Please take a few minutes to study the painting attached to this post. It is called “Christ Blessing the Children,” and I first saw it in Meeting God through Art: Visio Divina by my friend Therese Kay, a writer and artist I met online. Her book introduces the reader to an ancient contemplative practice in which meditating on art releases messages from the divine.
Okay, did you study it? Right. I don’t want to influence your own perceptions too much, so I will share only one of the many messages I got from my first encounter with this painting.
The distracted mother in the lower left corner, one baby in her arms and a boy struggling to escape in her other hand, caught my eye and touched my sympathy. Notice how she is trying to corral the little scamp with her knee. How many times did you do that with your runaway kid? All other faces are focused on Jesus, adoring and magnetized. Not hers. She is taking care of mommy-business. Her son doesn’t want to be there, unlike the other babies and kids. She would like to gaze on the face of Jesus; she wants him to bless her kids. But her son is not making it easy. Have you been there?
The artist could have left this distracted mother out and made all the gathered people look devout and focused. Oh, wouldn’t that be nice. But the message I got from the painting was this: Jesus intends to bless everyone in the painting, the focused and the distracted, the devoted and the rebellious. God loves all his creatures, all his people. Stressed out parents and rebellious kids are just as precious to God as the devout and focused, maybe even more so. After all, the shepherd leaves the devout to search for the lost sheep.
Messages of hope and reassurance like this fill the pages of Therese’s powerful book, Meeting God through Art: Visio Divina. I wish I had written this book, so I have no reservations about recommending it. Here’s a link to order it:order here