The picture that makes up the banner at the top here with all the books contains a pencil drawing I did in 1989, one of the first I attempted. I was a freshman and our teacher, Mr. Kellner, wanted us to choose something significant, something that meant something to us, so I chose this picture from a magazine to copy down in pencil. It turned out pretty good and I’ve always been proud of it, though it’s pretty yellowed and faded now. Not sure what that has to do with anything, but there it is. I wanted to write someday, and this was my first statement in bringing that to reality in a way.
So speaking of incarnational activities, I hope you’re all busy working on those works of beauty and wonder you’re dreaming of. I am. In case you’ve wondered, that’s where I’ve been.
This was inspirational recently: an essay first published over forty years ago by a British Dominican priest in the mid-twentieth century, recently reprinted in Image Journal. Here’s a rough, Message-inspired paraphrase:
"With all our sensory gifts, we have a duty, a responsibility to God and to the world he made for us to develop our appreciation and awareness of it. To be fully alive. Because of our self-awareness, we are between physical and spiritual: our involvement is giving the world incarnate meaning beyond simple physical fact. Our interaction with the world through our senses humanizes the world and deepens material reality. We are not only categorizing, domesticating, naming and subduing nature, we are naturalizing it through our experience. Our experience is what makes it nature. Man was first made to be a gardener, so his living turns wilderness and wastelands into fields and gardens. His art draws meaning from the chaos as the word drew light from darkness and separated, defined, and solidified reality. Developing the slow transformation of physical reality into spiritual meaning requires reflection, stillness, and receptivity. And our shadowed world of political fears, troubles and economic anxieties blind us to this deeper crisis of deadened senses. The human psyche is forgetting to contemplate. Only artists know this: that one must first take in beauty and culture and meaning in order to understand it, know it, and share it.
"Artists must lead the way."
Let that be your light today, skimming across the unseen page. Inspiration for ever-greater mystery.