Built on living stones
FREE Catholic Classes
By Hugh McNichol
On the Feast of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist, I attended the blessing and dedication of a statue in his likeness at a Catholic parish in Philadelphia. The blessing of the statue was preceded by the celebration of the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the church was filled with not only parish members but appreciative enthusiasts of the artist that executed Saint John's likeness.
The Eucharistic liturgy as per the Roman calendar celebrated the appropriate liturgy of the day in commemoration of John the Baptist. The homily was well developed and theologically astute. However there was never a mention of the artist and his creation when referring to the statue of the Baptist. This omission while not subtle sometimes happens when we forget to remember the truly important task artisans of sacred themes have placed upon them. Their task is to utilize their artistic talents to glorify God and our Church's expressions of Her faith.
Additionally, there is a very fine line between celebrating the new artistic work and its spiritual significance and celebrating the artist. However both aspects of celebration should be joyfully celebrated as one event. At times we try to diminish individual's contributions to particular projects because we sometimes think it detracts from the event. Artists and their works however are uniquely and inextricably united with their works, just like authors are forever linked to their writings.
When we celebrate sacred art, we celebrate the artist as well. The artist not only presents a deeply intense expression of his/her faith, they also represent the intense beliefs of a living parish community. As faithful Catholics we should be extremely thankful for the talents of all artisans that choose to express their religious beliefs through their art. Not only should the community of believers offer thanks and congratulations, but our sacramental leaders, our priests should loudly voice the appreciation of the people.
After all the artistic expression of the artist gives tangible representation of divine mysteries of which the priest is the sacramental mediator. Whenever we celebrate sacred art, we celebrate God's mystery and our seminal human attempt to glorify God. The priest united with the body of faith as well as the artist is attempting to bridge the chasm between human expression and divine existence. In some ways one could honestly present the argument that the results of the labor of the artist are themselves vehicles for the greater glorification of God.
Such a relationship between human expression of faith and the utilization of sacred images as vehicles for our transcendence to the deity have always been part of the Catholic prayer tradition. Throughout the ages, many Catholic cathedrals, churches and chapels have been decorated in a variety of artistic motifs to enhance our spiritual and liturgical understanding of what we consider sacred.
For Catholics, especially through the use of sacred architecture and images are used as accessories to our most sacred rituals. Sacred art and images are not themselves reflective of the Catholic mysteries of faith, but are rather tools that help us comprehend the vast mystery of God. That is precisely why we need to celebrate the art, the artist and the sacramental community that gives witness to God through artistic expressions of faith. Whatever the skill, whatever the craft, whatever the medium, the artist is using the gifts of the Creator given uniquely to each artisans particular skill towards a deeper eschatological appreciation of our faith and sacraments.
We don't always appreciate the results of artistic labor, especially in a contemporary society that is not inclined to regard extraordinary talents that give testimony to religion and God. We will however give accolades to individuals that compete the fastest, play sports the hardest and even those that accumulate the most possessions...however we as a Church are sometimes noncommittal and sometimes unable to praise the ethereal works that assist us in our worship. Perhaps the reason for this shortcoming it is because as clergy, faithful and individuals we fear giving praise when praise is due.
In some misplaced and misguided way bestowing praise on the artist somehow diminishes our own personal inability to comfortably express sentiments of praise to our brothers and sisters in faith. We especially feel inhibited at times by those with creative and artistic gifts. That is not the appropriate way for fellow believers to feel towards each other. As a faithful community we should celebrate all of the talents and gifts that each individual contributes to their expressions of faith. When we start doing this freely then perhaps a true community of faith will develop where we all commonly contribute our skills to the worship of God's infinite Being as well as God's manifestation of Himself in each and every one of us.
In conclusion, it is not a bad thing to acknowledge the accomplishment and talents of the artist even during the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries. After all the results of human labor in our churches and shrines and our prayerful spaces are enduring testimonies to their deeply rooted expressions of individual faith, as well as our common expressions of mutual faith as the People of God. We should loudly give applause and accolades to everyone involved in the pursuit of sacred art and religious expression because it reflects the spiritual and theological desires among each and every one of us as individuals and as collective living art of the Body of Christ.
http:verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com DE, US
Hugh McNichol - Author, 302 6339348
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,717
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Monday, April 22nd, 2019 HD Video
- Are Easter eggs pagan?
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 HD Video
- 5 Beautiful scriptures to remind you what Easter is all about
- St. Abdiesus: Saint of the Day for Monday, April 22, 2019
- Making a Difference: 'Unplanned' -- the movie you have to see!
- Daily Readings for Monday, April 22, 2019
- Daily Reading for Sunday, April 21st, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, April 20th, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Friday, April 19th, 2019 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.