In his meeting last Saturday with priests from the diocese of Caserta, Pope Francis shared that he finds creativity in prayer. In fact, he describes it as essential. People who do not pray have shut themselves off. Most would complete that phrase by saying “from God,” but the Holy Father says prayer is the path of creativity:
And how can you find this creativity? First of all – and this is the condition if we want to be creative in the Spirit, that is in the Spirit of the Lord Jesus – there’s no other way than prayer. A bishop who does not pray, a priest who does not pray has closed the door, closed the way of creativity. It is exactly in prayer, when the Spirit makes you feel something, the devil comes and makes you feel another; but prayer is the condition for moving forward. Even if prayer many times can seem boring. Prayer is so important. Not only the prayer of the Divine Office, but the liturgy of the Mass, quiet, celebrated well with devotion, personal prayer with the Lord.
Good words on the Hours and the Eucharist. But it is possible to be good as a church “official,” but yet be dry inside:
If we do not pray, perhaps we will be good pastoral and spiritual entrepreneurs, but the Church without prayer becomes an NGO, it does not have that unctio Sancti Spiritu. Prayer is the first step, because it is opening oneself to the Lord to be able to open up to others. It is the Lord that says, “Go here, go there, do this …”, you will be inspired by the creativity that cost many saints a lot. Think of Blessed Antonio Rosmini, who wrote The Five Wounds of the Church, he was a creative critic because he prayed. He wrote that which the Spirit made him feel. For this, he entered into a spiritual prison, that is in his house: he could not speak, he could not teach, he could not write…. Today, he is Blessed!
A brief summary of the man here, and a summary of the book that got the 19th century bishops and the Jesuits into such an uproar.
Creativity does not always lead to places warm and fuzzy and affirming:
Many times creativity takes you to the cross. But when it comes from prayer, it bears fruit. Not creativity that is a little sans façon and revolutionary, because today it is fashionable to be a revolutionary; no, this is not of the Spirit. But when creativity comes from the Spirit and is born in prayer. It can bring you problems. The creativity that comes from prayer has an anthropological dimension of transcendence, because through prayer you open yourself to the transcendent, to God.
It would be interesting to delve into the discussion of the phenomenon of the artist who does great work during a time of anonymity and even poverty. For the Christian artist, can one’s efforts be rooted in prayer, looking to God as a source of creativity? This, in spite of the retrenchment and the suspicion in many circles of creativity.
More on transcendence later …