ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF MOZART’S DEATH: WHY CATHOLIC?

I frequently get asked “Why Catholic?” by diverse self-proclaimed demographics; Evangelical Protestants, Rad Trads, and that sector of atheists who can be just as either/or in thinking as religious fundamentalists.  I can think of no more apt and meaningful a symbol than Mozart as an initial gateway as a response to that question, although there is more to it than that. My introduction to artmusic was at a young age and while I started off with the standards (i.e. Beethoven and Wagner), by my late teens and early twenties, I was venturing into the more modern terrain of Bruckner, Mahler, … Continue reading ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF MOZART’S DEATH: WHY CATHOLIC?

(reblog) Merciful Heart — Gospel Isosceles

A broken twenty year old boy declared war on humanity and slaughtered his own mother, twenty first-graders, six elementary school staff, and then himself. This was six years ago and it doesn’t hurt any less. My hope is that anyone who suffers in isolation, anyone who feels unwanted by ‘the rest of humanity’, be the […] via Merciful Heart — Gospel Isosceles Continue reading (reblog) Merciful Heart — Gospel Isosceles

A Hundred Flowers — Gospel Isosceles (reblog) writing words about Amaya’s words feels damned inadequate. However, I will say briefly that her work always confronts and unnerves me in the best possible ways.

What are you waiting for? For me to admit that, like you, all I ever wanted was an open-concept floor-plan and a walk-in closet just for shoes I only wear once or twice a year? For a selection of grocers within a five-mile radius from which to choose where to get my daily bread […] via A Hundred Flowers — Gospel Isosceles Continue reading A Hundred Flowers — Gospel Isosceles (reblog) writing words about Amaya’s words feels damned inadequate. However, I will say briefly that her work always confronts and unnerves me in the best possible ways.

SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady of Pontmain

“Hagia Sophia” (Thomas Merton) I. Dawn. The Hour of Lauds. There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, adimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden whole-ness. This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom,the Mother of all, Natura naturans. There is in allthings an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silencethat is a fount of action and joy. It rises up in word-less gentleness and flows out to me from the unseenroots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly,saluting me with indescribable humility. This is atonce my own being, my own nature, and the Gift ofmy Creator’s Thought and Art within … Continue reading SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady of Pontmain

ANDREI TARKOVSKY’S THE SACRIFICE (1986)

Andrei Tarkovsky was dying as he made his final film, The Sacrifice(1986). It can be likened to the epic last testaments of Ludwig van Beethoven, Paul Gauguin, Gustav Mahler, Luigi Nono, John Huston, and David Bowie. Tarkovsky dedicated the film to his son, Andrejusja, “with hope and confidence.” Like Mahler, Tarkovsky exits in a universal communication: “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” Despite the milieu of finality that permeates The Sacrifice, it was a narrative that had long been percolating with Tarkovsky, who referred to it as a parable, open to multifarious interpretations. It should … Continue reading ANDREI TARKOVSKY’S THE SACRIFICE (1986)

ANDREI RUBLEV (1966)

Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev (originally titled The Passion According to Andrei ) is a 1966 film about a painter whom we never see painting. Furthermore, it’s about a 15th century artist who we know very little about, not even the exact years of his birth and death. Only one existing painting, “The Trinity,” can be authenticated as being entirely painted by Rublev. Yes, Rublev is one of those uncouth religious painters: an iconographer. This is anathema here today—and, when it was made, most especially in his Russian homeland. Despite all that, Rublev is a painter of legendary status. As enigmatic … Continue reading ANDREI RUBLEV (1966)

ROBERT BRESSON’S DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST (1951)

Andrei Tarkovsky cited Robert Bresson as one of two  filmmakers who influenced him (the other being Ingmar Bergman). Bresson has also been referred to as the most religious of filmmakers, and in some quarters, as the patron saint of cinema. Although some have claimed Breton considered himself a Christian atheist, his statements, which echo tenets of process theology, contradicts that thesis. Likewise, Breton’s diminutive oeuvre is too mosaic for such a condensed assessment. His prevalent theme is an aesthetic Catholicism, which was shaped by religious upbringing, Jansenism, and a year spent as prisoner of war (an experience indirectly explored in … Continue reading ROBERT BRESSON’S DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST (1951)

CARL THEODORE DREYER’S DAY OF WRATH (1943)

