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Gifting: How This Works

January 20, 2013

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It’s not often that I show a Spirrealism piece while unfinished, but this particular painting: The Weeping Prophet, seemed ripe for dialogue. It’s a 48 inch by 72 inch canvas, but I am zeroing in on the central figure for the purpose of this essay. What prompted this was an email I received on my etsy site, an online shop where I exhibit my Spirrealism pieces. I had a woman from a Catholic School ask if I would be willing to donate one of my paintings for a fundraiser at the school, which also has a church. An ikon, Archangel Salathiel, was of particular interest. The ikon is close to a thousand dollars. Either the woman thinks I am wealthy, or she was sending the message that her Religion needs to learn how to pray – Prayer of the Heart style – and is asking for me to help. Interestingly, this is not the first Catholic to come to my site for something. Some have even been a bit demanding. Now, imagine going into an artist’s personal studio and asking the artist if she would donate a thousand dollars to Religion. One person said, “Maybe she thought you were Catholic.” This made me laugh. Do Catholics assume those in spiritual art are Catholic. I don’t have a Catholic bone in my body. In truth, my ikons are much more Orthodox.

I prayed on these exchanges, and what came forth may or may not surprise you. First, I spent time on a few threads devoted to Catholic Reform. What became immediately clear to me is that you cannot reform the unreformable. This goes back to what I have shared in Why a Secret? Parts One and Two. It’s not about reform; it’s about renewal, and renewal comes through self-knowledge. One must enter a state of metanoia  – that gignesthai  – that he might enter into The Community, a fervent dialogue with God. And I can tell you from spiritual experience that you don’t come into this asking for a thousand dollar ikon, or the vision on Depth Ascension Prayer  by sitting in a Religious School badly in need of truth about who we are. Allow me to share:

ASCESIS

Ascesis  is a Greek word for training or discipline. The purpose of such training is to produce spiritual athletes. Ascesis in the Prayer of the Heart  (the Philokalia) is love for the beauty of God’s darkened image in man which it tries to restore to its original beauty through God’s grace and ascesis. A proverb says, “If you don’t wash out the stone and the sand, how can you get to the gold?” The Philokalia: Masters Reference Guide

Truly, it’s a calling out of oneself for renewal. Like two at odds, and meeting after school, these battle it out on that playground of the heartmind. And what is supremely important in this can be understood in the verse:

No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment ; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. Matthew 9.16-17

This understanding can also be found in Deuteronomy 22.9-11.

What needs to be a persistent calling is that a member within Religion cannot expect that the Religion itself, or anyone within it, can make this happen for them. The desire must come from within. Matthew 20.16 says … So the last shall be first, and the first shall be last. This can also be looked at this way: Shut the door behind you.

By handing over a thousand dollar ikon for a fundraiser in a Religious school does nothing for the school, and nothing for me. Honestly, donating spiritual art to one of the richest and largest Religions in the world does not score me points to get me through that narrow gate. And it teaches little in the renewing of the mind, unless … unless, these Catholics think the ikon itself has some mystical powers. Well, I must be honest and share … having hand-painted it, I have yet to see it weep.

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One Comment
  1. i think i heard about this not too long ago, still interesting though,

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