I am trying to integrate my newly embraced artistic streak with my Pauline Apostolate. I’ve gone through this exercise in the past with my writing. I often fall in love with my creations, and put them out in the world to share with an audience. It thrills me when feedback comes in from random places telling me that I have succeeded in some form. During a spurt of poetic creativity in the late 80s-early 90s, I engaged actively on the Usenet rec.arts.poetry forum and achieved a certain level of appreciation/acclaim. I cannot underestimate the excitement I feel when I seem to communicate to another person that frisson that is the communion of art.
Art and God. They go together. Beauty and truth and goodness—heart and mind and will—Life and Truth and Way, the existential trinity of Jesus Christ’s Personhood.
All artists, regardless of medium of expression, want an audience and appreciation. All Christian artists work within a context of imitating the Creator. This is not the same as explicitly addressing a religious theme – not that there’s anything wrong with that (ask Michaelangelo)!
So I guess the trick with artistic creation parallels the trick with living the apostolate each day “until Christ is formed in us” (Galatians). The simple virtues (simply described, but the work of a lifetime to make habitual) seem to me to be the remedy and balancing force of the self-centeredness of the creating artist. And Blessed James Alberione seems to touch on this when he writes about mortification:
[Mortification] occupies all year round and all aspects of our person, as it is closely connected with the path of cristification. . . . It is universal. Any good, if you want to do it, requires either to deny something inferior or to make some effort. Universal because it extends to all being: mind, heart, will, fantasy, eyes, touch, language, memory, every passion. . . . The purpose of mortification is positive, that is, to cooperate in the right direction. The word sounds almost mortuum facere, that is, establish the will as the queen who can direct the eye, the memory, the language and the fantasy; now directly and now indirectly; as if they were corpses that do not oppose.
Donec Formetur Christus in Vobis, Blessed James Alberione