If this blog is a window into my creative practice, then it will inevitably dive into the heart of everything I do, my Catholic faith.
Three core values behind my creative practice are wonder, humility, & service.
How did I choose them?
To take a few steps back...
I wrote my previous post in the shadow of a crisis where everything I did seemed useless in the face of human suffering.
Since then, it’s been a long week. Today is Easter Sunday, so to celebrate, I put on my most spring-y clothes and recorded two Easter hymns.
But like other Christians, I spent the past forty days in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
During Holy Week, we enter into the Suffering and Death of Christ as deeply as we can, intensifying our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. All this has enriched my view of suffering.
My previous post draws upon a belief in human souls to articulate the necessity of expressive culture. But when it comes to suffering, my belief in souls intertwines with Christianity:
Christ suffered out of vast love for humanity, beyond what any of us can endure. Because of this, He draws so close to us in our suffering. For those whose suffering I grieved and felt powerless to alleviate, He knows their pain. He comforts them in ways I will never see.
Christ underwent the most brutal suffering, in order to redeem the life of our souls — which is eternal, whereas that of our bodies on Earth is already passing before our eyes.
So, what does this have to do with your creative practice?
Three of the core values behind my creative practice — wonder, humility, and service — came to me while meditating on Christ’s Suffering and Death.
Something about contemplating Divine Suffering and Love makes you aware of how small you are. Not “small” as in “unimportant,” but in that I realized, nothing fundamentally preoccupied with myself could be of true value and meaning to anyone else.
I was grasping for success, in the form of attracting as much admiration and attention as possible to my music, writing, and teaching artistry.
But the beauty of what creative work can do — inspire, uplift, connect — is not about me, or admiration and attention. It’s about how my work connects to others, allowing me to serve them with my imagination, skills, and knowledge.
Rooting my creative practice in humility and service means letting go of whether my career "counts" as successful. Even if I fall short, I am at peace, as long as I do my best to give to those around me with what God has entrusted me.
As for the value of wonder, I will dive more into this in a future post. For now, here's an example:
Yesterday, I found myself walking past St. Paul’s Cathedral for the first time in weeks, since all churches were closed.
As I drew closer, time and space seemed to thicken around my body. I stopped moving.
I stood there for... I don’t know how long. As Catholics, we believe God is present in every Catholic church. I stood there and yearned to celebrate Easter vigil with my community that night.
Isolation has given me abundant time and energy to meditate on the Passion of Christ. But when it comes to rejoicing in His Resurrection, I crave community.
To my fellow Christians, I wish you a blessed Easter season. From the loneliness of my apartment, I rejoice with you, even as we encounter despair in the suffering around and within us.
I rejoice, because Christ is truly risen. As Pope Francis said in his Easter vigil homily last night, we turn our backs on death and open our hearts to Christ. For He is life itself.
Here are the Easter hymns I recorded today!