I came across a few articles these past couple days which are all related to the same theme. It’s summarized nicely here (the original article: Be Awesome):
The things we do should be fantastic. We’re not just anyone, we’re Catholics! What we do reflects our Church, and our Church is the only sane thing left in the world! Strive for excellence then, glorify God by using every drop of talent He’s given you, because I do believe that – now more than ever – our Church needs to reaffirm that we have brought the world the best literature, art, architecture, music and life it has. And that we still do.
And Pope Benedict XVI put it this way in an address to artist:
Dear artists, … You are the custodians of beauty: thanks to your talent, you have the opportunity to speak to the heart of humanity, to touch individual and collective sensibilities, to call forth dreams and hopes, to broaden the horizons of knowledge and of human engagement. Be grateful, then, for the gifts you have received and be fully conscious of your great responsibility to communicate beauty, to communicate in and through beauty! Through your art, you yourselves are to be heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity! And do not be afraid to approach the first and last source of beauty, to enter into dialogue with believers, with those who, like yourselves, consider that they are pilgrims in this world and in history towards infinite Beauty! Faith takes nothing away from your genius or your art: on the contrary, it exalts them and nourishes them, it encourages them to cross the threshold and to contemplate with fascination and emotion the ultimate and definitive goal, the sun that does not set, the sun that illumines this present moment and makes it beautiful.
And the Catholic musician Audrey Assad’s vision for music is right-on:
All music is music and that when Christians and Catholics in particular would make music that it would be artistically competitive with what the world was doing but not in the sense that we are beating them at their own game but rather that we’re setting the bar, the way it used to be, you know. I think that the only way that is possible is if we get out of the sub-genre that we’re in. … And when you have a sub-genre like that, people aren’t accessing what you’re doing because they already think “I don’t want to listen to that”. The best example I can think of right now is a band called Mumford and Sons from the UK. I don’t particularly know for sure that they are Christians but I can’t imagine that they’re not after reading their lyrics. But they are at the top of their game in England and people are buying their records because their music is so good. And they speak about love in a way that is so compelling that it can’t help but inspire a person who’s really listening to ask questions and I think that’s how music should be. But when we have this sub-niche that we’re kind of stuck in, you know, the world is passing us over because they see the world Catholic or Christian in front of it and they say “it’s not for me”.
And Jennifer Fulwiler suggested some practical guidelines for Catholic awesomeness:
- Put prayer first
- Put your primary vocation first.
- Don’t fixate on being better than other people.