“With a purpose to talk the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church wants artwork,” St. Pope John Paul II writes in his Letter to Artists, issued on Easter Sunday, 1999. As you’ll learn on this subject of The Catholic Telegraph, artwork and sweetness have a singular energy to evangelize.
An actor, playwright and poet, St. John Paul II takes a broad view of what he calls “the divine spark which is the creative vocation.” He remarkably says that “all women and men are entrusted with the duty of making their very own life: in a sure sense, they’re to make of it a murals, a masterpiece.”
Within the earliest days of the Church, artists evoked Christ with symbolic photos of fish, loaves, bread and the lamb. Artwork grew to become extra representational within the catacombs of Rome, usually illustrating Jesus the Good Shepherd, in addition to scenes from the Previous and New Testaments. Within the centuries since, St. John Paul II writes, “the biblical textual content has fired the creativeness of painters, poets, musicians, playwrights and film-makers.”
The Bible itself is a literary masterwork, a complete library representing a complete panoply of literary genres – together with poetry, songs, historical past and letters – in a single quantity. Whereas that library was closed to all however probably the most educated for a lot of centuries, visible artwork was not. As St. John Paul II notes, “in occasions when few may learn or write, [artistic] representations of the Bible had been a concrete mode of catechesis.”
Catechesis-by-art came about primarily in church buildings. Not solely do stained-glass home windows, statues and stations of the cross inform tales of our religion, now as then, so does the magnificent structure of church buildings constructed from the time of Emperor Constantine within the 4th Century onward.
The placing structure of a lot of our church buildings attracts worshipers nearer to God by way of its magnificence.
Sacred music additionally attracts us nearer to God. Hymns have all the time been part of Christian worship. “The religion of numerous believers has been nourished by melodies flowing from the hearts of different believers,” writes St. John Paul II, “both launched into the liturgy or used as an help to dignified worship. In tune, religion is skilled as vibrant pleasure, love and assured expectation of the saving intervention of God.”
Collectively, music, structure and representational artwork (work, statues, stained glass) assist immerse and evangelize the trustworthy who’re current in a church for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
And due to expertise, those that are unable to totally take part in Mass in individual can watch it from dwelling. Now a lot of our parishes live-stream companies, offering the chance for religious communion. We had been blessed to have this selection when our parishes had been closed due to the pandemic.
Nevertheless, watching the Eucharistic celebration on-line or on tv is just not the identical as taking part in what Vatican II calls “the supply and summit of the entire Christian life” (LG 11). Now that our church buildings have reopened with robust well being security protocols in place, I urge all Catholics who are usually not at specific threat for the coronavirus to return to weekly participation in Mass in the course of the upcoming season of Lent– when you have not already finished so.
Could the 40 days of Lenten penitential ready remind us that Christ is all the time with us in our struggling and put together us for the enjoyment of Easter.