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Passion Triptych

April 3rd, 2019

Passion Triptych

Something to think and pray about-From the Irish Jesuit website, Sacred Space
The Stations of the Cross is ultimately a journey of self-emptying. As we walk with Jesus toward Calvary, we see that he keeps leaving more and more of his old life behind. He lost most of his friends, his popularity, his clothes, his dignity, and his life. Yet all of this allowed Jesus, supported by beams of wood, to rely solely on God the Father.
Is this how Jesus wanted things to end? We can say that, because he was God, this is absolutely the way he wanted it. But if we’re being honest, then the best we can say is that we just don’t know. We have to remember that, at the start of the Stations, Jesus acts a lot like you and me. He prays to God to spare him from being put to the test. He doesn’t want to suffer. But he knows that his life is not about him. “Yet not my will,” Jesus says, “but your will, Father.”
We, too, leave things behind as we make our way along the path we’re given in this life. It’s been said that there will be a time when the world stops giving us things and starts taking them away. We know that as we get older we may leave behind loved ones, old friends, homes, jobs, our health, our hair, our enthusiasm, and our memories. Yet as in Jesus’ life, all these losses bring us closer not to self-reliance, as Henry David Thoreau might have it, but to God-reliance. The deeper awareness that comes from meditating on the Stations sets us free from having the world just the way we want it. Our expectations, or rather our attachments to our expectations, become barriers to joy.

—Excerpted from Station to Station

San Jose Sombra Del Padre

April 3rd, 2019

San Jose Sombra Del Padre

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interest and desires.
Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him close in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.

Blessed William Hart 1558

April 3rd, 2019

Blessed William Hart 1558

Blessed William Hart 1558
15 March 1583
Diocesean Priest And Martyr
(On Asking Our Dear Brother In Heaven For A Commitment Not To Give Up And To Continue To Try And Live In God/Love)
“Everybody looks so ill at ease, so distrustful, so displeased, running down the table I see a borderline...”
Joni Mitchell, from the song, “Borderline” 1994
“As a hart longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God ?”
Psalm 42
“The joy of this life is nothing; the joy of the afterlife is everlasting.”
Blessed William Hart
William Hart was born in Wells, Somerset, he studied at Oxford, and there became a convert to Catholicism. He then studied for the priesthood at Douai, Reims, and Rome. After receiving Ordination in March 1581, he went back to England and ministered to Catholics in hiding, such as the family of St Margaret Clitherow, also to Catholic prisoners in York Prison. He was betrayed to English authorities by an apostate on Christmas Day, in 1582, at St Margaret’s estate. He was hanged, drawn and quartered, at York on March 15, 1583 and beatified by Pope Leo XIII In December 1886.
Taken from :
The Lives of the English Martyrs , volume 2, by Dom Bede Camm, OSB,
London, 1905.
(There are more “wonders” you can read about William on the Internet.)
I was supposed to be named William Henry after my grandfather, Billy and Uncle Bill.
My Mother Marjory Hart McNichols told me the story, that after I was born her Mother ,Mimi Hart (who died in 1950, a year after I was born)called Mom and asked her to name me William Hart instead. That name has affected me positively all my life in such wonderful and mysterious ways. In fact, it led to my deeply loving, supportive and lasting friendship with my cousin Kathi Hart. We used to write each other letters and on the envelope we’d put, “from a Hart-to a-Hart.” We also talked on the phone almost everyday from age 9 until 17. I can’t imagine how I would have gotten through grade school or high school without her tremendous God-given gift of humor making me laugh, (even at myself - up to this very day) and unconditional love.
I learned much later , that a hart was an old English term for a deer. And so the thirsting deer became a symbol of my soul, and our souls, longing continually for the touch of God. St.John of the Cross was also fond of the symbol of the thirsting deer. My friend Christopher Summa made a film about my icons in 2015-16 called “The Boy Who Found Gold” (based partly on the great Jungian writer, Robert A. Johnson’s ideas in his book “Inner Gold”) and Chris uses the symbol of the deer to tell his story of my soul’s “journey in art so far” - but I know that all our stories are very similar, in that we are all in love with the God, know it or not, who gives us life everyday. We can feel this presence inside of us and with age ...... this longing grows stronger and stronger.
I have always been attracted to the English Martyrs and one night, up in my house covered deep in snow, in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico in 2011, after I’d been given my first iPad by my friend Maya Sharp, I stumbled across the name of Blessed William Hart. I did drawings for his icon then, but could only get the chance to paint him after I moved to Albuquerque in 2013.
Dear Blessed William,
Give us some of your strength and faithfulness in following your vocation, as it was given to you; in the way you understood it and lived it with such youthful Wisdom.
Dear heavenly friend, help us wade through what we see as sometimes impossibly divisive and angry times. You know what it felt like to be on one side of a division so vitriolic and hateful, that it led to murders of Protestants and Catholics - all in the name of God.
Bring us out of this dangerous blindness by your loving heart. We don’t seek perfection, we can start anew each day - if that’s what it takes. But we do need the courage to find your way to keep an open and loving life inside of God in whom we live and move and have our very being. Maybe it’s a way in which we look at this life and all the turmoil, as fleeting and temporary, (“Dust in the Wind ...” as the song goes...) and yet we know how we try to continue to love each other lasts forever.
Amen, and “thank God (and you)ahead of time” as Blessed Solanus Casey used to say!
Fr Bill McNichols
March 2019

