Rembrandt - The Holy Family (detail) - WGA19129

Rembrandt – The Holy Family (detail) – WGA19129 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Beauty of God , Theology and the Arts  edited by Daniel J. Treier, Mark Husbands and Roger Lundin

In this wonderful book I found a comparison of two paintings of the Holy

Family one by Rembrandt and one by Nicholas Poussin.

While Poussin presents the viewer with idealized figures in a harmoniously balanced and orderly setting. Rembrandt renders the image of the family in terms of the household of a Dutch working family. From the academic point of view as informed by its then notion of beauty, Rembrandt’s work falls far short. But does it? scholar Jakob Rosenberg observed many years ago, in Rembrandt’s work spiritual truth-with roots in the Bible_trumps a classicist sense of beauty based on a fully controlled order. Rosenberg argued that since for Rembrandt the essence of truth about man and nature lies in the ultimate relationship of everything created to the Creator,  Rembrandt accepts all things, beautiful or not, their mere existence makes them worth while, as issuing from God. This according to Rosenberg, also explains the formal quality of Rembrandt’s art. Forms, in his compositions are not allowed to become too definite or to have finality,  since this would break their contact with the life process. if Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro has any deeper purpose, it is this to suggest to keep alive these mysterious relationships, so true yet so impenetrable for the purely rational approach, so strongly felt by the artist’s intuitive and religious mind yet closed to the view of the aesthete and the classicist who insist upon beauty and a fully controlled order.”

These thoughts come after reading  principles in a letter by Pope Francis.

Peace is greater than conflict,

the whole is greater than the parts,

action is greater than ideas and

time is greater than space.


Albert Bloch, Munich

Albert Bloch, Munich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Waif of that elder world of space and glamour

Outcast within this other world’s confine,

You fashioned from its chaos and its clamour

Your  world of wonder, leaving it to shine

Pale radiance on the world, and to draw near it

Those whose wild laughter, muted to a smile

Wan-broken, wakes to tears when you beguile

With your immortal waywardness their spirit.

Singer of numb despair and mad release,

Always the sun throbs through your melancholy,

Always the rain sobs through your gayest folly-

You who knew never peace bring always peace.

     And solace always to my bleakest mood

     And benediction on my solitude.

 This sonnet to Chopin appears in Portraits and People and was composed by Albert Bloch


English: By Rembrandt.

English: By Rembrandt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These ideas are taken from an article by Stefanie Knauss on the theology of the senses. I was happy to find a name for what I have come to know intuitively. I also know that I have prayed in this way all my life. I feel the direct contact with beauty is a way to know God. Stefanie calls this aisthetic theology. In the encounter with the arts, with the beautiful  our focus is on the sensory experience of the works and overcomes the tendency to intellectualize the aesthetic experience. It broadens the horizon of aesthetic theology by showing that theologically relevant  sensory experiences can be made not only through high art (Mozart‘s, operas, Rembrandt’s paintings, etc.) but there are many more forms of art that address the senses in manifold ways: taste in the art of cooking, smell in the art of perfumery, or touch in the art of textiles and design. I refer you to Brent Plate’s work  “The Skin of Religion”. This theology, inspired by the senses and inspiring the senses, can then make God be tasted and smelled,” for your love is better than wine, your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is perfume poured out, therefore the maidens love you” (Cant1,2-3)

Eternity Around You

The artist pursues truth, one of the hallmarks of beauty. The flawed artist, filled with uncertainty is pulsed to express what he has found. sometimes the findings are a glad poem, or gives voice to the dense cadences of creation as in the music of Beethoven

Every artistic expression is an expression of belonging. We must leave the cosy shelter to visit the outposts where we find our brothers and sisters longing to be free of toxic boundaries. 

The artist accompanies us into all kinds of new

English: My own work, taken in August 2007. A ...

English: My own work, taken in August 2007. A picture from the Lebanese-side of the Israeli-Lebanon border. This photo shows in the distance an Israeli army outpost. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

possibility of belonging. 


Nederlands: Overgenomen van :en:Image:Ampersan...

