Father Simeon Daly, OSB - Finding Grace in the Moment: Stories and other Musings of an Aged Monk


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Perspective: an Essay on Looking at Paintings
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Recently I spent a good bit of time reflecting on the paintings in the Chapter Room at Saint Meinrad Archabbey. As I spent more and more time over each picture, it began to dawn on me that the artist was communicating with me. Many of the paintings were the artist’s interpretations of aphorisms taken from the Rule of Benedict.

In the course of his monastic formation, Fr. Gregory de Wit, O.S.B. had fixed in his head some basic Christian and monastic truths. Once he had hung them out to dry so to speak, they sat there ready to be interpreted again by the viewer. This was a keen insight for me. I was looking at the pictures and writing an interpretation for others to read. I saw myself in a long line of teachers, some of them, no doubt, from before the common era.

For instance the expression: “not to love much speaking,” is an insight of some wise man from the shadows who taught it to his disciples. They in turn wrote the dictum down and taught about the principle in the light of their master’s teaching. This process of hearing and recording went on down the centuries until Dom Gregory got his formation in Louvain, Belgium.

Now once more the digested truth is translated into a painting ready for a viewer to get the message and perhaps to pass it on. I feel privileged to have gotten these messages and am eager to pass them on
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