February 4, 2006

Our Father

Saint Teresa's Way of Perfection deals with the Our Father. Both John and Teresa used images in meditation, but cautioned against becoming attached to any particular image or painting. I rather think that this may be what some people meant by not focusing on the humanity of Christ. Not that we lose sight of His humanity, but that we lose our attachment to any particular idea of how Christ looked. In other words, we know that Christ was not a blonde European, or that he looked like the Christ in Dali's Last Supper, or even Da Vinci's, but that he was a Near Eastern Jew. The particular image of Christ, however, is not important. William Blake, in one of his poems, pointed out how someone might visualize Christ with a hook nose, while he, Blake, had the image of Christ with a snub nose, rather like his own.

The image to the left is sometimes known as The Ancient of Days. It is the frontispiece to Europe: A Prophecy by the poet and painter William Blake. You might have seen it as an illustration of God creating the world. But note the compass in God's hand. While the circle may be expressed as a transcendental ratio, there is nothing transcendental about the geometer's art. (Some mathematicians might argue that point.)

There is also a larger (1856 *2740 pixels, or about 4MBytes) version here. The larger version will open in a separtate window over this one.

What I would like, is to use the image as a springboard for meditation, and discussion. Is this your idea of God the Father? What does the Father mean to you? I'd like to avoid intensely personal discussions about abuse, dysfunctional families, and so on. The only family I've ever known to be functional was The Holy Family.