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  • chenrirohrbacher

Holy and Humble of Heart, Bless the Lord

In the past week I've completed three more plates for the illuminated Benedicite that I've been working on! The most recent plate (out of order, I'm afraid!) I was able to ink-in this morning.

Each of the completed plates have started out as a smaller, rough pencil drawing, most of which I drew a year or two ago and then had to put aside in order to complete other projects. But until three days ago, all I had for "Holy and Humble of Heart, Bless the Lord!" was a blank page with the layout on it.

I was stuck - I tried a lot of different approaches to illustrating that verse but none of them provide satisfactory. Then I stumbled across a story about a Syrian artist, Aziz al-Asmar, who paints murals on the walls of destroyed houses protesting the relentless bombardment of his native city of Idlib and anticipating the longed for return of peace and normalcy when the war ends.

So a design came together, of building and rebuilding by the unheralded but ordinary and humble people who come together to create a more just, a more compassionate and more loving world.

The mural is based on a beautiful painting of the peace dove with festive flowers by the Ukrainian folk artist Maria Prymachenko (a museum filled with her work was burned to the ground by Russian troops in late February. Ten of her paintings were saved by a courageous man who braved the flames to rescue them.)

One of the muralists is my teacher and friend, Perf Igor. The little girls in hijabs are Afghan schoolgirls being taught by their resolute woman teacher.

Around the border are loaves and fishes, which symbolize God's abundant gifts that are the wellspring of community and our life together as a human family, and tools, symbolizing the "Tools of Good Works" from the fourth chapter of the Rule of Saint Benedict. And at the bottom are Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin welcoming the holy and humble of heart as guests to one of the early Houses of Hospitality that are the hallmark of the Catholic Worker.


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