Carl Theodor Dreyer‘s Day of Wrath (1943) is an undeniable masterpiece that should be required viewing. It’s bleak as hell; a kind of synthesis of Rembrandt and Nathanel Hawthorne filtered through a lens of wrenching pessimism. After viewing, you’re likely to break out in a sweat and be reduced to incoherent mumbling. If you’re brave enough to attempt a second viewing, wait twenty-five years. It’s that intense: the most somber opus in this unrelentingly somber filmmaker’s oeuvre. As in virtually all of Dreyer’s work, Day of Wrath (the title is taken from the hymn “Das Irae,” used in requiem masses) highlights … Continue reading CARL THEODORE DREYER’S DAY OF WRATH (1943)

“Justification By Imagination: The Marian Art Of Thomas Merton” (Alfred Eaker’s Masters Thesis)

January 31st is the 100th birthday of Thomas Merton. In honor of his centenary, the following is an excerpt from my Master’s Thesis: Justification By Imagination: The Marian  Art Of Thomas Merton.  The thesis was approved by Drs. Frank Burch Brown, Marti Steussy, and Lorna Shoemaker. Introduction: Opening Merton It is, perhaps, apt that Thomas Merton’s Marian art is primarily concealed—much as the Marian figure is in the gospels. The bulk of Merton’s Marian drawings reside at the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. Little of that art has been published. To approach it, one must first … Continue reading “Justification By Imagination: The Marian Art Of Thomas Merton” (Alfred Eaker’s Masters Thesis)

MARY AND THE CATHOLIC IMAGINATION: AN IMAGINATIVE GEM

A sublime manifesto. Brief, but no mere trifle. Simultaneously lucid and poetic, Wendy M. Wright’s “Mary and the Catholic Imagination” dips its pen into a desperately needed Sophiastic inkwell. An excerpt from her introduction: “I encountered the fascinatingly polymorphous religious symbol and touchingly intimate presence who answers to the name of Mary…She occupies a generous space in the hearts of those who speak tom look to, identify with, implore, honor, and hope in her. In a conceptual world in which sacred presence is powerfully sensed, she is among those presences most poignantly and deeply felt.” That last line could just … Continue reading MARY AND THE CATHOLIC IMAGINATION: AN IMAGINATIVE GEM

The Annunciation, Stations of the Cross, Pieta.

The Annunciation, Stations of the Cross, Pieta. In The Mary Myth, Andrew Greely writes, ” The Marian symbol is surely one of the most powerful symbols in the Western Tradition. Virtually every major painter from the fifth to the sixteenth century painted at least one Madonna. The Marian paintings and poetry tell us far more about the power and meaning of the Madonna than theology books could possibly portray.  Art is much better at conveying limit-experience than scholarly theology.” [1] Last year, at the beginning of seminary, I began a series of works on canvas, entitled Stations to parallel my … Continue reading The Annunciation, Stations of the Cross, Pieta.

Fr. Justin Belitz O.F.M. Success:Full Relating (Spirituality for the 21st Century and Beyond) Australia Retreat

Fr. Justin Belitz O.F.M.. The above are images from his retreat at the Infant Jesus Parish in Morley Western Australia, April 2010. In March, 2011 Fr. Justin returned to the parish for a follow up retreat. Fr. Justin’s retreat centers around the teaching of his latest book, Success:Full  Relating. This is Fr. Justin’s third book in the success series. It is a guide to successful life goals and relationships. Success:Full Relating is also the most theological of his books, outlining the matriarchal/creation model of spirituality and the patriarchal/ fall/redemption model. Fr. Justin’s approach is lucid, optimistic, and inspiring. Fr. Justin … Continue reading Fr. Justin Belitz O.F.M. Success:Full Relating (Spirituality for the 21st Century and Beyond) Australia Retreat

OUR LADY: CATHOLICISM’S DIAPHANOUS ADAGIO

“Our Lady of the Mermaids.” © 2011 Alfred Eaker When it comes to Mariology, even self-proclaimed liberal, protestant denominations passionately raise objections towards the Catholic tradition of elevating Mary to the level of near goddess, arguing that she is an impossible role model for women (being both virgin and mother) and, understandably, resisting the ultra right’s tendency to use her image as a suppressive, brow-beating weapon. Certainly, Marian symbology has often been used as a correctional tool, something akin to a “What Would Mary Do?” motivational. Mary, in her ever-virginal state, has often been reduced to bumper sticker theology, in … Continue reading OUR LADY: CATHOLICISM’S DIAPHANOUS ADAGIO