©Michele L. Catanese
Note: Next post will be July 31.
* The Odd Thomas series was written by Dean Koontz who also happens to be Catholic. There are many Catholic overtones in the series, but one must remember that the books are a work of fiction and were not meant as a theological statement. Koontz said that he wanted to delve into what it would like for someone to be truly pure of heart and innocent when he wrote this character. Odd Thomas was not perfect and this is what made him realistic and rather appealing to me.
1. The first painting is called Landscape from Saint-Rémy by Vincent van Gogh. (1889) I chose this because the perspective seems slightly askew, and it is therefore an odd (different) point of view for the scene. Simultaneously it is quite beautiful and gives an air of peacefulness through the billowy clouds and the soothing, subtle hues of blues, greens, and a bit of gold in the landscape. Unfortunately the genius of van Gogh was not well understood during his lifetime either; he suffered from mental illness and therefore as a person, he was thought to be strange. I think that he saw things most of us do not see; that is, he saw beauty in his own way, and thank God, he left much of what he saw through his own 'lens' for us on canvas. A little information on this painting can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Landscape_from_Saint-R%C3%A9my_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
2. This is one of my photos, a closeup of a great blue heron, taken on the coast of Texas in Rockport. I chose it for this part of the entry because the way he is sitting with his neck craned looks a bit comical. It gave this magnificent bird an odd sort of look, an angle not usually seen, with his neck feathers a bit ruffled. It is a unique photo of a unique bird.
3. This is one of the photos of St. Bernadette taken during her lifetime. She is wearing the peasant clothing which was typical of people from the Pyrenees of France in the 19th century. She looks rather somber, but she did not like having her photograph taken. Remember, at that time one had to sit perfectly still for a number of minutes while the film was being exposed. This photo was taken when she entered the convent; her family could never have afforded, nor desired, photographs.
4. This icon is called St. Padre Pio Mother Pelican by Fr. William Hart McNichols. As mentioned in my previous entry, the pelican is a traditional Christian symbol for Christ who sacrificed Himself for our salvation and also feeds us with His body and blood, the Eucharist, which He left for us. In this icon we can see how Padre Pio allowed himself to suffer so that he could use the many gifts he was given; he freely chose to accept the ministry to which Jesus invited him. I chose this icon not only because I have a devotion to St. Padre Pio, but because we can see that even in his suffering there is a hint of joy on his face. To truly love Christ is to know joy. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of this icon you can find it in many formats at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/2-st-padre-pio-mother-pelican-047-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
5. I took this photo while hiking around Devil's Tower in Wyoming. The aforementioned rock formation was behind me and this was the vista away from it. I chose this photo because there is no clear path. One would have to discern the path to the road.
6. This is a mosaic of Jesus healing the hemorrhaging woman (Mark 5:25-34) and it is found on the ceiling of the Cathedral in Monreale, Sicily. I chose it here because it shows how Jesus loved: He was walking with His disciples on a crowded street and yet when He felt the power go out of Him, He would not go on until He was able to address the woman, commending her for her faith. He did not want to leave the scene without letting her know how much He loved her. Rather than being put out when we are asked to help someone, our way of loving needs to be different, like Jesus, who offered love in everything He did.
7. This is also one of my photos, taken in Bar Harbor, Maine. The reeds standing in the water of this pond seemed to stand out, 'daring' to stand apart in small clusters. Even the people hiking in the background seem to be alone on the path. The photo spoke to me of being willing to go where few others go in being true to our call to holiness, following Jesus in our own unique way, even if it seems odd to others.