Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Divine Artist


Caravaggio's The Martyrdom of St. Matthew

Readings for Tuesday, October 5:
Galatians 1:13-24
Psalm 139:1-3,13-15
Luke 10:38-42

A few weeks ago I reflected on an experience I had of studying a painting by the artist Michelangelo Caravaggio. I want to return to that experience, but now in a different light. Before I spoke about looking into the meaning of a particular painting, but this was only part of the assignment. The whole assignment was to research the painting, as well as the artist, and to be able to discuss it in light of the other works he had done. Essentially, we had to find out what are the characteristic elements the artist used and show how they were incorporated in the main work. As I began to study his different pieces of art, it was interesting to note that there were many similarities, many things that were almost universally present in his paintings. And yet there were also here and there little details that pointed toward something specific he had experienced in his life. In the midst of so much the same, there were little differences.

This is what struck me as I was reflecting on our readings for today. In the psalm we encounter an image of God as a sort of Divine Artist who creates each of us uniquely. As the psalmist says, God knits us together in our mother’s womb and forms our inmost being. If we look around, we can see some of the commonalities – obviously a physical similarity, a mental similarity, and because we are created in the image of God, we all have dignity as persons. And while we have these similarities, we also have many differences. We look different from one another, we have different interests, and we have different gifts. This is where the beauty really lies; it would be simple to make carbon-copies of us, but the fact that each of us is specially molded by the Lord speaks to the great love that He has for each of us as His sons and daughters.

As we celebrate this Eucharist, may the Lord, who knows us more deeply than we know ourselves, show us the gifts with which we have been molded and give us the grace to put those gifts to good use, so that we, like Saint Paul, might bring others to glorify God by those gifts.