Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

From the rising of the sun to its setting...

A FRIEND SENT THIS PHOTO yesterday of a seabird getting ready for takeoff. Then this morning, in reading the opening lines of the Third Eucharistic prayer, the picture came to mind:

You are indeed Holy, O Lord,
and all you have created
rightly gives you praise,
for through your Son our Lord Jesus Christ,
by the power and working of the Holy Spirit,
you give life to all things and make them holy,
and you never cease to gather a people to yourself,
so that from the rising of the sun to its setting
a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.

It is either sunrise or sunset in this picture. Notice the coppery gold lines that accent the bird's wings and the softer gold iridescence on the forehead and breast. "...and all you have created rightly gives you praise."

Then I was talking with a young dad after the Mass and somehow the conversation came around to our need to look for the thin gold line of divinity in all things. More than just an optimistic "silver lining" there is God's energy and presence to be discovered in what are often flashes of seconds all around us.

The iconographer understands this, building up the image with translucent paints from darker to lighter -the brightest lights added last - the difference being that in the icon the light energy, the light-sparks originate from within. They indicate our theosis - our becoming the new kind of human person Christ and his saints reveal, filled with divine energies. 

"Stay close to the fire which is Christ, and eventually even the thorns of your life will burst into flame," Brother Roger of Taize would say.


  1. Both images are beautiful representations of this golden divinity. Thank you for making these connections for us.

  2. What a pleasant surprise to find this spectacular image and reflection. Your friend captured a beautiful moment in time. The light sparks the beams of light reaching out to us to warm our hearts and give life to our souls.

  3. I LOVE the golden lines too!!!

  4. These are the posts that remind me how much I can learn from you. Your thoughts are always a welcome reprieve from the regular grind of life.

  5. When the image is enlarged the golden lines stand out and are impossible to miss. Wonderful! How lovely to be aware of these details and related them to the golden light in an icon. Thank you Father Stephen.

  6. Thanks Father. Bird spotting is a favorite pastime of ours here in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. We can learn so much from nature and art is a reflection of God's handiwork. Speaking of birds and incredible photo's....I will send you one from 2009 that seems to me to have special provenance.

    Pax et bonum