In his August prayer intention, the Holy Father speaks to artists, “That artists of our time, through their creativity, may help us discover the beauty of creation.”
As an artist of Catholic Sacred Art, I strive to put God in my work.
As a small child and growing up I attended our local Catholic Church, St Joseph’s in New London, Connecticut. We always sat on the south side by the beautiful stained-glass windows where the morning light was most radiant; each one depicted a different Saint. I believe it was because of this early exposure to sacred beauty that I eventually dedicated my gift of Art to the Church.
As I grew I came to understand that God was everywhere, hidden in all things. I saw this most reflected in the magnificent beauty of nature, and as I matured in Faith came to know him through Christ, in humanity.
I seek God and strive to reveal him in my art. In fact, it is my strongest act of prayer.
So I offer this painting in response to Pope Francis’s call to dialogue and action in his encyclical Laudato Si’, On Care for our Common Home. I began painting it in 1993 and originally titled it “Thy Will Be Done” taken from the prayer Jesus taught us, the Our Father.
The painting is allegorical and asks a prophetic question as it presents us with only two possible futures. One in harmony with God’s will and the other in disharmony.
Which one will we choose to live in, leave to our children and future generations?
As Christians, we learnt that God gave us Free Will. When in the Garden of Eden, he gave Adam choice as inheritor to all the good in his Creation, but forbade him to eat of the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:16-17).
God gave us a second chance when he sent his son Jesus Christ into the world to redeem us (John 3:16). Again, humanity did not listen, ignored him and the prideful ruling elite and their minions rejected and crucified him.
Now God is giving us another chance, clearly spoken through his ‘Vicar of Christ’ on Earth, Pope Francis, in his encyclical Laudato Si’ and through science which has measured and alerted us to the latest appalling species extinction principally caused by human activity, resulting in cataclysmic damage to his creation.
Will we once again not listen to God, not do his will? Will we again choose to rebel against him; through indifference and pride follow our own foolish path towards destruction?
There are Christians who are waiting, indeed would welcome the 2nd Coming of Christ so that he could straighten out our mess and raise them up in “The Rapture”! This is not what Laudato Si’ asks. It asks us to be responsible for the Gift of Creation, to exercise our free will, our conscious intelligence and to heed the call to care for “our common home”.
In his encyclical, Our Holy Father speaks to us of St Francis of Assisi whose name he took as his own, upon becoming Pope (L.S.10).
In the painting, we see St Francis in the foreground with the faithful ox, symbol of the Gospel of St Luke and the Book of Acts, opening for us the full spectacle of consciousness and the fateful choice before us.
A choice we must make to care for God’s Creation, in harmony with his will. As such I painted Christ, the centre of Creation (Through him all things were made… John 1:3).
His divine Beauty, Word, and Truth that I saw and heard as a child, I humbly strive to reveal here through my art, God’s love for us in his gift of Creation, through his son Jesus Christ, our Lord and saviour.