Saturday, 13 October 2007

New Information

Don't know if you recall my comments from a very early post back in September about the drawing on the left so I will refresh your memory: "This is one of my more popular drawings and it is also one of my favourites as well. I am not really sure what kind of flowers these are. The Latin name for them is Poeticus Recurvus. If you know the common name for them, I would really appreciate an email message telling me."

Well, today in the Toronto Star, I came across a small article that gave me the new information that I have been looking for since I did this drawing all those many months ago. This is a Narcissus -- actually called "Pheasant's Eye Narcissus". I pasted in the article for you to see!

Now, I am ready to begin showing you some of my holy cards. So -- this is a warning for anyone who is not really very interested in things that are too Catholic or even too Christian. I mean, it is simply not possible for me to talk about these drawings, and particularly the prayers that go with them, without talking about my faith.

Before I explain these drawings, I just want to mention the style. I drew two of these in the style of religious icons, but I do not consider them to be true icons. True icons are "written" by people who are trained in the art of icon writing and who have prepared themselves spiritually. I, on the other hand, simply looked at someone else's work and drew what I saw.

This first one I want to show you is called "Our Lady of the Empty Hands". It shows Our Blessed Mother with an empty space next to her heart, under her hands where her son was once held. On her arm is the crown of thorns from his crucifixion -- she has this "momento" left to hold onto, but it hurts more than it comforts. I drew this picture as the result of a dream I had a few weeks after my sister, Betty, died. In the dream I saw the icon which I later tried to draw -- I also saw the name of the icon in the dream.

The prayer that is on the back of this holy card tries to express how I was feeling at this time about my loss -- a feeling that I have since come to understand is true for most people when they lose someone they love deeply. At the end of the prayer, I put a statement of my belief about eternal life.

This next holy card is entitled "Christ of the Unanswerable Question". The drawing shows Christ in the traditional pose of kingship: the hand raised in blessing, the book of the covenant, the nail marks still showing in his glorified body. One thing that is very different, however, is that where a real icon would have the Greek letters, I have put "Why Me?" This is the unanswerable question. This card also flowed out of my experiences after my sister's death. As I talked with people about my own experience, many of them opened up about their experiences and so often -- even years later -- they were still asking the question, "why me?"

I, of course, cannot answer the question either, but I have chosen not to even need to ask it in the first place. Instead, I pray that in all circumstances I, like Christ Jesus, will be able to say "Thy will, not mine, be done" and like the Blessed Mother, "Be it done unto me according to your will."

Tonight's final holy card contains a drawing that you have seen previously -- one of the late Holy Father, John Paul the Great. I originally did this drawing for use on this holy card but have ended up using it as a cover for a greeting card as well when people have requested it. So, here it is as it was originally intended to be.

The Holy Spirit seemed to move so powerfully through this man. The touch of his hand could cause people to fall to their knees, weeping and praying. This is what I was trying to convey in my drawing.

The back of the holy card is a bit different as it contains a paraphrased psalm and a short prayer. The words to the psalm (131), by the way, are actually the words I wrote when I set it to music back in the 1970's.

I was very blessed to have been in Toronto both times that John Paul the Great was here: 1984 and 2002 for World Youth Day. He is someone else I miss very much, but I am so grateful for our present Holy Father, Benedict XVI.

So, tomorrow night, I will continue with some more holy cards. Meanwhile, I pray that you will have a quiet night and a Sunday filled with blessings.

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