to both art and religion, because it expects too much of art, the replacement of religion, and thus contains flawed religious assumptions. Romanticism by the way is simply the flip-side of the Rationalism of the Enlightenment, and the endless movements that succeed them like the tides are more or less restatements of these basic positions.
The loss of the transcendent object of beauty, The Glory of the Lord (“the beauty of his Wisdom”) is the central theme of the work of Hans Urs Von Balthasar and his attempt to (Read More)
“Wait for ‘the promise of the Father … in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” — Acts 1:4-5
May 8, Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord
1) Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47:2-3, 6-9
2) Ephesians 1:17-23 or Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23
Gospel: Luke 24:46-53
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
This week’s Gospel shows the impressive patience and trust of Jesus’ disciples as they watch their beloved master depart from them, ascending into heaven.
From the time they first became his disciples, he had been preparing them to go forth and spread his message to the whole world. In his final words, he again declares this to be their mission. However, in the next breath he tells them not to go yet.
Nevertheless, their excitement and joy are undeterred by the command to wait. While confident in his promise that they will carry out his mission, they respect the fact that their desire and abilities alone will be insufficient for the task.
Jesus’ transformative work is possible only with the power of his Spirit — that is the strength of his loving presence.
It’s the difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus. For the latter to take place, we must sometimes wait and trust in God’s timing.
For instance, my friend Julie, a devout Catholic, very much wanted her husband Scott to share her faith, but over 20 years of marriage he showed no interest. She prayed for him earnestly but didn’t believe in pushing him to participate in church.
Then, grieving over her father’s death, Julie herself wandered away from the church for a time. She returned after attending a women’s retreat, where she received the emotional and spiritual healing she needed.
Subsequently, she joined a Bible study group who asked her to invite Scott to come along. Although uncertain about the wisdom of such an invitation, Julie assured Scott the group had no intention of converting him to Catholicism but simply wanted to know him and learn from his early experiences of faith in another tradition.
To her surprise, Scott accepted and quickly became an enthusiastic participant. He also began attending church with Julie and was welcomed by more of her friends. Then he signed up for a retreat where other men in the community shared their experiences of God with him. “It (Read More)
Rogationist Father Jalal Yako talks to an internally displaced woman in Ankawa, Iraq, April 8. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)
By Paul Jeffrey
ANKAWA, Iraq — When a colleague and I arrived at the Ashti camp for internally displaced families on the outskirts of Ankawa last month, we asked for the “abouna,” the Arabic word for father, or priest. We were looking for Rogationist Father Jalal Yako, but he wasn’t in his small caravan, the modular container-like building that has become ubiquitous among the displaced in northern Iraq.
A woman is seen in a camp for internally displaced families in Ankawa, Iraq, April 9. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)
In response to my one-word query, people pointed down a crowded passageway. We headed that direction, occasionally querying, “Abouna?” Everyone kept pointing us on, all the way to the toilets. There stood the priest, with several construction workers, remodeling some troubled toilets.
I’m not sure whether Father Yako’s seminary education prepared him for this, but today he’s the de facto mayor of a village of 250 families, about a thousand people. Toilets are just one of his challenges.
When tens of thousands of people fled from the Islamic State’s sweep through Mosul and Qaraqosh in 2014, they came to Iraqi Kurdistan, where they found physical safety. But since they weren’t refugees (they had crossed no international border), they weren’t eligible for assistance from international agencies. Neither the government in far-off Baghdad nor authorities in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan offered much help. It was the church that walked with them as they fled from Islamic State, and the church that struggled to find them food and shelter in exile. Twenty-one months later, the church remains the principal manager of aid. Providing spiritual care goes hand in hand with providing water, sanitation and electricity.
Father Yako is an Iraqi who studied and lived in Italy for almost two decades, but came home to begin a mission in Qaraqosh in 2012. Two years later, he fled alongside the people of the town. His bishop said he could return to Italy, but Father Yako refused.
“As religious, it’s our mission to stay, not to leave,” he told us. “Even though we lost our houses and everything else, it’s for the people that we are consecrated. Now is the most significant moment to continue to serve the people, from the smallest to greatest.”
Syriac Catholic Archbishop Yohanna Moshe of Mosul, Iraq, participates in opening a youth congress in Ankawa, April (Read More)