Posted by: Thomas Richard | April 4, 2011

Art as Parable

Maybe art is always parable. All that has being was made by the only, the one, God: His truth is at the foundation of all things. Certainly all great art – whether music, writings, paintings, photography, dance – all great art, I would say, somehow in one way or another expresses some fragment of the one Truth that God expresses in His creation. For this reason, I would say, men turn to art as they seek truth because men seek God.

Well this is all to introduce this blog post: the parables found in creation and photographed, and used as cover art for my books. I want to try to express in words what may be obvious in the photography – but maybe it isn’t. Both books are now out and available in digital form for the Kindle and the Nook e-readers with these new “covers”.

The Ordinary Path to Holiness

(The photograph is of the old Broad River Bridge, now only partially standing, and used as a fishing pier.)

The way is straight – if we will only keep to the way! There are resting places along the journey, because God is patient and merciful. There are lights along the way, because God is patient and merciful. But we must keep our eyes – the eyes of faith, in this case – we must keep our eyes fixed on the end, the final purpose and intent of it all: The Light, the Glory, the Alpha and the Omega, God.

Pope Benedict recently reminded us that we are all called to become “fishers of men.” For fish, to remain in the waters is life, and to be caught by the fishermen is death. But for us, the opposite is true. For us, to remain in the waters is death, but to be caught by the fishermen and pulled up into the air is life. Now we have been called as fishers of men, and our task is one of life and death.

The Interior Liturgy of the Our Father
The Journey of Ascent, in Stations

(The photograph is of the inside spiral staircase of the old Hunting Island Lighthouse.)

Our journey is one of ascent, and the climb is not an easy one (especially as we get older!) The Lord cautions us, “How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” (Mt 7:14) Yet He also encourages us, saying, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Mt 11:29-30)

Is the way difficult, or is it easy? Yes. Yes. And His way is the only way for us, lest we fall into chaos, insanity and despair. God made us for Himself – for holy communion in Him – and all else contradicts our very being. So let us climb! Let us pursue the one goal worthy of a human person: true fellowship, blessed and holy communion in God.

Blessings and peace.



  1. Dear Thomas,

    It is true that sometimes, “one picture is worth a thousand words”, but I’m glad that you added some words to your new cover-pictures for the digital versions of your books.

    Both of them have (to me) much to do with God’s Light. The cover for the “Ordinary Path to Holiness” takes us almost immediately to the light on the horizon, and as you pointed out: God is our goal. However, I also love the image of the bridge for it reminds me of the “Dialogues of St. Catherine of Siena who heard the Lord’s telling her that Christ is the Bridge to Him. St. Catherine was also to write that all the way to heaven is heaven for Jesus said, “I am the way”.

    The cover for “The Interior Liturgy of the Our Father” is, as you said, an “ascent” but I would add that the staircase is inside a lighthouse! That is significant since God is always inviting us to climb higher and when we ascend, we participate more in His Light which gives glory to Him and we are able to shares His glory with others.

    May the Divine Artist continue to work in each of us “Something Beautiful for God” (as Bl, Mother Teresa of Calcutta often said). He is able and willing to make us new everyday, if we are willing to receive and to give His Love. By His Grace, may we remain in Jesus, His Way for us, and ascend ever higher into the Glory of His Triune Love. May we let our light shine!

    • Dear Thomas,

      I don’t know if this reply will be to your post or Deborah’s. I haven’t figured out how to navigate that yet.

      At any rate, I just wanted to say that I was happy to see your photography on the new editions of your books—both wonderful by the way.

      Your comment about people seeking truth in art reminded me of a recent event. One of our best friends was in a major car accident which severely affected him physically, mentally, and spiritually (in spite of his denial of such).

      He was the most articulate student in our high school class and after the accident, he had great difficulty expressing himself even in basic terms. He requested that each of his friends have their children paint an abstract image with certain specifications.

      It was an odd request, but I suspect he was seeking the beauty of the mind of a child and trying to make sense of the world through their artwork.

      I’ll let you know what develops.


      • Hello Monica,

        Thank you for the response and the comment. Yes, your response was “technically” to Deborah’s response to me. I can tell because in final form, it is indented relative to her post and is not parallel to it. If you had clicked the “reply” under my post instead of under hers, then your post would be in line with hers, with both being responses to mine. BUT – no big deal. Context and content clarify your intent.

        Please do let me know what develops from your friend’s request. Children’s art is a very special and beautiful gift to the world.


  2. Hi again, Thomas,

    I looked for a reply option under your initial post and under your reply to me, but I couldn’t find one. I could only find one under Deborah’s comment. Not sure why its showing up that way. So, this one is also going to look like a reply to Deborah.

    Where is that option?


    • It looks as though you did click the right link this time – when you click “(some number) COMMENTS” under the original post in the main Blog page, you come to this page with all comments so far listed. On this page, there is no link to comment on the original post, but only “Reply” links to reply to each comment. However, at the bottom of this page is a comment box – this box is used to comment on the original post.

      Hence the “Comment” link leads to comments to the OP; “Reply” allows replies to comments.

      I think.


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