We don’t always know the impact we’re having.
Liv Nino made bold choices in organizing last year’s Friday night CC Summit liturgy. We prayed solemn Vespers with a lucinarium, in which participants chant while holding individual candles, and prayed with iconography. It was outside most people’s experiences, and she knew it. She knew it would encourage people to face unfamiliarity, to take a risk, and find a deeper sense of unity beyond the liturgy battles we’re so used to fighting. She knew this community—which had barely even spent time in-person together, much less prayed together—would have to leave their comfort at the door in order to encounter the divine.
Like most of us when we’ve poured ourselves into our creations, she picked it apart, knew all of the problems, and wasn’t able to appreciate her own work.
Throughout the liturgy, she was a little preoccupied with the priest who got confused and the music minister who came in later than she’d wanted. She hoped everyone was experiencing God in a new way but had no idea how to tell if they were. Even as she held the icon so Catholic Creatives could approach the altar in prayer, her “sacristan eyes” blurred the beauty in the church, in the soft candlelight, in the faces of her fellow artists.
It wasn’t until the Summit had ended and she was back home that she truly saw herself, the liturgy, and the CC community…through the eyes (or rather, lens) of photographer Elissa Voss. The photographs struck her, giving her a new view of the church architecture, the unity of the attendees, and the depth of their prayer. Everything came back to her in a totally new light.
In the photos, she saw a unified community—people who used to be profile pictures on a computer screen were now faces illuminated by candles and singing as one. She saw others encountering God through her creation. It took another artist to give Liv a view of the beauty people were experiencing, and in so many ways that beauty confirmed God’s anointing and His delight in her. It was as if He was speaking to her, “Look, my daughter, your work is special, and it matters. Keep going.” In Liv’s words, the photos “gave flight to a reality that is at once startlingly honest and an upward call to who we can be.”
We are sometimes unaware of the goodness we bring into the world and the goodness of God’s call in our life. All it takes is another artist to reframe our perspective, revealing the truth and urging us to become what we are.
This week, we’d love to hear from you: how has the Catholic Creatives community provoked you to see something—yourself, God, beauty, others—in a new light?