(originally written 26 March, 2008)
I just read chapter VII of Ian Morgan Cron’s Chasing Francis. The chapter was shown to me after a discussion of my hope and vision to use my art as a channel for God to plant seeds of truth in people’s lives. I think of Pablo Picasso’s quote that I read in Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev (a brilliant book) which roughly quoted says, "Art is a lie that reveals truth." Having read this chapter from Morgan Cron’s writing, I now want to read the whole book, which explores, through the framework of a fictional story, the life of St. Francis of Assisi.
Below is "The Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists" quoted within Morgan Cron’s chapter. I’ll let his words speak for themselves. . .
"In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the church needs art. Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. It must therefore translate into meaningful terms that which is in itself ineffable. Art has a unique capacity to take one or other facet of the message and translate it into colours, shapes and sounds which nourish the intuition of those who look or listen. It does so without emptying the message itself of its transcendent value and its aura of mystery. . . . In Christ, God has reconciled the world to himself. All believers are called to bear witness to this; but it is up to you, men and women who have given your lives to art, to declare with all the wealth of your ingenuity that in Christ the world is redeemed: the human person is redeemed, the human body is redeemed, and the whole creation which, according to Saint Paul, ’awaits impatiently the revelation of the children of God’ is redeemed. . . . This is your task. Humanity in every age, and even today, looks to works of art to shed light upon its path and destiny. . . . Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence. It is an invitation to savour life and to dream of the future. . . . Artists of the world, may your many different paths all lead to that infinite Ocean of beauty where wonder becomes awe, exhilaration, unspeakable joy." (115)