Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dancing with the Holy Spirit: Arts & Faith

The drawings in the photo are by Osamu Nakamura, an artist who lives a simple heremetic life in the mountains of Japan.  The contemplative traditions course I taught a couple of years ago spent two days visiting with Nakamura-san, getting a sense for how this sort of life looked on a daily basis — and enjoying a chance to do some art ourselves in a place that was steeped in solitude and silence.

I had visited Nakamura-san's aerie a few months earlier, and shared the photos with a friend who is a stained glass artist, who then created a beautiful piece of stained glass that we gave to Nakamura when we returned.

Wayne designed the piece while on retreat at Wernersville's Jesuit Center, which had more than one connection to the class.  Much of Wayne's work embeds shards of the prayerful silence, as he reflects in a post earlier this week.

When I made the Exercises at Eastern Point, at the start of the retreat a box showed up, containing a note from Wayne (who had recently completed the Exercises) and a jewel-toned star.  It hung in my window throughout the 30-day retreat, a potent reminder of the beauty that comes from letting the Light shine through you, rather than bounce back.  And a reminder that many others had walked these paths before us, and were praying for all of us there.

Loyola Press is launching Arts and Faith this week, celebrating the myriads of ways artists wordlessly dance with God, collaborating in acts of beauty.  Like Wayne's stained glass, through which God and light both stream through, we are each works of art, collaborations between ourselves and God.  Go take a look, and see if you can find God streaming through the people and the beautiful things they create at Arts & Faith.


  1. I was so excited to see the debut of Arts and Faith - and this post is such a generous and rich introduction, full of its own art. This is all very sacramental.

    1. I love the idea of co-laboring in the work of beauty...