Explaining art

“On the whole, art should not be explained; it must be experienced. But by means of words it is possible to help others to experience it…”
— Steen Eiler Rasmussen, Experiencing Architecture (MIT Press, 1964).

“Beauty will lead you to God”

Openness to beauty leads soul to God, says Catholic thinker

By Matt Hadro

.- The senses are the “road to God”, who speaks to us through beauty, said Bill Donaghy, who holds a master’s in systematic theology, at the recent Theology of the Body Congress held in Philadelphia.

God “is trying to break into our minds and hearts through beauty,” said Donaghy who, using the image of a leaf open to sunlight, said, “we need to be as receptive to God’s beauty as this leaf.”

Donaghy was addressing an audience on the role of beauty in the new evangelization at a conference about the more than 100 catecheses delivered by St. John Paul II on “Theology of the Body” early in his pontificate.

Part of John Paul II’s thought is his sacramental vision of creation, through which we can see God, Donaghy explained. The senses “are a road to God,” he said, imploring the audience, “don’t shrink from the gift of the senses.”

Quoting Fr. Robert Barron, Donaghy called beauty the “arrowhead of the new evangelization” because, although it is not an end in itself, it catches the heart and points it towards the true and the good, adding that it is “the point with which the evangelist pierces the minds and hearts of those he evangelizes.”

When asked what Catholics should do to bring beauty into everyday life, Donaghy called for “’lectio divina’ in the visual realm.”

“It means that you get good books. That your coffee table books are rich sacred art. That you give yourself opportunities to wander in the woods, that you read the book of creation more deliberately and you spend time before the 2,000 years of history of sacred art.”

“I think that our homes, our schools, our offices, should be places of beauty, too. There should be beautiful things all around us.”

All good works of art can lead us to God, Donaghy explained. “Create a treasure chest of sacred art, of photographs, of poems, of movie clips and songs,” he told the audience. “God is speaking to us through all of it.”

However, he warned that beauty can be abused. We must “reverence” it and not try to grasp it and bottle it for our own selfish desires.

“Don’t try to bottle beauty. Don’t try to capture it. If you do, it stagnates,” he warned. He contrasted Mary and Eve, noting how Mary was open and receptive to God’s grace, but Eve tried to grasp God’s nature for her own selfish desires.

As Mary was, so must we be, he urged.

“Beauty can be a terrible thing. God and the devil are fighting, and the battlefield is the human heart,” he admitted.

But if we are open and receptive to God, we can see beauty as we were meant to see it, he added.

“We listen, we’re attuned to the transcendent, to God, and beauty leads us to God. Keep your head and your heart open to God, and beauty will lead you to God.”

Original article can be found here.

How what is done is done

“Art is, to repeat,  a matter not of what is done, but of how what is done is done. ” (Crispin Sartwell)

“Do your best when no one is looking. If you do that, then you can be successful in anything that you put your mind to.”  (Bob Cousy)

“We have to do the best we can. This is our sacred human responsibility.” (Albert Einstein)

“Being gifted creates obligations, which means you owe the world your best effort at the work you love. You too are a natural resource.” (Barbara Sher)

Summer Rain

Originally posted on Barnstorming:

summerrainDrip drip the trees for all the country round,
And richness rare distills from every bough;
The wind alone it is makes every sound,
Shaking down crystals on the leaves below.

For shame the sun will never show himself,
Who could not with his beams e’er melt me so;
My dripping locks—they would become an elf,
Who in a beaded coat does gayly go.
~Henry David Thoreau from “Summer Rain”


How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!

How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!

Across the window-pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow from…

View original 34 more words

Hidden in the shadows

Frédéric Eymeri, a painter who looks to paint those things hidden in the shadows.


He says: “Raising up something useful to the order of the spiritual is a noble task, a high calling, it is a celebration of that which is considered as having no worth. It is saying to tin: ‘you hold within you a degree of being which makes you the same material as gold!’ To paint a spoon, is to make it come alive in a way, to give to it another presence, to make us aware that it is something valuable, to rescue it from trivialization. To paint those objects hidden in the shadows, I believe, is also reaching out to the men and women who use them. Wanting to say to each person: ‘You are part of the beauty and life shining within all things.’”

Read the entire article here.

The beauty of friendship

A blessed birthday to a wonderful and beautiful friend, Ellen.  Everyone should have a friend like her, someone who brings beauty wherever she is, who creates beauty and opens your eyes to beauty.  Someone who is also deeply beautiful inside.  Her oil of Mary at the foot of the cross (below) is stunning and the fruit of great suffering in her own life.  You can see more of her work here.

sept23-2008 FULL VIEW

all rights reserved Ellen Erenberg

Happy birthday, Ellen.  I thank God for the way you bring wonder and beauty into my life.