Encountering God's Presence through Art and Music

Music withdraws our minds from earthly cogitations, lifts up our spirits into heaven, makes them light and celestial. (St. John Chrysostom)

Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. (Ephesians 5:18-19)

 "Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 150:1-6)

"I feel that our souls are moved to the ardor of piety by the sacred words more piously and powerfully when these words are sung than when they are not sung.” (Saint Augustine, Confessions, Book X, chap. 33)

Ways to encounter God through Art and Music

“Artistic expression and our worship of God can be accomplished through all works of art from painting, drawing, crafts, sculpting, photography, writing, and drama. Even architecture, carpentry and ironwork can be considered works of art.

God can speak to us through someone’s artwork. It is He who planted the seed and inspired the artist. Worshiping God through art should not be about the fascination we have with ourselves; the artwork should honor and glorify God and not the artist.

You don’t have to go to a museum to see beautiful artwork. It’s all around you in nature. Worshiping God with art is about creating something for the Lord. Worshiping the Creator through art is about opening yourself up to God’s beauty and His holiness.

Our God is the Master artist. He uses color (experiences) and different textures (people) in our lives to mold us into the person He wants us to be.” (http://www.praise-and-worship.com/worship-god-art.html)

Think about the type of art you like…for a clue look around your house…what does the art on your wall say about you? How do you encounter God through your choice of artwork?

Think about the type of music you like. What songs are playing on your radio, in your car, on your IPod? Why do you like the songs you listen to? How do you encounter God through your choice of music?

Resources and practical suggestions for encountering God through Art and Music

Art & Architecture 

  • Visit the Basilica of Saint Mary’s Immaculate Conception in Norfolk: Sit, pray and let the art and architecture lift your soul.
  • Make a pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. Sit or pray in God’s presence amidst the beauty of the art and architecture.
  • Watch the magnificent art and architecture in Bishop Robert Barron’s “Catholicism.”
  • Google: “Pieta michelangelo” or “Last Supper Leonardo da Vinci” or “Christ Crucified Velázquez” or “The Angelus Millet” or any other Catholic Christian artwork. What emotion is the artist trying to portray? What is God saying to you through this painting?

Music:

  • Think about the words as you sing at mass. Make the words a prayer.
  • What songs do we sing at church are your favorite? Why? Take time to meditate on the words. 
  • Enjoy the praise music when Ascension’s music ministry begins singing 15 minutes before mass begins.
  • Read the psalms out loud. The psalms were sung, many of them by King David.
  • Listen to Christian radio for contemporary Christian music: 88.5 WJLZ, 90.7 K-Love, or 98.3
  • Attend gatherings where there is praise and worship music: New Creation Renewal Center prayer meetings: 1st and 3rd Sundays at 3:30pm 1600 Elbow Road. www.ncccharismaticcommunity.org/
  • Engage in Soaking Prayer: Put on gentle, inspirational music and rest in God’s presence. Enjoy it by yourself or with others:
    • St. Gregory’s has soaking prayer Thursday at 1PM in the chapel.
    • New Creation Renewal Center has it on the 4th Sunday of the month at 3:30PM starting in September. 1600 Elbow Road, Chesapeake https://www.ncccharismaticcommunity.org/