So there we have it!!
Originally we were prohibited from making any representational artwork when it comes to God Himself
This goes all the way back to the Ten Commandments
We shall not make any graven images
Are Christians violating one of the Ten Commandments when they make an image?
The answer comes from the History of the Church and the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 AD
St. John Damascene says in Paragraph 1159, “Previously God, who has neither a body nor a face, absolutely could not be represented by an image. But now that he has made himself visible in the flesh and has lived with men, I can make an image of what I have seen of God…and contemplate the glory of the Lord, his face unveiled.”
There was a group of people called ICONOCLASTS
They wanted to destroy all images of our Lord, Mary, or the Saints
They saw that as a violation of one of the Ten Commandments
Paragraph 1160 says, “We declare that we preserve intact all the written and unwritten traditions of the Church which would have been entrusted to us. One of these traditions consists in the production of representational artwork, which accords with the history of the preaching of the Gospel. For it confirms that the incarnation of the Word of God was real and not imaginary…”
Jesus DID come in time
This is NOT a myth
This is NOT a story
This is NOT a fable
When we have artwork depicting Jesus doing something like healing the blind man, or Jesus on the Cross, or Jesus rising from the dead…
THESE ARE HISTORICAL REALITIES!!
Part of this representational artwork is to PUT INTO TIME the REALITY OF WHAT HAPPENED IN TIME
Not only that…
We have Scripture
What is Scripture other than images?
WORDS ARE SYMBOLS THAT REPRESENT A DEEPER REALITY!!
So what is good artwork?
ARTWORK IS A SYMBOL THAT REPRESENTS A DEEPER REALITY!!
Hope this is helpful for all of us to understand the role of art
The role of art is meant to UNVEIL
The role of art is meant to POINT TO SOMETHING GREATER THAN ITSELF
Words are meant to REVEAL THE TRUTH
Words are meant to DRAW US CLOSER TO THE GOOD
Words are meant to UNVEIL BEAUTY
Similarly, art is meant to do this as well
Art has to be TRUE
Art has to be GOOD
Art has to be BEAUTIFUL
Liturgical art is meant to lift the mind and the heart to the Lord
It does this in a way that sometimes words can’t do
Fr. Mike is telling a story about a man who grew up an atheist
He was in Europe and he walked into Chartres Cathedral in France
He was so struck by the beauty that was in the artwork that he was convinced that God is REAL and that this is TRUE
There is something about God’s existence via BEAUTY
You can reason God’s existence
You can logic your way to God’s existence
There are other ways we communicate the true and the good and the beautiful
Part of that is artwork and iconography
When we have our Churches decorated with beautiful imagery
This has been lost in modern churches
They have stripped themselves and have maybe 1 or 2 pieces of artwork or statues as opposed to being suffused by beauty
When you walk into the Church you are stepping into ANOTHER WORLD
You are stepping into a place where the Cross is revealed
The ugliness of the Cross points to the beauty of God’s love
The reality of the Saints and Angels who are especially present to us in the context of the Mass
When we have Churches that reveal that beauty, what to do?
St. John Damascene says in Paragraph 1162, “‘The beauty of the images moves me to contemplation, as a meadow delights the eyes and subtly infuses the soul with the glory of God.”
If you have some art in your house that points to the Lord and lifts your mind and your heart to God in a way that other things just don’t do, YOU ARE BLESSED
If you don’t have that, you are invited to look for art out there that you would be able to bring into your home and have it present so that as you look around your own home your mind would be able to be raised to the Lord to contemplation
Your heart would be that much more set on fire with the love of God
That is what art is meant to do
Art is meant to raise our minds and our hearts to the Lord through what is good, what is true, and what is beautiful
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!