The Way of the Cross… Through Art

coverwebOne of the more popular Catholic devotions during this time of Lent is praying the Stations of the Cross.  The Way of the Cross by Deacon Richard Ballard, Ruth Ballard, and Jody Cole is a beautiful companion to this great prayer.

Throughout the history of the Church, art has been used to foster the prayer lives of her members.  At one time, the Church was a great patron to the Arts…such as Michelangelo’s Pieta and the Sistine Chapel.  These works of art inspire contemplation and wonder at the beauty and majesty of God and His creation in our world.

Michelangelo's Pieta and The Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo’s Pieta and The Sistine Chapel

Even today, art is being used to inspire prayer.  Every year on Good Friday, I watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and meditate on its story to help me fully engage in the meaning of the day.  Classic films such as The Song of Bernadette and Babette’s Feast help us to go deeper into the mysteries of God.

The Song of Bernadette (1943) and Babette's Feast (1987)

The Song of Bernadette (1943) and Babette’s Feast (1987)

Deacon Richard Ballard and his wife, Ruth have compiled a beautiful book of icons to help us pray the Stations of the Cross.  Each icon, by iconographer Jody Cole, is written specifically for each Station, taking the reader deeper into the mystery of Christ’s life and death.

The Passion of the Christ (2004)

The Passion of the Christ (2004)

Art in all its forms, whether it’s icons, films, paintings, music, books, etc., should help us grow closer to God.  It’s time we have a new renaissance…one where truth, beauty, and goodness shines forth in all art forms so that when people see art they will be lifted in prayer to the One who is Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Himself.