Sunday, January 11, 2009

Baptism, Renewal, and Your One Wild and Precious Life

Hello lovies,

Today is the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. I knew I was in for a treat when I walked into Mass (late, Lord, have mercy!) and Fr. Gary was sprinkling everyone with holy water. Before the Eucharist we all renewed our baptismal vows, and were sprinkled with the holy water and washed clean again. I mean, you totally got a lot of chances to get it right today! Lovely. So nice to be freshened up!

Fr. Gary's homily was about Jesus' humility in submitting to baptism even though He was sinless. It made me reflect on my own life. I think it takes a certain degree of humility to do anything beautiful for God. We have to submit not only to a washing away of our sins, but also the death of our ego and desire to do things mywaymywaymyway! After His baptism Jesus began His public ministry, and once again, I pondered my own ministry. What do you want me to do, Jesus?

I ask myself this question so often. Right now some of the big picture is clear. I know I want to relieve the suffering of the poor Christ as I find Him in others. I want to open an artful house of hospitality. I know I was given a gift of words and I should write. These are my big desires. In a way, they feel like the common sense things I'm supposed to do considering the gifts and loves I've been possess. I want to use these hungers and abilities for God's glory, but the question, what do you want me to do, Lord? keeps churning in my soul, parts still unanswered, as if there are possibilities I've never dreamed of and today they are out of reach. I want to be open. Even what I believe I'm supposed to do deep down in my soul can be--should be!-- humbled, and washed clean. I want to keep saying an unmistakable YES, even when confronted with mystery.

The feast of the Baptism of Our Lord is the end of the Church year for Catholics. We've waited through Advent, celebrated the Christ Child by offering Him our gifts for Epiphany, and now, we take our gifts and submit them to Him and His Spirit. We've died with Christ in baptism, and we rise again, our Father pleased with us. Amen!

Tomorrow is the beginning of ordinary time. I wanted to end this church year meditatively, affirming my heart's desire and highest hopes for the days to come. I made a 5x7 collage. I got ambitious y'all, and tried to fashion it as an icon, a whimsical icon, I admit.
Yikes, it's hard to do an icon when you really can't draw! It took me hours to make this! But I tried (I got a little help from tracing an icon by Fr. William McNichols). So, the icon is on tracing paper with watercolor pencils, paint markers, and gel pens. The nimbus is made of patterned scrapbooking paper. I used a big ol' purple circle that was part of the paper's design. Around the nimbus I wrote the words that represent what I believe I should do: writing, art, loving, healing, giving, creating. Just behind me is page of a hymnal with the lyrics to, "God Will Take Care of You." I believe this journey must be taken with faith in God's provision. Next I wrote the words in a paint marker, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me." I added hearts that remind me of tear drops with a paint marker, and to the side of that a stamp of a rose. This is to represent awareness of the passion (suffering) involved in sharing in the life of Christ. It also represents the budding of my truest true self. I also added another blossom at the bottom, and a colorful bird that appears to have risen from my hands. This, of course, is the precious Holy Spirit. I used a colorful bird instead of a white one because color is bursting in my soul. The painting has my favorite colors, in thick messy strokes. I don't mind being a little messy. That too, takes bravery.

Art teaches me so much, about the creative process, about courage, and about letting go of outcomes I cannot control. It teaches me to love the newbie inside who is making art like a child, without skill, but with great joy and attention. It gives me hope.

What about you? Have you thought about your own public ministry? In the words of Mary Oliver I ask you, "Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

Love ya!
mair-francis
P.S. Next...My weight loss art journal. Sounds like fun, eh?<--sarcasm goes here.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

And today Godmomma was the Rite of Acceptance for me. It was blessed and beautiful. I tried not to cry.

Love you,
Dusty

ragamuffin diva said...

It's okay to cry, beautiful. Welcome, welcome, welcome to the Catholic Church!

Love ya right back, Godbaby.

wilsonian said...

"I want to keep saying an unmistakable YES, even when confronted with mystery."

Wow, this is so powerful and profound.

I love what you've created here. And love that you're sharing your process with us. I can't wait to see your journal. Really. If it helps, let me know!!!

xo

ragamuffin diva said...

I'll definitely share! The biggest thing that gets in my way is my illness, but as much as possible, I'll make an effort to be present and available, and hopefully, we'll all be transformed. Love you, sis. I'm thinking of you daily as you prepare to go back "home." I'm trusting God will give us the opportunity to go together again someday.

wilsonian said...

Oh, that would be so amazing. I haven't given up the dream of hospice... that someday we might hold a saint as they're ushered home into Jesus' arms.

In the meantime, I will try to say 'yes' to what is in front of me.

laundrygirl said...

You amaze me.
I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. They came as I read: "I think it takes a certain degree of humility to do anything beautiful for God. We have to submit not only to a washing away of our sins, but also the death of our ego and desire to do things mywaymywaymyway! " because right now I see God leading me into doing what He wants me to do in this small town when I am still struggling trying to stop longing for my old life living in a big city.
I am excited about your creative journey and this extra layer of beauty you bless us with!
You are wildly creative.

Elysa said...

Truly beautiful...the visual art itself and the spirit and meaning behind it.

ragamuffin diva said...

I'm still going to have you on here, Kristine. I just have to get organized! Elysa, thank you. You're such an encouragement, and it's always good to hear from you.

Paula Clare said...

I LOVE messy art. I love altAred art...yours falls into that category! I "coined" the term altAred because all the art I create (sometimes pitifully) is put on an altar to God as an offering of worship. If your art is worship instead of art...it seems easier to be free and lose yourself in it...at least, in MY world that's the way things go...teehee