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Number of Pages: 144
Vendor: Paraclete Press
Publication Date: 2018
|Dimensions: 9.00 X 7.00 (inches)|
Christmas can be a time of joy but also of tears, memory and prayer. Celebration does not always come easily.
In twenty-five illustrated daily readings we commune with Scripture and the wounded artists that gave the world masterpieces of hope: Gauguin, Tissot, Caravaggio, Tanner, Delacroix, van Gogh, Dürer. Weve heard the names. We recognize the paintings. But do we know the artists? They were flawed and often troubled people: a widower that saw a vision of Christ; a murderer who painted himself as Peter; a grieving father that drew his sons as Jesus and John; an orphan who saw his salvation in the Holy Family. Despite their woundsperhaps because of themthese artists achieved the sublime. Their humanity inspires us. Based on the latest research in history and grief, Wounded in Spirit returns us to where Christian art began. From mourning in Roman catacombs to works of the masters, we join the worlds great religious artists on their pilgrimages of hope and brokenness. In their wounds, in our wounds, we may once again encounter "God with us."
This glorious full-size hardback book (with a wonderful foreword by Philip Yancey) is the most beautiful devotional book of the season. Each meditation is paired with a moving reproduction of classic art, nicely reproduced on rich, glossy paper. In this mature and artful presentation, it reminds us of the early (now out of print) Paraclete classic God With Us. (That is still available in the "readers edition" that omits the artwork and remains one of our best-sellers in recent years with its literary ruminations and poetry and mature reflections.) Like that one, this is a treasure to behold.
Wounded in Spirit stands out not only because of the subtly lavish design but because of its amazing content and spirit. David Bannon writes from profound personal experience, offering ways to commune with God through Scripture. He also tells some poignant stories of artists who lived through great pain. He himself has gone through some very odd stuff, and much grief. His adult daughter died of a drug overdose even as his own professional life was in difficulty.
I could review this book in great detail, but I suppose you get the picture it is very handsome, mature, thoughtfully spiritual and honest about the great brokenness of our lives, of our society, of our times. This book will inspire in the deepest, truest sense of the word as it evokes ways to be honest about our sadness and helps us find Gods comfort (and joy) in this season. That is uses artwork to help us get there is such a blessing as sometimes words just fail. This book is a gift for the hurting, but a gift for any of us who feel what we feel these days. Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Books (Dallastown, PA)
"Christmas can be a time of joy but also of tears, memory and prayer. Celebration does not always come easily."
So describes Wounded in Spirit: Advent Art and Meditations, a gorgeous full-color art book to help the grieving get through the season.
I wish I had had this book six years ago, when my mother was dying. From diagnosis to death, it took just eight weeks, and it all unfolded in November and December. I was horrified to see degeneration from one day to the next: how could cancer spread that fast?
Advent is a time of waiting, I wrote then, but this kind of waiting is the worst of all. Waiting for the doctors phone call, waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for your life to irrevocably changeand not for the better.
One thing I hated about that Christmas was the false cheer that seemed everywhere around me, from the hospital hallways to the fast-food restaurants where I would pull through exhausted after a long day of caregiving.
I just could. Not. Think. About. Christmas. There was just nothing left in me to give.
The following Christmas, the first without my mom, was little better. It seemed like everything reminded me of her: the Advent calendar we would stuff each day with leftover Halloween candy, the ornaments she saved from my childhood that I was adding to my own tree for the first time.
It was hard. And I think it would have been better if I had been able to spend a little time each day that December with the new book Wounded in Spirit, by David Bannon.
If you like art and find that it feeds your soul, and you are struggling with grief as Christmas approaches, this may be the Advent book for you.
Every day there is a new artist, with one or two examples of their work and several quotations about grief and loss and love. Heres a two-page spread of a typical days meditation.
The liturgical season of Advent begins this Sunday, December 2, but the book is organized by the month of December, with the daily reflections beginning on December 1 and ending on Christmas Day.
Instead, the book focuses on what was going on in the lives of the artists themselves. The answer: a world of pain.
Some of the artists profiled here are famous for their suffering, like Vincent Van Gogh, whose infamous ear mutilation happened the day before Christmas Eve. But many are painters Ive never heard of, and their stories are heartbreaking. Nineteenth-century French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau lost four of his five children, and his depiction of Adam and Eve discovering the body of their dead child Abel
They lost spouses, friends, and especially children; their art reflects this. The painting of the twice-widowed Francisco de Zurbarán "hints at his sorrow" and points always to kindness between his subjects, which Bannon says is characteristic of those who have grieved many losses. "Studies show that there is often a sense of transcendence or transfiguration in the hearts of the bereaved: in their search for meaning they turn outward, commiserating with the suffering of others."
Or, as Richard Rohr puts it in one of the books well-chosen quotations, "I think your heart needs to be broken, and broken open, at least once to have a heart at all or to have a heart for others."
This Advent, may you work through grief and beauty simultaneously. God is good. Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood, Religion News Service
Author: David Bannon
Submitted: December 10, 2018
What was your motivation behind this project? After my daughter died, I sought solace in reading about others who knew similar grief. Many creative artists endured terrible losses and found ways to express their wounds and hopes in painting, sculpture, poetry, prose and music. One need not have suffered to create great art but I believe that great artists communicate truth in their work. Truth can be painful. It can also be joyous, hopeful, sorrowing and profound. Great art speaks to us across the centuries. It reminds us that we are not alone.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? Some hurts are so deep that the wounds will remain with us all our lives. We each grieve in our own way—no one can know our individual sorrow. At the same time, others have traveled their own paths, stumbling and crawling, through the same dark valley. Somewhere in this book readers may discover an artist, a painting, or a bit of grief research that resonates with them, that offers a communion of grief.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? As a child I wondered at the psalms of lament: why were they included in the Bible at all? Never mind the terrible sorrows of the prophets. Now I see. There is grief and harm and waiting in this life. There is also joy and hope of reunion—surely the very heart of Advent. Great religious art communicates all of this and much more that words may fail to express. In it we find recognition and, at times, precious moments of peace.