Fragments of Light

Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Scandal of the Incarnation

Since God chose to enflesh the divine eternal Word in space and time, there has been initiated in human history the impulse in every age to analogously enflesh the Incarnate Word and the mysteries of redemption anew in gesture and sound, stone and wood, metal and paint, glass, clay, and fabric. In other words, not only must the Word be enfleshed anew in every age, there is no way not to enflesh Word anew in every age. We name this the demand of inculturation, the inevitable and ineluctable presentation of the Word in terms of and within the limits of the sounds and shapes, colors and contours available to artists and communities in their unique time and space in history. To make an image is to be part of God’s ongoing Creation and the ongoing Incarnation of the Word in every age anew. Artists are, by God’s grace and in differing degrees, evangelists in their times. They have the potential to unveil the mystery, to be instruments of epiphany. But the scandal of the Incarnation is that the Word becomes flesh in particular times and places.

—Andrew Ciferni, O.PRAEM “God’s Communities and Their Artists” in Beauty and Life

On Sunday, in preparation for Ash Wednesday, we burned the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday service. And so we begin again our trek into the mystery of the scandal of the cross become Glory. Whenever and however we enflesh anew’ the Word, creating in our art some new expression of mystery and epiphany we cannot escape traveling this road : that once again we are confronted with the humility of the Master of the Universe. Every creative work is a stop somewhere along this road.

Comments welcome.