Embracing Conflict

#lent #becomingbetter #resolution #getafterit #getsome #bestiary #calligraphy

Once again the Lenten season is upon us. It compliments the season, where many of us feel the urge to clean, organize, in hopes of the beautiful new life of spring.

This picture, I thought, embodies that spirit.

It was made originally as a tongue-in-cheek gift for the president of our Catholic youth group. The quote matches his personality and seems fitting for someone who back in hight school claimed his mission in life was to conquer the world. Not sure if he still is focusing on that…

Hilaire Belloc with this quote seemed to nail the Catholic spiritual life, “The life of man is constant warfare,” (Job 7:1).

(His own pursuit of his wife required embracing some noble struggle and hardship! -He “sold all that he had” in order to pursue her from England to California, in an age where public transport was still very primitive. He was rejected, returned to England, and did it all again. She was won in the end!)

Whether you’re forming Lenten resolutions, or just simply trying to make your life brighter and more joyful, it takes a real confrontation.

You have to want to win, to be okay with whatever has to be done to get to the end goal. Tenacity and Resilience help make the conflict not so bad.

The Lenten resolution is all about focus on your mission in life: to go home to God. The failure of that mission is not an option. Lenten resolutions are like mini habits. They confront the reality of you, and then lead out like stepping stones to Him who is waiting for you.

Spring cleaning is similar. It’s facing the chaos, the clutter, the noise and figuring out how to go about being happier in your space, in your daily life. For, as Annie Dillard said, it’s “How you spend your life, is how you spend your days.”

The illumination of the quote drives home the spiritual layer of meaning. Christ, the white horseman in the Apocalypse, conquers sin and the devil, with the aide of his Mother, Mary. Man is released from the jaws of this death through his passion, death and resurrection.

The woman is at once Mother Mary, she who crushes the head of the serpent, and Holy Mother Church, who once we are claimed from the clutches of original sin at Baptism, gives us all the grace and guidelines we need to walk the path back up to our heavenly home.

Reflection on Holy scripture, John Dunne’s “Death be not Proud,” a few other ingredients, and the big beautiful book, The Grand Medieval Bestiary, all came together to provide inspiration for the illumination of Hilare Belloc’s quote. Thanks so much to my aunt Teresa for giving me such a mouthwatering source of inspiration for my art!

Before outlining. The paint was a blend of Acrylic and Gouache. The calligraphy was done with a nib that used to belong to my grandmother. Thanks Grandma!

Check out the close-ups:

And here it is, framed and ready to gift! It was well received.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Have a blessed Lent and make the best of the pre-Spring days!

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