09 January 2015

Painting: 40 Days

Been working on this one for days. . .finally decided to just post it and see what it looks like on-line. Too orange. The original is more pink. Oh well. 

40 Days (18 x 24 canvas board, acrylic paint and ink)

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Coffee Cup Browsing (Terrorism Edition)

When the IRA was terrorizing London, I never once thought: "All Catholics must be terrorists."

But I'm not ready to sign on to the Catholic League position either. . . 

Nor do I trust the Left's hysterical attempt to hide that fact that the Paris terrorists preached their version of Islam while killing innocents.

But I will agree that Islam -- in its many versions -- is fundamentally incompatible with western liberal democracy.

Keeping in mind that our Media Betters have no problem whatsoever repeatedly lying about, offending, and attacking Christians (and the Church in particular) all the while twisting themselves into pretzels to avoid offending Muslims.   

In other Culture War news: Miami's archbishop requires employees of the archdiocese to keep quiet about their support for same-sex "marriage."

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08 January 2015

I am Here as Promised

Our Lady of Prompt Succor
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Our Lady of Mt Carmel Convent, NOLA


Our faith is the triumph that conquers the world. Not swords or bullets or boycotts or drones. But faith: our steadfast trust in God's promise that all we need do to win victory over sin is receive His forgiveness through Christ and live in the spirit of love he sent to dwell among us. John announces two triumphs when he writes, “. . .the victory that conquers the world is our faith.” There is the victory over personal doubt and delusion; and there is that victory's win over the world. The first win—the personal triumph—is won against the temptations fired at each one of us from the Enemy's camp, the steady pounding of noise, stench, illusion, and distraction. This battle is won when you and I return the enemy's fire with prayer, good deeds, compassion, and mercy. The second win—our victory over the world—is won against the besieging spirits of despair, hatred, violence, and self-indulgence. This battle is won when all of us together show those besieged by evil the power of hope, love, peace, and generosity. All who are begotten by God conquer the world b/c the world is always defeated in love. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran theologian martyred by the Nazis at Flossenberg in 1945, wrote, “Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God's will.” Courageously and actively doing God's will certainly entails avoiding sin but carefully maneuvering around temptations is only the beginning of holiness. When Jesus rolls up the scroll containing Isaiah's prophecies, he leaves in the air the ringing word of our mission: bring glad tidings to the poor; proclaim liberty to captives; announce the recovery of sight to the blind; release the oppressed into freedom; and declare a year favorable to the Lord. This is not merely a social justice mission or an agenda for worldly political liberation. That kind struggle hardly needs a Christ. The revolution we fight for seeks the overthrow of humanity's greatest oppressor: the Father of Lies. The one who impoverishes nations families with greed; enslaves the foolish with their own lusts; blinds the innocent with fables of pride and wrath; oppresses the many through envy and gluttony; and declares every year, every day good for rebellion against the One Who loves us despite our disobedience. Simply avoiding sin cannot spark a votive candle much less set loose a firestorm of holiness. For that we must seek to do the will of the Father. 

And what does God will for us? We already know that He wills that we live with Him forever. We know too that He wills for us to live lives of holiness in love so that His glory may increase among the nations. To see His will accomplished, we must, above all, love. Love Him and one another. We've heard this a gazillion-zillion times. It's almost become a formal noise, like the mumbled “hey, how you doing?” we use to greet strangers. But for the sake of Christ and the salvation of your immortal soul, listen: “. . .we love God because he first loved us.” If you love anyone—mom, dad, kids, spouse, anyone—you are able to love them b/c (for the reason that) God loves us all. IOW, when you love someone, you establish and maintain your participation in Divine Love. And it is only through Divine Love—God Himself—that we are saved from sin and made holy. This is why Jesus' announcement in the temple is so important: he is saying, “I am here as promised. The Word made flesh. Love given flesh and bone.” He shows us that we too can be love given flesh and bone. In fact, if we entertain any hope at all of eternal life, we will spend our days and nights finding ways to love better and more, much, much more. Do the will of the Father with courage. And each time you do, witness the Enemy's defeat by love.

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07 January 2015

"Their hearts were hardened."

From 2012 (with editions):

Wednesday after Epiphany
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Dominic Church, NOLA

What a sad indictment of the disciples. After Jesus calms the angry sea and rescuing his friends from a watery grave, Mark writes, “[The disciples] were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.” It is sad that they are astounded by Jesus' power to calm the sea and even sadder that they did not understand the signs given to them when he fed the five thousand. As sad as these failures are, it is saddest of all that their hearts have hardened against accepting the truth of Jesus' true nature and mission. What does all this sad failure tell us about the disciples? At the very least, we know why they were so frightened by the storm and by Jesus walking on the water to save them. With hearts hardened against both understanding and love, the disciples are left with no other way to see and feel the world than through fear. They are terrified at the prospect of drowning, and even the appearance of their Master on the waves is not enough to quell their fear. John writes, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.” Christ is with us. There is no place for fear among us. So, take heart! 

When we say that a heart has grown hard, we mean that it is no longer capable—on its own—of serving its spiritual function: it can no longer love; that is, it can no longer seat Love Himself at the center of the human soul. Without Love Himself seated in the center of our souls, no soul can begin even to dream of seeing and understanding the miraculous signs Christ performs, much less see and understand his true nature and mission. Without Love Himself seated at the center of their lives, the disciples are ignorant and loveless men chosen by Christ to learn and love instead of fear; yet, their fear is what keeps them from learning and loving. Their fear reaches its terrific peak at Jesus' arrest in the Garden, and they surrender to the temptation to abandon him. Only after the descent of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of love between the Father and the Son, do they find their hearts grown large enough to hold all the love they need to take on the Christ-nature and make his mission their own. But now, in a boat on an angry sea, they cry out in astonishment and fear, and they hear Jesus say, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” Take heart! Christ is with us. And there is no place for fear among us. 

Without Love Himself seated in our hearts, we cannot begin even to dream of seeing and understanding the miraculous signs Christ performs, much less see and understand his true nature and mission. And understanding that nature and mission is more than a matter of historical curiosity. By receiving his body and blood in this sacrifice of thanksgiving, each one of us who receives commits him/herself to taking on Christ's nature and to making his mission our own. We take one more step toward becoming fully human; that is, to becoming more perfectly human, completely giving ourselves over to the Father for His divine purpose. But fear stands btw each one of us and total surrender to God. The spirit of not-knowing-what-comes; the spirit of worry, anxiety, turmoil floats there tempting us to run, to just give up. And no amount of argument, evidence, or tears will move us around those gnawing spirits. John tells us, “. . .one who fears is not yet perfect in love.” So, we know that perfect love moves fear, and there is only one Perfect Love: God Himself. Thanks be to God that Christ is with us always. Now, take one more step toward becoming Christ for one another and banish fear forever.

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Four New Paintings

The first three are mixed paint and acrylic ink. 

 No Fear in Love (18 x 24 canvas board)

 Beloved (18 x 24 canvas board) SOLD

 Do Not Be Afraid (18 x 24 canvas board) RECYCLED

 Fourth Watch (16 x 20 canvas board)

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06 January 2015

Mendicant Thanks

A Mendicant New Year Thank You Shout Out to:  Michelle R and Matheus T for hitting up the BLICK Wish List and sending me some acrylic goodies. 

And another thanks to M.R. for pointing me toward Blick's as a cheaper source of art supplies.

I'm experimenting with acrylic inks right now, and I hope to have pics of three new paintings up by tomorrow morning!

God bless, Fr. Philip, OP


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