I have been reading a wonderful book entitled “Western Civilization: A Global Comparative Approach: Volume II: Since 1600” (New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2012). I wanted to read an intellectual history, a book that would relate historical events with what was going on in philosophy and other liberal arts when those historical events were happening.
Writing this series of columns on art and religious faith has helped me to appreciate art in a new way. The importance of the artistic vocation boggles my mind. In a previous column in this series I made a distinction between two types of judgment that might be made about a work of art.
I came across a statement by Mark Van Doren that I hope will shed light on what I am trying to emphasize in this series of columns on art and its relation to religious faith. Van Doren was a professor at Columbia University and was something of a legend as a professor.
It is fascinating to me that this series of columns on the relationship between faith and the arts has turned out to be a delightful trip down memory lane.
Perhaps it is due to my vocation, but I want to do this series of columns both as a confession of my own interest in art, film, theater, literature, music, and painting, and as encouragement for others to take advantage of the revelation of God that can appear in art.
In his “Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World” (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992, 156 pp., $17.95), Henri J.M. Nouwen offers insights into how we can make awareness of God’s amazing love for us the center of our attempts to grow closer to God.
While I am strongly recommending Henri J.M. Nouwen’s “Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World” (New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1962, pp. 156, $17.95) to many friends and to readers of this weekly column, there was one section of the book that I had to read several times to catch Nouwen’s point.
Moments ago while I was re-reading Henri J.M. Nouwen’s book, “Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World” (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992, $17.95, 156 pp.) a sentence seemed to leap off the page at me.
Early in his book, “Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World”(New York, A Crossroad Book: Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992, pp. 156, $17.95), Father Henri J.M. Nouwen emphasizes that we should believe as deeply as we can that we are beloved by God.
I have read many books since the pandemic began about three years ago. In some ways the pandemic provided me with time I previously did not have. The pandemic greatly limited my activities. For the last three years I have not been in a movie theatre, or given a talk in a parish other than celebrating the Sunday Eucharist.