Maritain, Green, Beckett and Anderson in conversation down through the ages – a poem by Jonathan Evens

MaritaIn, Green, Beckett and Anderson in conversation down through the ages

I see in you, poring and praying over images,
a charitable hermeneutic, art criticism 
as love of neighbour, that contemplation 
which alone reveals the true value of charity.
Careful attention paid to the particular work made, 
reception on that work’s own terms, naming the ways 
important human concerns – longings, laments, 
joys, failures, discontent – are active in the work 
and bear on you and me – us – today.
Giving yourself without reservation 
to all that demands your attention,
believing in the dignity of every 
natural activity, with which one knows 
through experience, integral humanism.
Throwing your heart into things like a dart 
or a rocket, seeing within the thing itself 
the flash of spiritual light where a glimpse of God 
shines out, a fleeting reality in which 
there flashes the slightest glimmer of love or beauty,
the call of love to which love alone responds, 
the invisceration of supernatural, boundless charity 
in the very exercise of poetic gift. A genuflection 
of thought in the presence of God; reason having 
warmth, movement, and generosity, just like the heart, 
reasoning that touches and moves 
when it begins in charity, 
intellectual charity.

(Based on: ‘Sister Wendy Beckett – A Reminiscence By Revd Jonathan Evens’, Artlyst, 2018; ‘Jonathan Anderson: Religious Inspirations Behind Modernism – Interview Revd Jonathan Evens’, Artlyst, 2018; and ‘The Story of Two Souls’, H. Bars & E. Jourdan ed, Fordham University Press, 1988)

Jonathan Evens is Associate Vicar for HeartEdge at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Through HeartEdge, a network of churches, he encourages congregations to engage with culture, compassion and commerce. He writes on the Arts for a range of publications including Artlyst, ArtWay and Church Times. He is co-author of ‘The Secret Chord,’ an impassioned study of the role of music in cultural life written through the prism of Christian belief. He blogs at Between:

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