Tag Archives: art

Pay attention

Hans Leonhard Schäufelein (c.1480–1540)/Adam Petri (1454-1527
The Rich Man in Hell and the Poor Lazarus in Abraham’s Lap, from Das Plenarium
woodcut, 1517

Jesus said to the Pharisees: “Abraham replied [to the rich man], ‘Between us and you a great chasm is established.’” Luke 16:26

The great chasm is a lack of awareness. The rich man never noticed Lazarus. He didn’t notice Lazarus’ hunger, illness, pain — he wasn’t aware of his presence at all.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to pay attention to the people we encounter at home, at work, in the community, around the world. We are called to honor the dignity of all people and serve everyone in a respectful manner.

Today I will consciously take notice of the people I encounter. I will offer everyone a kind word and a listening ear.

God in the center

A.N. Mironov (1975-)
Parable of the Unjust Steward‎
Oil on canvas, 2012

[Jesus said,] “‘No one can serve two masters.” Luke 16:13a

Some nights the pain in my joints seems to take over my whole being, and it takes a while to come back to myself and pray for help. It’s times like these that remind me it’s easy for me to remove God from the center of my universe. Social media, my smart phone, a resentment I’m carrying, a task I need to perform, pain… anything can become an idol when I focus my energy and attention on it.

Today I will consciously put God in the center of my life by talking everything over with the Lord. I will remember God is love, compassion, wisdom, and always present to help me in difficult moments.

Not lost

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The Return of the Prodigal Son
drawing with pen and brush
between 1626 and 1669
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

[Jesus said,] “‘He was lost and has been found.’” Luke 15:32

I might feel like I’m lost, as if I have no direction, no purpose, no one who needs me… but whether I feel the Presence or not, God is always with me. I am never lost.

Today I will return to awareness, feel my breath, ask for help, and trust God hears, welcomes, and guides me home.

Carrying my own cross

George du Maurier (1834-1896)
Saint Paul in a Roman prison cell
with Onesimus.

Jesus addressed them, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27

We carry personal crosses such as grief, addiction, depression, anxiety, chronic pain and fatigue. These burdens can be heavy at times and we often wish someone else would carry them for us.

Although others may help and support us, we are responsible for carrying our own burdens. When we are able to live with patience and loving acceptance instead of despair and self-pity, our burdens seem lighter.

God’s kindness and compassion are always present to comfort us as we do our best to follow the Lord’s way of peace and healing.

Today I will take time to rest. I will ask the Lord to show me how to carry my burdens with grace and ease.

Listen

JESUS MAFA. The poor invited to the feast, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48397 [retrieved August 28, 2022].

An attentive ear is the joy of the wise.
Sirach 3:29b

Lord, today I will listen for your voice in sacred Scripture, in my heart, and in the suffering of the world. Help me to quiet my worries. Show me how to respond to the needs of the poor.

A journey of kindness

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Il allait par les villages en route pour Jérusalem
gouache over graphite on gray wove paper,
between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Luke 13:222

The Lord takes me on a journey every day. Sometimes we pass through times of suffering. Sometimes of delight. Sometimes of familiar routine. Wherever and whenever I walk with the Lord, he teaches me his way of kindness, patience, and compassion towards me and all those we encounter.

Lord, today I will walk with you. I will let you teach me the way of peace and unconditional love.

The Lord stoops toward me

Wikimedia Commons
Cloud of Witnesses

Though I am afflicted and poor,
yet the LORD thinks of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, hold not back! Psalm 40:18

With an open, broken heart, I ask the Lord for help and receive it.

Lord, today I will remember you are here. I am not alone. I will remember to keep you in the center of my life and suffering.

Wounded treasure

Jesus said to his disciples: “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.Luke 12:34

Today my heart feels bruised and broken. When I look for the treasure in that woundedness, I see Jesus, the One who understands suffering and heals it with love. I know I have nothing to fear.

Lord, today I will treasure my wounds and remember they unite me with you.

All in Christ

Gerard de Jode (1509-1591)
The Parable of the Rich Fool, 1585
Royal Library of Belgium

Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all. Colossians 3:11

We are the body of Christ. Christ in you. Christ in me. Christ in those I have a hard time accepting. Christ in those who resent me. Christ in our hearts, minds, bodies, spirits. Christ in all. All in Christ.

Lord, today I will let go of the Christ in me to bless everyone I meet wherever I go.

Seek God’s presence

Ask and receive

Jesus said, “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:10

Knock at the door of your heart. Seek the presence of the Lord in the goodness and love you find there. Confide your inmost longings to this holy presence and ask for whatever you need.

Lord, today I will trust that you are here in my heart, in the heart of my neighbor, in every bit of creation. I will seek your loving presence with every breath.