El Buen Pastor - Taos, New Mexico - The Good Shepherd

April 3rd, 2019

El Buen Pastor - Taos, New Mexico - The Good Shepherd


El Buen Pastor (Taos, New Mexico * The Good Shepherd)
...and some thoughts for the beginning of Lent .
The word Lent comes from the old English, “lencten,” which means”spring,”
*
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you,
you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you...”
John 15
*
“...here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the
bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which
grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars
apart
I carry your heart(I carry it in my heart) “
e.e. cummings 1952
*
“I am the good shepherd ... then Jesus said to them again, truly, truly, I say unto to you, I am the door of the sheep...”
John 10
*
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock : if you hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you with me. “
Revelation 3
*
“...finding
God
in agony
first but then
In
stars by night.
he (St Ignatius) began his mornings with
‘What shall we do for God today ?’
Letting the Spirit
blow
through his soul
as
wind through a field of poppies...”
From the poem Inigo de Loyola in the poetry book
“In Embrace”
by Fr Jim Janda + 1936 - 2010
*
I simply suggest we can begin this year’s Lenten Season in the same way, as Jim Janda rememberers St Ignatius, with ...
What shall we do for God today?
Fr Bill McNichols
Ash Wednesday 2019

Holy Hermitess Maria of Olonets

April 3rd, 2019

Holy Hermitess Maria of Olonets

Holy Hermitess Maria of Olonets + 9 February 1860
(Dedicated to all the brave firefighters who risk their lives daily for us)
Both Maria of Olonets (+1860) and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (+1824) died on February 9 and they share this feastday. It was difficult to pick one to show you now, because these women are especially powerful for us today. In some ways their lives , when you read them, are like the experience St Ignatius the Convalescent had reading the lives of the saints. At first they are bitter, but after reflection and prayer, they give you both life and strength. Catherine, who was bedridden, was given the Life of Christ (published today in 4 volumes) through visions as well as deeply moving information about many of the saints.
Writing these icons was a wonderful experience for me and one day I’ll write to you about Anne Catherine.
I chose Maria because three of her tiny hermitages were set afire or destroyed by fellow Christians . I thought of all the people who recently lost relatives and homes in the fires in California and elsewhere. Also the many winter fires caused by explosions from hurricanes and damaging heavy snows. I wanted to offer them a companion in their suffering, someone who truly understands horrendous loss and personal violation.
Here is a prayer I found online for the incredibly brave firefighters:
“Great God in Heaven, You alone know what today holds and I know that firefighters have a special calling to go into places that are often full of danger and there is always the
possibility for the unknown. Please help us all watch out for the safety of others in the performance of their duties in fighting fires and that I keep an eye out for others who may be placed in areas of danger. This calling God is from You and You alone and so help me to fulfill my duty and to do so in a way that brings honor and glory to You and Your Great Name and in the strong name of Jesus Christ I pray.
Amen”
Fr Bill McNichols February 2019

