"Woman With a Pink", 1665-69, Rembrandt Van Rijn
It is WEEK 1 of Lent. Sister Wendy Beckett will be our curator for The Art of Lent; leading us through a series of images and guided reflections. The first week's images all center on the theme of SILENCE and Psalm 62:1 "For God alone my soul waits in silence".
A brief word of introduction for our guide-
Sister Wendy Beckett went straight from school to the novitiate of an active teaching order, which sent her to Oxford and then engaged her in its schools at a university. Her longing to spend her time in prayer was finally answered when she was 40 and she was allowed to lead a contemplative life under the protection of the Carmelites. She has spent her time in prayer ever since, which includes making programs on art for the BBC and writing books on art, on icons and on prayer. Now, nearing the end of life, she is a deeply content and grateful woman.
The capacity for silence- a deep, creative awareness of one's inner truth- is what distinguishes us as human. All of us, however ordinary or flawed, have at heart a seemingly boundless longing for fulfillment, and it is their consciousness of this that makes Rembrandt's portraits so beautiful. The Woman with a Pink is lost in the depths of her private reflections. Her dark background is symbolically unimportant, lending greater expression to the soft brightness that plays upon her face. Visibly silent. she is explicitly encountering the mystery of being human. She does not contemplate the carnation (the 'pink'), usually an emblem of love, but looks within, in silence, quiet and engrossed.
Oh Lord, You know my heart better than I know it myself. You know my struggles and You hold each hope and fear in Your caring hands. Teach me, LORD,
to be still and to know that You are God.
You are in Your holy temple; let all the earth, including my mind and heart, be silent before You, resting in Your sovereignty. Like Elijah, teach me to wait for Your still, small voice and quiet the earthquakes and blazing fires in my life.
Replace my restless doing with inner calm, and help me, like Mary, to sit at Your feet in quiet adoration even if there are a million things clamoring for my attention. Just as You spoke over the tumultuous sea and storms, so speak over my heart Your shalom.
“Peace. Be still,” You said to them, and immediately they quieted. Teach my heart to cease striving and to know– to yada, to have an intimate and deep, personal, first-hand experience–that You are God.
Help me cultivate a quiet heart, like a baby content in its mother’s arms, no longer coming to You with a “gimme” spirit but instead calmly nestling against Your heart. Help me find quietness and happiness in intimate communion with You. You will be exalted over all the earth, and You’ve got the details of my day covered. I can rest in You. AMEN.
- written by a Romanian woman named Asheritah.
Her name is Hebrew for "God is my happiness"