How an Artist can Seek Creativity and Inspiration

4 04 2011

Nearly every artist I meet acknowledges a need for inspiration to guide creativity. The application of every stroke of charcoal or paint must be guided by a picture in the mind of the artist of what he is aiming to create. Sometimes the creation of the work of art involves a carefully thought out, obviously reasoned approach and sometimes it is or more intuitive and spontaneous. However, as long as the process is the realization of an idea and not just a random process without any thought of what the result will be (as with a chimpanzee throwing paint at a canvas) then the artists is employing his intellect and is making decisions about the form he creates. Artists need inspiration in both the formation of the original ideas; and in the decisions about how it will be best achieved. Read the rest of this entry »





Compunction of the Heart – A Form of Meditation for Lent

29 03 2011

From: The Rule of St Benedict, Chapter 49 ‘The Observance of Lent’ ‘We urge the entire community during these days of Lent to keep its manner of life most pure and to wash away in this holy season the negligences of other times. This we can do in a fitting manner by refusing to indulge in evil habits and by devoting ourselves to prayer with tears, to reading, to compunction of heart and self denial’

A small group from Thomas More College of Liberal Arts went for an evening Lenten retreat at the Benedictine Abbey in Still River, Massachusetts. As in our last visit (link here) we arrived for Vespers at 6pm, and then were the guests of the community for dinner. After dinner we had a talk from one of the brothers of the community and after individual reading or prayer we went to Compline before returning home. Just as before, it was a great experience for all of us. Read the rest of this entry »





The Pythagorean Prayer of the Cosmos

22 03 2011

The powerful prayer for creativity and inspiration and joy, which is perfected in the Church (Others in series on Divine Office here) Since the ancient Greeks there has been the idea that the happy life is the result of a good life, and a good life is a beautiful life. In the 6th century BC the philosopher Pythagoras (the same one who has a geometric theorem named after him) gathered around him a religious group of ‘Pythagoreans’ who sought to order their lives according to this principle of beauty and order. They drew their inspiration from their observations of the beauty of the cosmos. When viewed in the way of the Pythagoreans, making our actions and work beautiful becomes a guiding principle in life, just like morality. Morality tends to guide by placing boundaries on our activity – it tells us what not to do. This is necessary. Beauty, however, complements this by providing a positive principle of choice. Read the rest of this entry »





The Unsurpassed Power and Effectiveness of the Prayer of Christ – Divine Office IV

18 03 2011

The Liturgy is the most powerful and effective form of prayer. This is the fourth in a series on the Liturgy of the Hours. The others are here.

The Liturgy (the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours) is not just powerful and effective. It is the most powerful and effective action of the Church on our behalf. Christ participated in it historically; and continues to do so eternally in heaven and on earth and we participate in His prayer through his mystical body, the Church.  Read the rest of this entry »





Prayer of the Heart – How to Engage the Whole Person in Prayer. The Divine Office III

8 03 2011


Engaging the Whole Person in Prayer  Opens us up Further to Inspiration and Creativity – The Divine Office III, part II here, part I here.

In the sight of angels I will sing praise to you (Ps 138:1). Let us rise in chanting that our hearts and voices harmonise.’ (Rule of St Benedict: Ch 19)

The heart is the human centre of gravity, our very core that incorporates both body and soul. It is the place that represents the whole person, the vector sum of all our actions and thoughts. If our hearts are to be in harmony with the prayers of the angels in heaven as St Benedict suggested, we need to consider not just our thoughts and voices, but our actions, our bodies and even how are senses are engaged in the action of prayer. Read the rest of this entry »





How all human work can be inspired – The Divine Office, II

3 03 2011

How busy people can strive for the ideal of praying continuously. The Divine Office for lay people, part 2 (part 1 is here):

St Paul exhorts us: ‘Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).

How can we do this? Read the rest of this entry »





Praying with the Cosmos – the Ancient Treasury of the Divine Office I

23 02 2011


An ancient beautiful prayer that leads us to joy, and opens us up to inspiration and creativity; part 1, part 2 here
The Divine Office (also called the Liturgy of the Hours), is one of the four pillars of the spiritual life of the new liturgical movement. This is the first in a regular series that highlight the riches of the the liturgy of the Church and how it is at the root of Western culture.

‘The Mass is a precious jewel and that jewel has its setting, which is the Divine Office. The Divine Office also has its setting, which is the cosmos.’ Read the rest of this entry »