Contemplation: the Way of the Christian Artist

Something I have been doing to nurture my “inner writer” during the intensity of NaNoWriMo is to prayerfully re-read Blessed John Paul II’s Letter to Artists. I find this letter so helpful that I wrote a reflection guide for it (for myself as well as other artists), but I haven’t posted it here as I still need to obtain the rights to quote from the Letter. However, as I re-read the Letter, I’m reading and editing the guide–so maybe I will be able to put it up eventually. It’s been extraordinarily enjoyable and wonderful to read and ponder again. If you are an artist and a Christian, the Letter to Artists is something you simply can’t miss.

I am sure that every artist will receive something different from the letter. Each time I read it, I focus on another aspect. This time, I found the key to the whole letter in the first section (paragraph 1): Blessed John Paul offers contemplation to us artists as both our gift and our way.  Pondering this further, I daresay that the “way of the Christian artist” is contemplation. Contemplation is gift, practice, discipline… It’s perhaps the most important way we are invited to “share” in God’s creativity: to see the world through eyes of love.

On Thanksgiving every year, the entire U.S.A. attempts to practice a bit of contemplation–seeing the world with eyes of gratitude. In our traditional Faith & Film Nights at Pauline Books & Media, we use media literacy and a perspective of faith to look for seeds of the Gospel in popular culture. In our noisy, frazzled, lonely world, there are many ways “in” to contemplation.

Sr. Joyce Rupp, RSM, offers these insights about the spirit of contemplation.  What contemplative “slant” on the world can you (and I) practice today?


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