Nederlands: Overgenomen van :en:Image:Ampersand.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wabi & Sabi

Affirmation & melancholy

Sacred & tarnished

Evanescent & tentative

Ephemeral & earthly

Refusal of transformation

Irregardless of delectation

A Blessing Before Beginning

English: Seascape Polski: Krajobraz morski

English: Seascape Polski: Krajobraz morski (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a blessing of  Macrina Wiederkehr

O  colors of earth, anoint me and robe me with all the attributes I need for my life work: purple for wisdom, meditation , transformation, and spirituality.  Red for passion, energy and courage. Blues and greens for calm restfulness, balance, healing, hope, serenity, and contemplation.  Golden yellows for optimism and joy, lucidity, compassion and illumination, and orange for animation, creativity and enthusiasm.  Black and white for death and life, power and innocence, mysticism and truth.

All of nature  send your mystical energy upon  my work. Rocks, precious stones, pebbles, air, wind, breezes, storms, earth, flowers, trees, plants, water lakes, ponds, rivers oceans, streams, brooks, fire, moon and stars, sun  volcanoes, bonfires, burning candles, quiet lights, and bright lights

O let everything that is good bless my work.

“Elegy Indigo”

Trumpet with paper straight mute inserted; bel...

Trumpet with paper straight mute inserted; below are (left to right) straight, wah-wah (Harmon), and cup mutes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jazz at the Plaza

Jazz at the Plaza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a poem found in a journal of Jazz and Literature called “Brilliant Corners”. The author of the poem is Joel Dias-Porter I put in ( ) what scripture it suggested to me

“Did Miles mute his horn, because

a breeze can carry kites a gust might mutilate?”

(He did not even bend a reed)

Call him poet, professor. Call me shaky grasper of the chisel,

caught in a run-on rush to hammer it all.

(I ran a good race, to the end)

Finally, finally, I come to believe in loss as a way of knowing.

(I consider all loss as gain)

How long does it take to hear what silence can say?

(Be still and know)

I stand at a stoplight, waiting for the colors to change.

At forty-five one has to deal with eyesight fading.

(I see dimly through a glass)

Not fading like blue from the knees of your favorite jeans

or lights on a stage above a silenced microphone,

but like a goateed poet in a stingy brim hat

covering the bets of a hooded man with holes for eyes

and blades of scythes where his fingernails should be.

Finally, finally, I come to believe in  loss as a way of knowing.

If the Blues is a river, doesn’t it carry in and wash  away?

(What have you come here to see)

LEDs are replacing halogen and incandescent lamps,

so the headlights of some approaching cars are slightly blues

as his velvet tone joins the voices of all my fallen fathers.

(Father forgive them)

And I tremble ever so softly,  softly, like a kite in a breeze

or the reed in a Harmon mute during a note’s last linger.

(All these things will pass but love will remain)

Finally, finally… I come to believe in loss as  a way of knowing

(follow him)

Finely, finally.

Creative Beauty

English: Pumpkins ready for the Central Park P...

English: Pumpkins ready for the Central Park Pumpkin Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each heart is full of creative beauty. We can excavate the fresh intimations of mystery.

To get to that place when something is known as for the first time and we must communicate that joy by some expression of art.

The more we tend to our soul work the heart becomes surrounded by the realization that we have inherited a beautiful world and nothing is closed to us.

The Garden of Hope

Allegory of hope; Oil on canvas, Francesco Gua...

Allegory of hope; Oil on canvas, Francesco Guardi, 1747 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Turn everything over in the interior garden. Leave everything in the care of Christ the gardener. cultivate hope in the living garden.

Hope is the bridge from faith to love. The new self is open to delight in all earthly and heavenly things, preparing us to take on God’s feelings for the universe.

The self is silently being worked on beyond the self experience that blocked encounter with the other. We have the capacity to be allured by the future.

We don’t see clearly but we see joyfully. We see the promise that comes to us from the future.

Hope is the key through the impasse. When memory becomes a silent place, hope takes over. The burden and pleasure of the past can inhibit creative response to the present. The past is replaced by renewed confidence and purpose and potential. God is the goal of all human hoping. It is God’s doing but we must do all we can.


The surface of a freshwater lake

The surface of a freshwater lake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This may be a new word to paint your word pictures with. I hope so. It is given me by Joho O’Donohue. I live be side the lake and I always hear the ripple of the waters and the sound of the wind. Sometimes you would not even know that great expanse of fresh water is out there because of the stillness. That is when I hear Teannalach. It means awareness. The awareness that is seven layers deep. It is the attention to the unheard music of the lake. It is the language of the lake. The lake beneath the lake. It only reveals itself when the mind’s attention is finely tuned.