September 2013

I Do Not Like Thee . . .

I do not like thee, Dr. Fell, The reason why, I cannot tell; But this I know, and know full well, I do not like thee, Dr. Fell. —Nursery Rhyme c. 1860 // We are enjoined to love one another. Thankfully, we are not commanded to like each other. Loving and liking are quite different orders of response. One abides; the other shifts about, subject to the weather of our lives and changing as we change. Georgiana Berkeley. Watercolor added to portraits of Louisa and Cecilia Cavendish (c. Continue Reading
Tu Belleza, Tu Misericordia

VII. Tu belleza se llamará también misericordia, y consolará el corazón de los hombres. —Gabriela Mistral, Decálogo del Artista The beauty that you create shall also be called compassion, and shall console the hearts of men. I painted that seventh commandment of Gabriela’s “Decalogue of the Artist” across the old built-in china cabinets that line one dining room wall. I sketched it first in pencil to get the spacing right, then brushed over the sketch with ivory black in a version of chancery hand. Continue Reading
Beauty, a Double-Edged Sword

What appears below is not what I had planned for today’s posting. The press release came through email as I was pouring my second cup of Barry’s Irish tea. Broadcast by the San Francisco MOMA. it is worth a look for a specific purpose. Beauty has become a seductive catchword among Christian artists. But. like any seduction, it obscures as much as it displays. Beauty is truth? Not necessarily; not here on the ground where Platonic categories smother in the earthbound air. Continue Reading
Matt Talbot

Within a year of Matt Talbot’s death, the first biography of his life appeared. Written so soon after death, the author, Sir Joseph Glynn, had access to people who knew him. Publication of that first brief version triggered immediate and wide-spread devotion. Matt’s pauper’s grave–since moved–became an urgent pilgrimage site. As early as 1931 the Archbishop of Dublin initiated formal inquiries into his sanctity and asked that any “favors” received through his intercession be reported to him. But how are such favors recognized? Continue Reading
Venerable Matt Talbot

Have you met Matt Talbot? I have just met him myself. Rummaging through the book bins in my local dump recycling center, I found a small red pamphlet Matt Talbot, Alcoholic. Subtitled The Story of a Slave to Alcohol Who Became a Comrade of Christ’s, it was written in 1947 by Albert H. Dolan, a Carmelite priest sympathetic to the labor movement of the era and to the newly formed Alcoholics Anonymous. The red pulp cover, the length of the title, the graphics, the old imprimatur by Chicago’s esteemed Cardinal Stritch—how could it be left for the shredder? Continue Reading