Tag: inspiration

Van Gogh’s Painting of Nature

Van Gogh paints nature beautifully.

One of my favourite paintings by him is “Branches with Almond Blossom“:

It was painted partly to celebrate the birth of his nephew, named Vincent after him. Theo, the brother of Vincent the artist, wrote back to him about little Vincent, who saw this painting hanging above his parents’ bed – “He is particularly fascinated by the blossoming tree”.

The blues are so bright, as are the white blossoms. It feels like a celebration of new life in its brightness.

A lesser-known early work, “Girl in a Wood, also celebrates life:

Amongst the decay of autumn there is the bright white of the young life of a young girl. And those huge trees seem to offer her strength and support.

I will leave you with just one more early painting by Van Gogh – of fritillaries in a vase:

Like the branches with almond blossom, the subject matter is very simple and everyday – in this case a simple vase of flowers.

But his colours are so bright and vivid. Look at the beautiful golden sheen of the light reflecting off the vase, or the energy in the upward thrusts of the green leaves – maybe you can also feel the creativity, the joy, and the life of these beautiful paintings?

Inspiring Poems: Binsey Poplars

Inspiring Poems: Binsey Poplars

Another wonderful poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, born July 28th 1844.

One of the greatest of poems about trees being cut down begins like this:

“All felled, felled, are all felled; 
    Of a fresh and following folded rank 
                Not spared, not one 
                That dandled a sandalled 
         Shadow that swam or sank 
On meadow & river & wind-wandering weed-winding bank.”

Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote these words about a line of tree in Binsey, near Oxford.

He protests at the destruction of nature:

O if we but knew what we do 
         When we delve or hew — 
     Hack and rack the growing green!

… even where we mean 
                 To mend her we end her, 
            When we hew or delve: 
After-comers cannot guess the beauty been

You might enjoy reading the full poem here.

Spiritual Reflection – The Light of God’s Existence

I never used to believe in God.  I thought the idea was either stupid, or just weak people’s imagination.  Little did I know then that I would travel the spiritual way myself!

It’s good to return to beginnings and basics from time to time.  And God’s existence is a fundamental basic for my spiritual journey.  Why?  Because the light of God’s existence inspires me.

When I didn’t believe in God, I believed (although that is probably too strong a word for the random thoughts I had!) that the whole universe was chaotic – though it obviously wasn’t totally chaotic. 

I didn’t believe in love – that was down to personal experience, I thought. 

I didn’t have a huge amount of hope. 

And I was a bit of a slave to passing feelings.

Belief in God is and is not a simple thing.  A child can believe in God simply.  But you can spend the whole of the rest of your life exploring the consequences of belief in God, and still not get to the end of thinking.

I think belief in God’s existence is inspiring because it gives us a fundamental reality to believe in.  The realities around us will change and fade, but not so with God.

God is also inspiring, because Christians believe in a God of Love – it inspires me to know that love is at the heart of the universe.  Love is the highest calling of every human – selfless, sacrificial love for others.

And God is inspiring because death has its place in the grand scheme of things.  Christians believe in resurrection and in eternity.  This life is glorious but is also a tragic passing phase.   We have a purpose but we don’t understand the purpose of everything.  We see “in a glass darkly”.  But in eternity we shall see face to face.

How does the idea of the existence of God make you feel?



Canticle of the Sun (2) – Sister Moon and the Stars

IThe first post in the series focused on St. Francis of Assisi’s lines about “Brother Son”. Now it is the turn of the moon:

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,

in heaven you formed them clear and precious and beautiful.

As I write, comet Neowise is visible and is a marvel to behold. Many today live in light-polluted towns and cities and do not get to see the beauty of clear night skies, and to gaze back through time and towards infinity.

Francis did not know about modern astronomy, and yet in his wisdom he did know the humble attitude of reverence and awe in a universe not of our making.

He did know a reverence and awe before God.