Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Art Journaling: A Prayerful Offering

There is healing in the process of doing something that you love and turning it into a gift for others.  Our church is close to St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown.  The Religious Ed Director of that church has come to ours several times to speak to our parents and offer us new ways of thinking about raising our children in our faith.  A few years ago I was lucky enough to be in attendance and I heard words that changed my way of parenting, and actually my way of living.

The director challenged us parents to bring God into our children's’ lives.  They will not see him unless we point him out day after day, miracle after miracle, small moment after small moment.  He is with us in the warm embrace we give one another before we turn off the light and say goodnight.  He is with us when we share a meal with someone in need.  He is with us when we honor those we love.  He is with us when we need him, and he is with us when we think we don’t.  
We are living in a world that is blocking out our God.  He has been taken out of schools and any public institution.  He has been marginalized by the mainstream media.  Our faith is continually under attack by the liberal agenda that is trying to force Catholics to provide funding for things that are unconscionable to those of our faith.  “Christmas” has been turned into “holiday” and the fact that Jesus is the reason for the season is all but forgotten if you visit a mall or massive chain store.  
When there is tragedy, when there is pain on a scale that is so massive it bears a crushing weight upon us, we ask “where is God?”.  We ask for prayers.  We ask for peace.  God has not turned his back on us.  Our task is great.  Our problems may seem us.  I remember that in this time, our God is greater.  There is no task to large for him to handle.  If we believe, and if we have faith, we will see that light burning brightly, it will lead the way through darkness.  
Our church has been collecting prayers to give to St. Rose of Lima Church.  They have asked the parishioners to offer something, a prayer, a mass, a rosary, a fast, in the name of those who are grieving, who are hurting, who are suffering. Our family offered prayer, as well as a special Mass Monday night in which Grace volunteered to alter serve.  She was hoping it would not be like the All Soul’s Day Mass where she stoically lit the candle for families who were openly weeping for their loved ones who have been called back home.  This mass was not like that.  It was not sad although there were tears.  I need for my girls to know that they can find peace and healing and comfort and community through Church, through our faith, through our God.  
I used this opportunity to create an art journal page that would serve as the card in which to share our family’s offerings.   The page is simple and childlike. To the painting, I added the name of the victims.  I then searched through my Catholic Newspaper for words that pertained to our faith.  A thick coat of Modge Podge sealed the words and some decorative beading.  A trip to Staples resulted in a beautiful color copy to which our prayer cards were attached.  This small tribute was laid at our alter during this memorial Mass.  It will be shared with the residents of Newtown.  It may or may not bring a smile or express our family’s condolences.  I hope it does.  However, it brought me and my family peace and in some small way, healing.  

The hurt remains.  The tears still flow.  I choose to look for the light to lead me through this time of pain.  I know that God’s candle is eternal.  


Anonymous said...

My pain is so deep from being a first grade teacher ( before homeschooling), to being a mother of a six year old, and from growing up 45 min. From this tradegy! I am so glad your family can contribute to the healing through your beautiful art. So, proud to read your blog every week!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous! :-)

Jessica said...

Thank you!

Jessica said...

Those are some pretty strong connections. Like you I was a teacher (3rd grade) and there were situations with children in DCF, in nasty custody battles, or literally in hiding from violent family members that made me wonder "what if?..." These teachers are truly heroes. They gave their lives for their students and in some cases died with their arms wrapped around them. They will be remembered. Their lives mattered.

This page did not begin as a tribute page, it just naturally developed into one. It is my little way of honoring their spirits.


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