The Word Among Us

Advent 2009 Issue

An Artist’s Touch

By: Joe Difato

We are all familiar with the idea of “left-brain” versus “right-brain” thinking.

Those who are left-brained are more logical, while those who are right-brained are more creative. Well, my wife Felicia is an artist. She is a real right-brainer, the complete opposite of me. When we met at college, I was studying business, while she painted and studied art history.

A few years ago, Felicia and I were in Paris visiting a Catholic community called Chemin Neuf. One afternoon we decided to visit the famous Louvre Museum. Felicia couldn’t wait to see all of the famous paintings and sculptures. As soon as we arrived, her eyes widened. I, on the other hand, got bored. Within an hour, I did the logical thing. I went to get something to eat.

While on my way to the cafeteria, I thought about how each of us looked at the same paintings but saw very different things. Felicia’s gaze was totally focused. She could detect the artists’ touch and see into their minds. She was able to go back in time to the world of each artist and understand why they painted the way they did. She was immersed in it. Not me. I saw these grand paintings, liked them for a moment or two, and was ready to move on to the next one.

Gaze, Meditate, Contemplate. Every Advent, the church asks us to reflect on the infancy narratives, the stories about the birth of Jesus as told by Matthew and Luke. This year, we want to focus on Luke’s story and help you be more like Felicia and less like me. We want to talk about how Luke’s infancy narrative resembles a detailed picture painted with words.

A physician by training but an artist at heart, Luke wrote his infancy narrative so that we could contemplate the birth of Jesus deeply. He wanted his readers to appreciate this marvelous gift from God as much as he did. He wanted to take his readers deeper into his heart and, more importantly, deeper into the heart of God.

Luke wrote such a detailed account of Jesus’ birth because he wanted his readers to ponder each scene deeply. He wants us to go to the Annunciation and watch Mary’s surprise, and hear her questionings and her “yes.” He wants us to go to Elizabeth’s house and meet with Mary and laugh with them as the baby John leaps—though he is still in his mother’s womb. He wants us to go to the manger and rejoice with Joseph and Mary and the angels and shepherds.

So this Advent I want to urge you to let your right brain have enough time to soak in all that is contained in Luke’s narrative. Don’t be like me at the Louvre. Don’t just look and go. Gaze, meditate, contemplate. Peer into Luke’s mind. See what he is trying to do. If you do, you’ll discover new ways that the Holy Spirit will help you see Jesus more clearly and love him more deeply.

From all of us here at The Word Among Us, we wish you and your family God’s blessings and a most wonderful Christmas.

Joe Difato, Publisher | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)