Friday, 18 March 2011

Living Waters...

I spend a lot of time pondering on the images that I paint. Wasted time some might say, unproductive. Certainly you don't see your pounds being transformed into painted shapes, but looking, probing, searching is an essential element of any artistic endeavour, and none more so that when it is a matter of spiritual images embodying Truth.

With the Sacred Heart of Naour, as David has described this particular work, the evolution of the image is a constant, and that demands a lot of waiting on inspiration. Looking at the space, and what has appeared so far, wrestling with its becoming, I play with ideas and the spaces, colours, shapes etc. In the midst of this wrestling and teasing out you hope and pray for some inspiration. Yesterday I was caught by the idea of rivers of water flowing from Christ's feet, out as it were into the sanctuary, and through the Eucharist into the lives of the People of God, and from them into the world. But I wasn't quite sure how this fitted with the Sacred Heart; it seemed right but I wasn't able to quite nail it down.

This evening I spent a bit of time delving into the Papal teaching on the Sacred Heart. The other day I came across some words Pope Benedict had written, and I hoped to track them down again and find their context. I didn't find them, but I did come across a letter he wrote which refers to a Papal Encyclical of PopePius XII expounding the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Its title: Haurietis aquas, which Pope Benedict explains: "the Prophet Isaiah's words, which Pius XII placed at the beginning of the Encyclical with which he commemorated the first centenary of the extension of the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to the entire Church, have lost none of their meaning: "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" (Is 12: 3)". So here I received confirmation of the inspiration, and a deepening of my own understanding of what it is I am being called to paint.Indeed, the whole letter really helps summarise the various essential elements which any icon of the Sacred Heart needs to capture, to which the Teilhardian insights can legitimately be added.

The letter is well worth reading. It is posted on the Vatican website here

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