Friday, October 16, 2009

God's field

Abraham Bloemaert 1566 - 1651
Landscape with the Parable of the Tares among the Wheat
Oil on canvas, 100 x 133 cm
Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore

Print made by Jacob Matham 1571 - 1631
After Abraham Bloemaert Landscape with the parable of the Tares 1605
380 millimetres x 505 millimetres
Inscription Content: Lettered below left corner "Cum privil. / Sa. Cæ. M." and at right "A.Bloemaert Inven. / I.Maetham sculp. / et excud.". Dated below sleeping figure at left "A.o 1605". In the margin four columns of text, each two lines "Dum tenet ... fructus" by "SSH" (Simon Sovius of Haarlem).
The British Museum, London

Print made by Crispijn de Passe the elder 1564 - 1637
Parabolarum: The parable of the Tares 1604
Diameter: 83 millimetres
Inscription Content: Lettered around design "INTER MATH. XIII".
The British Museum, London

Sir John Everett Millais, Bt 1829-1896
The Tares published 1864
From Illustrations to `The Parables of Our Lord', engraved by the Dalziel Brothers
Relief print on paper
image: 140 x 108 mm
Tate Britain, London

Domenico Fetti
Satan Sowing Darnel (Tares)
First quarter of the 17th century
Brown wash and red chalk over sketch in red chalk. 24.5x20 cm
State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

"There is another aspect of St John Leonardi's spirituality that I would like to emphasise.

On various occasions he reasserted that the living encounter with Christ takes place in his Church, holy but frail, rooted in history and in its sometimes obscure unfolding, where wheat and weeds grow side by side (cf. Mt 13: 30), yet always the sacrament of salvation.

Since he was clearly aware that the Church is God's field (cf. Mt 13: 24), St John was not shocked at her human weaknesses.

To combat the weeds he chose to be good wheat: that is, he decided to love Christ in the Church and to help make her, more and more, a transparent sign of Christ. He saw the Church very realistically, her human frailty, but he also saw her as being "God's field", the instrument of God for humanity's salvation. And this was not all.

Out of love for Christ he worked tirelessly to purify the Church, to make her more beautiful and holy. He realized that every reform should be made within the Church and never against the Church

In this, St John Leonardi was truly extraordinary and his example is ever timely. Every reform, of course, concerns her structures, but in the first place must have an effect in believers' hearts. Only Saints, men and women who let themselves be guided by the divine Spirit, ready to make radical and courageous decisions in the light of the Gospel, renew the Church and make a crucial contribution to building a better world."

Pope Benedict XVI at a General Audience in St Peter`s Square, Rome on Wednesday, 7 October 2009