“Art should inspire the viewer, ideally raise the consciousness and elevate the mind to think of higher things like the beauty and mystery of the natural world, to contemplate the deep questions as to purpose and meaning, like ‘What is the origin of this life? What is Reality? What are we to do? Questions that have no easy answer but require a personal journey of developing awareness”Terence Michael Fyffe
I was reading a prayer written by Rabindranath Tagore called
‘With the Light of the New Sun’:
“Remain in joy at all times in the world fearless and with a heart pure
Awake in joy in the morning, work in joy,
in songs of joy return home in the evening.
Remain in goodness in crisis and affluence,
in disgrace and dishonour remain in joy.
In joy remain by pardoning all,
in drinking peace in the fountain of nectar for ever”
– by Rabindranath Tagore
I remain in joy as I remember my Mr Fyffe today. 2 years have passed yet I remember it like it was yesterday. May you continue to drink peace at the fountain of nectar for ever.
Today, as we are still in Covid-19 lockdown in the UK, and the churches are closed, I tuned in to a livestream Mass with a church I used to visit regularly for a time, St Cecelia & St Anselm, Holborn, London. The priest made an interesting comparison between the Feast of Pentecost (today May 31st 2020) and sunbathing in the park (there is currently gloriously hot sunshine today).
The Holy Spirit is first and foremost a Creator Spirit, hence Pentecost is also a feast of creation. For us Christians, the world is the fruit of an act of love by God who has made all things and in which he rejoices because it is “good”, it is “very good” as the creation narrative tells us (Genesis 1:1-31). Consequently God is not totally Other, unnameable and obscure. God reveals himself, he has a face. God is reason, God is will, God is love, God is beauty. Faith in the Creator Spirit and faith in the Spirit whom the Risen Christ gave to the Apostles and gives to each one of us are therefore inseparably united. The Gospel passage offers us a marvellous image to clarify the connection between Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father: the Holy Spirit is portrayed as the breath of the Risen Jesus Christ………the breath of God is life. Now, the Lord breathes into our soul the new breath of life, the Holy Spirit, His most intimate essence……Pope Benedict XVI – taken from the introduction to Pentecost Sunday in the 2012 CTS New Daily Missal People’s Edition p. 401
He explained how the simple act of sunbathing opens us up and relaxes us. The feel of the warmth and sun on your skin is delightful, and you start to feel better, perhaps with a lighter, more relaxed mood and you breathe into it, into that feeling of soothing, relaxation; drinking in the goodness of the sun.
Receiving the Holy Spirit could be described in a similar way, and I’m inclined to agree with the priest. I know how I feel when the sun is upon me. I feel as though it is God’s radiance upon my face, shining His light and His love all over me. We can choose to be open to receive the Holy Spirit and all the wonderful gifts that come with it.
The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit are :
- Wisdom – Lord help me to see life as you wish me to
2. Understanding – help me to understand my life and the world around me
3. Right Judgement – help me to make right decisions
4. Courage – help me to proclaim the wonderful things God has done in my life. The spirit of Courage sets us free from fear…..
5. Knowledge – the more open we are, the more knowledge we can receive
6. Reverence – help me to have huge reverence for my Creator, for God among us in our midst
7. Wonder & Awe – how wonderful you are Lord! How wonderful to be in your Presence in every moment of every day!
We can pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
How can I know that the Holy Spirit is increasing in me? Well, you can look for the Fruits of the Holy Spirit in your life appearing.
The 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit are:
Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Long-suffering, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Self-Control, Chastity.
Terence embraced the wonder & awe of our Creator in his everyday existence, especially remarking on the sky, the clouds and the beauty and light he saw in nature all around us. I see that wonder & awe expressed in this very special painting of Pentecost, which meant to so much to so many people who enjoyed seeing the painting in their place of worship every Sunday.
During the Easter Vigil, the Church reads the account of creation as a prophecy. In the Resurrection, we see the most sublime fulfilment of what this text describes as the beginning of all things. God says once again: ‘Let there be light!’ The Resurrection of Jesus is an eruption of light. Death is conquered, the tomb is thrown open. The Risen One himself is Light, the Light of the world. With the Resurrection, God’s light spreads throughout the world and throughout history. Day dawns. This Light alone – Jesus Christ – is the true light, something more than the physical phenomenon of light. He is pure Light: God himself, who causes a new creation to be born in the midst of the old, transforming chaos into cosmos”Pope Benedict XVI, extract from introduction to the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, from the CTS New Catholic Daily Missal 2012
The true, pure Light, Jesus, is depicted beautifully in Terence’s painting ‘Cosmic Cross’. There are so many layers and so much symbolism in this piece from the Painting the Light series of paintings. I see the universe depicted in the deep blue circular background; the radiant light of the Cross with its reach spanning the universe, the different fragments of colour and the spheres of life in the background; the white circular centre of the the Cross could be interpreted as the Source; and if you are a Catholic Christian like us then you’ll see the significance of the ‘host’, which is the small circular wafer of bread which we receive as Jesus during the Mass; the overall radiance expresses Joy and Soul Harmony and Vibrant Peace. It shows Life as Light.
What do you see?
On Holy Saturday, the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb in prayer and fasting, meditating on his Passion and Death and on his Descent into Hell, and awaiting his Resurrection.
The painting ‘Christ in Hell’ gives us a perfect visual for our meditation. At first glance, it may be disturbing to you, as it was to me when I first saw his painting all those years ago. But that is exactly why this is such a powerful piece.
What happened to Jesus after he died on the cross? This is Terence’s interpretation. It is a triptych and this is the Central Panel.
I see, Jesus conquering Death. The pain and suffering, the torment of our inner demons, the anguish of loss and despair, the hatred that consumes the world, the desires we have that slowly cause us to decay, that we want to stop having but don’t know how, the incessant distractions of meaningless stuff that keep us from achieving a state of Being and joy………. the radiant blue light of His Presence permeates everything….. brings peace and soothing to everything ……….including Death.
What do you see? What do you feel?
It strikes me that this Good Friday, April 10th 2020, in the midst of global lockdown during COVID-19, is a truly symbolic celebration with meanings for us all.Tessa Fyffe
The Gospel according to John chapter 18 verse 1 to chapter 19 verse 42 contains The Passion of our Lord. Here are some extracts.
19:17….So they took Jesus and led Him away; so He went out, bearing His own cross, to the spot called, The Place of the Skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha.
v18. There they crucified Him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.
v19. Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross, it read ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews’.
v25……but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
v30…….Jesus said “It is finished”, and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
It strikes me that this Good Friday, April 10th 2020, in the midst of global lockdown during COVID-19, is a truly symbolic celebration with meanings for us all.
Perhaps the death of Jesus on Good Friday can be aligned to the changing face of life on earth as we know it…….the winter before the springtime…….the pain that comes before birthing new life……. the darkness of sickness before the light of restoration and healing……the cycle of death and life.
By immersing ourselves into the pain and humiliation and torture and suffering and ultimately, the death of Jesus, we can also imagine a death to those parts of our lives that bring us down, the habits that harm our minds and bodies, the choices we have made that have brought us to a low point in our lives, that we want to change.
We are the hidden faces at the foot of the cross in Terence’s painting above. Look at it……….. you can leave all those bad choices, habits, people, at the foot of the cross. You can make a decision to do that today. You can intend to throw off all your excess baggage that is preventing you from running the race of your life. Let it all die, with Jesus, on the cross. Leave it at the foot of the cross.
Intend to start afresh…………and start a ‘new’ life, as Jesus does for us all when he conquers death and is risen on Easter Sunday.