St. Luke’s artistic talent reminds us that people are like paintings


We are unexpected and inexplicable and we bear the mark of our Creator.

I always have a clear idea of ​​who I am in mind. A flight of highs, if you will, that overwhelms me but has little to do with my reality. At best, my idea of ​​me is a hope, an image of who I want to be.

I aspire to be a wonderful, patient dad who tells the dumbest papa jokes, has time to coach all of my kids’ sports teams, and whose knees never hurt so much that he stopped playing with the toddler.

I would love to be the best husband in the world who always knows the right words, always does the dishes, and skips the soccer game to pick apples without complaint.

I would also like to be physically stronger and faster. It would be nice to have a more shapely nose. Sensible hopes – which, of course, are not all mine – are extremely helpful because they motivate us to achieve positive goals.

In the worst case, the image of who I am will be confused and confused with reality, which deceives me. I think I am better than I really am. More beautiful, friendlier, more generous. I look in the mirror and through the selfish filter I added to my eyepiece lens, I am literally convinced that a prettier face is looking at me. This man in the mirror doesn’t even have a single gray hair in his beard. He thinks he is 20 years younger than he actually is. I am convinced that if I were Sisyphus this boulder would be carried up the hill and it would stay there.

It is a strange human phenomenon, our inability to reconcile our concept of self with reality. On the one hand, it gives us a lot of grief. On the other hand, it arouses initiative, desire and puts us on a great adventure to make reality come true. We are creatures who dream and aspire.

Among other things, I’ve always wanted to be a painter. I actually applied to an art school after high school and was accepted, but eventually I went a different path because I felt that God had called me to be a pastor. The vocation I felt at the time was the beginning of a long, exciting and winding road to be ordained a Catholic priest 15 years later. In the meantime, I have served as a pastor in the Anglican Church for many years, getting married and having children. There was little time left for art, so that dream faded. Occasionally, however, I still think about what it would be like to have the time and space to improve as a painter.

This week we celebrate the feast of Saint Luke, who is said to be an artist himself. In addition to the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, he is also the artist responsible for an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is a talented storyteller and as an artist has an eye for detail. Luke was not one of the original apostles. In his Gospel, he says that his writing is based on testimony, so it is likely that he never actually met Jesus. Yet his gospel brings the idea of ​​Christ to life, and his readers encounter Jesus as a real person.

That is the power of art, storytelling and beauty. Art takes an idea that we might have and embodies it, making the idea “real”. As Pope Benedict XVI. says about the Christian faith: “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a sublime idea, but the encounter with an event, a person who gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. ”Basically, the story he tells and the picture he paints is a real person. Luke understands that.

An artistic perspective affects how we interact with the people around us and how we shape our ideas about ourselves. We love others as real people of flesh and blood, as living, breathing works of art. They are not abstract ideas. Works of art are sometimes messy and complicated. They show the painter’s brushstrokes, offer challenging perspectives and in the encounter with the beauty that art embodies, the viewer changes.

A work of art is beautiful for what it is. It is not intended to be airbrushed into an idea or interpreted as a lecture. His fame is his individuality, his uniqueness. A great work of art often surprises us. It cannot be created using a formula. It is a transcendent reality, visible and tangible, a gateway into the mystery of how everything in this world strives for a higher, more beautiful existence.

Great art is an expression of hope. It is the embodiment of an idea that connects the world as it is and the world as it should be.

Man is God’s masterpiece. We cannot expect others or ourselves to exist in the realm of perfect ideas. We are much more like paintings – physical creations bearing the mark of our Creator. People are unexpected and inexplicable. We are far more than an idea, we are children of God who hope and dream, and even if we are far from perfect, he has made us beautiful.

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