For the Feast of the Epiphany Christ Emmanuel-Cordero de Dios

April 3rd, 2019

For the Feast of the Epiphany  Christ Emmanuel-Cordero de Dios

For the Feast of the Epiphany
Christ Emmanuel : Cordero de Dios
(After the Russian Master, Simon Fyodororvich Ushakov : 1626-1686)
“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God...”
Mark 4:11
Transformation
I’ve taken long walks
craving one thing only:
lightening,
transformation,
you.
Adam Zagajewski
“O my love for the first time in my life, my eyes are open.
O my love for the first time in my life, my eyes can see...”
John Lennon
“The image of the master: one glimpse and we are in love “
Zen Poet Ikkyu 1394-1481
“God does not know how to be absent. That is to say, it would go against God’s nature to come and go. But we can be ignorant of this intimate presence and build a life-style that maintains this ignorance. St Augustine provides a hint as to why we experience as absent what is actually intimately present. As we have often heard this monk-bishop put it, ‘You are closer to me than I am to myself. ‘ God is too close to us for our eyes to notice. The problem is not that God is absent but that God is so intimately present...”
Martin Laird, OSA from the book
An Ocean of Light
“In you we live and move and have our being.
Everyday we experience the effects of your love...”
Sunday Preface #6

For the Feast of the Epiphany Christ Emmanuel-Cordero de Dios

April 3rd, 2019

For the Feast of the Epiphany  Christ Emmanuel-Cordero de Dios

For the Feast of the Epiphany
Christ Emmanuel : Cordero de Dios
(After the Russian Master, Simon Fyodororvich Ushakov : 1626-1686)
“And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God...”
Mark 4:11
Transformation
I’ve taken long walks
craving one thing only:
lightening,
transformation,
you.
Adam Zagajewski
“O my love for the first time in my life, my eyes are open.
O my love for the first time in my life, my eyes can see...”
John Lennon
“The image of the master: one glimpse and we are in love “
Zen Poet Ikkyu 1394-1481
“God does not know how to be absent. That is to say, it would go against God’s nature to come and go. But we can be ignorant of this intimate presence and build a life-style that maintains this ignorance. St Augustine provides a hint as to why we experience as absent what is actually intimately present. As we have often heard this monk-bishop put it, ‘You are closer to me than I am to myself. ‘ God is too close to us for our eyes to notice. The problem is not that God is absent but that God is so intimately present...”
Martin Laird, OSA from the book
An Ocean of Light
“In you we live and move and have our being.
Everyday we experience the effects of your love...”
Sunday Preface #6

The Holy Family

April 3rd, 2019

The Holy Family

The Holy Family
from "Image to Insight" book
by John D. Dadosky
This icon was commissioned by the Holy
Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation
(Washington, D.C.) for the hospital by the
same name in Bethlehem, Israel, funded by the
Knights of Malta. As of this writing, their website
purports to have delivered sixty thousand
Muslim, Jewish, and Christian babies since 1990.
The hospital does not refuse patients and particularly
serves the Palestinian refugee community.
Patients pay only what they can afford. Located
near the place where Christians believe that Jesus
was born, the hospital embodies a sign of hope,
commemorating not only hope for new life in the
birth of a child but for the peace that is the fruit
of Christ’s reign—a peace for all peoples, especially
between the three religions that share the
same sacred geography.
Much of the inspiration concerning this icon
surrounds the figure of St. Joseph. Leading up
to its creation, Bill had been reading the eighteenth-
century mystic Maria Baij’s Life of St.
Joseph as well as a spiritual reflection titled Joseph:
The Shadow of the Father by the former chaplain of
Lourdes, Fr. Andrew Doze.
Private revelations in the Church do not have
an official status; any authority they have is mystical
and personal rather than doctrinal. However,
in Baij’s account, Bill found a welcome humanization
of Joseph, a saint we know relatively little
about. Her mystical account of his life makes it
easy to identify with him, as when she states, “It
was permitted by God that Joseph have this anxious
feeling constantly present within his heart.
Joseph accepted it with resignation and never
appeared outwardly to be restless or disturbed.”1
This passage reflects St. Joseph’s sense of responsibility
and his human insecurities at the responsibilities
that he was given.
Bill became further enthralled with the spirituality
of St. Joseph when he read the spiritual
theology Joseph: Shadow of the Father. Therein
Doze describes his unique vocation as follows:
Joseph disappears at the same time as Mary
and Jesus or, rather, Jesus and Mary disappear
thanks to him. He keeps in the background
and conceals at the same time. He is hidden
and he hides. His name is the present participle
of the Hebrew verb meaning “to increase”
and “to cut off.” Jesus will “increase” in
Joseph’s safe keeping, he will increase astonishingly
. . . meaning “to increase,” “to cause
to grow.” But truly, what first strikes us about
Joseph is a certain way of “cutting back,” of
taking away. He takes away the Incarnation
from our view. Bossuet expressed this magnificently:
“The apostles are lights to show Jesus
Christ to the world; Joseph is a veil to cover
him and, behind this veil, are hidden Mary’s
virginity and the greatness of the Saviour of
souls.”
To hide, to cover, to take away, by removing
this child entrusted to him by the Father
from a hostile or immature world; that is the
first strong impression the gospel makes on us
when we are searching for Joseph there.
Image to Insight book available at Tattered Cover in Denver and Amazon online.

