[Art credit: Kirsten Van Mourick, The Psalm, 2014. Oil and gold leaf on canvas, 40″ × 30″.]
In Kirsten Van Mourick’s painting The Psalm, a female figure lifts up her tired eyes, pleading with God to speak or to act. Her hands are clenched but starting to loosen as she gradually surrenders to the Light. What we see clear as day—a glorious, enfolding gold—she is only just beginning to see. It was there, in her time of spiritual poverty, but its sheen was not visible underneath life’s circumstances. This wavelike experience of darkness followed by seasons of great light is characteristic of the Christian life.
In his poem “After the Night Office—Gethsemani Abbey,” the Trappist monk Thomas Merton reflects on the promise of God’s indwelling presence in our hearts and world, which prayer can awaken us to:
The Truth that transubstantiates the body’s night
Has made our minds His temple-tent:
Open the secret eye of faith
And drink these deeps of invisible light.
The weak walls
Of the world fall
And heaven, in floods, comes pouring in:
We find our souls all soaked in grace, like Gideon’s fleece.
This Lent, may God give us eyes to sense his lustrous presence that lovingly engulfs us; may our souls expand as we absorb his grace.
To view more of Van Mourick’s paintings, visit www.vanmostudio.org.
The Art Spotlights have been selected by Victoria Emily Jones, who blogs at ArtandTheology.org, seeking to connect Christians to the rich visual, literary, and musical artworks of the church’s past and present. She is currently working on a chapter for the forthcoming book Neo-Calvinism and the Visual Arts, and has just released a Stations of the Cross audio tour of works from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Follow her on Twitter @artandtheology.