Christmas card illustration 1987

April 3rd, 2019

Christmas card illustration 1987

Down in Yon Forrest ( An ancient Carol as sung by Joan Baez)
Christmas card illustration 1987
Down in yon forest there's stands a hall
The bells of paradise I heard them ring
It's covered all over with purple and pall
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything
In that hall there stands a bed
The bells of paradise I heard them ring
It's covered all over with scarlet so red
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything
At the bed side there lies a stone
The bells of paradise I heard them ring
The sweet virgin Mary knelt upon
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything
Under that bed there runs a flood
The bells of paradise I heard them ring
The one half runs water
An other runs blood
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything
At the bed's foot there grows a thorn
The bells of paradise I heard them ring
Whichever blows blossoms since He was born
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything
Over that bed the moon shines bright
The bells of paradise I heard them ring
Denoting our Saviour was born this night
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything

Our Lady of the New Advent, Gate of Heaven

April 3rd, 2019

Our Lady of the New Advent, Gate of Heaven

Our Lady of the New Advent, Gate of Heaven
from "Image to Insight book" by John D. Dadosky
In the winter of 1991, Bill’s work on an icon
titled Christ Emmanuel was interrupted by his
first and perhaps most important commission
by Cardinal Stafford of Denver. Stafford wanted
to honor the theme of John Paul II’s papacy of
the New Advent, which the pope pronounced in
his first encyclical Redemptoris Hominis (1979) in
advance of the new millennium. The pontiff concludes
the encyclical with the following words:
Only prayer can prevent all these great succeeding
tasks and difficulties from becoming
a source of crisis and make them instead the
occasion and, as it were, the foundation for
ever more mature achievements on the People
of God’s march towards the Promised Land
in this stage of history approaching the end of
the second millennium. Accordingly, as I end
this meditation with a warm and humble call
to prayer, I wish the Church to devote herself
to this prayer, together with Mary the Mother
of Jesus, as the Apostles and disciples of the
Lord did in the Upper Room in Jerusalem
after his Ascension. Above all, I implore Mary,
the heavenly Mother of the Church, to be so good
as to devote herself to this prayer of humanity’s
new Advent, together with us who make up the
Church, that is to say the Mystical Body of her
Only Son. [Emphasis added.]
Bill presented three images of Our Lady of
the Sign to Stafford to consider as copies for
the Lady of the New Advent. Stafford chose the
nineteenth-century icon of Our Lady of the Sign
to be the model. Bill chose the face of Virgin
Orans, based on a thirteenth-century icon, Virgin
Blachermittissa, currently in the Tretyakov gallery
in Moscow. He placed the boy Jesus in the oval
mandorla. Jesus holds the Colorado state flower,
the columbine. Behind the two figures are the
Rocky Mountains. The dark hair and skin on the
Jesus figure provides a more inculturated image,
reflective of many residents and immigrants in
the western United States.
The theology of the New Advent is encapsulated
in the following prayer, which makes up an
additional verse for the advent hymn “I Wonder
as I Wander”:
When the Angel appeared to the Virgin in
wait,
Her “Yes” was the opening of Heaven’s gate.
Blessed among women her child would save,
The children of Adam from sin and the grave.3
In the nineteenth-century icon, from which
this icon takes some of its inspiration, Mary’s
cuffs are gold. These reflect the liturgical vestments
of the Orthodox church when celebrating
the Eucharist. The color of her robe is purple,
which is the ecclesiastical color for the season of
Advent.
This image is part of an exhibit in Denver at The McNichols Civic Center Building through Jan 6
to buy catalog from exhibit go to:
http://www.lulu.com/…/light…/paperback/product-23861739.html
to purchase Image to Insight book got to:
https://www.amazon.com/Image-Insight-William-H…/…/0826359132

 

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