"Since our foundation, we have been trying to listen to those who have the deepest thirst, to those whose life is the most depreciated, to those who are the loneliest. Since 1990, we have been trying to learn from many masters. We learn a lot from the children who are, in many places, our first friends. But little by little we found that artists also could be very good masters of Compassion.
The artist gives his own life to offer the world his glance on reality through his creation. We want to give our own lives to give the world a new way of looking at reality. Behind each face encountered, in front of each event, we are looking for the beauty, the Mystery, and a communion.
Art makes us look for Beauty
The artist has a passion for the material he uses. He sees from the beginning how he will use it and transform it. The painter likes the colors, the sculptor likes the wood, the pianist likes each note. In his hand the material will be transformed, exalted, as it will express the very intimate and unique way of seeing of the artist. Thus the artist reveals to the world the truth of this material, what it is able to give and to be.
In our neighborhood, we especially like to look for beauty where it is hidden. When I look at Mary and see how she is lying on her bed, without speaking, without moving, I also see her marvelous smile which illuminates her whole face and reveals her soul. In our neighborhood we especially like to look for the rebellious child because we know that, if loved, he is capable of the greatest tenderness. In our neighborhood we have a passion for all the people since we know that all of them, as creatures of God, wear something beautiful in each heart. Our work through our friendship and prayer is to reveal to the world the true beauty of each heart.
Art gives the taste of nostalgia
Art translates what is deepest in the heart of the artist, the image of one’s soul. Art neither imitates nor repeats but says the original aspiration of Man to the Infinite. The finite beauty of a piece of art shows the thirst of man for an infinite Beauty.
In coming closer to suffering, in coming closer to poor people, deprived people, destitute people, we learn that Man has been created for something greater than his actual situation. When I see Robert drunk in the street my heart tells me that he is more than what he looks like. When I look at Sandra, this little girl who worked all day long to help her family by selling some tortillas, who has been abused a thousand times and who is laughing with this beautiful innocence, I know that something in her heart is the sign of the Absolute. Artists and all those who have this sensibility will look for the Mystery Man in himself who is greater than he is.
Art calls us to a communion
We can pass by a piece of art and judge it at a glance. We can also choose to spend time in front of a piece of art in an attitude of respect, asking for the grace to enter in communion with the art, with the artist. Then, even if our intelligence does not understand everything, our judgment will be different.
Very often suffering is beyond our understanding. That is why we’d rather pass by and not stay. Now we can stand in front of reality trying to listen rather than to speak, trying to welcome rather than to see what we want to see, trying to learn and not to teach, offering a question rather than an explanation. Then reality will be given to us as it is. Then the cross will take the face of a person, then a communion is possible, then compassion is possible. I remember Dan in a nursing home for AIDS patients. When we came close to him and said hello to him, we were wondering if we should stay as his face was very sad. We started to show an interest for him and for what happened to him. He first did not understand. A few minutes later, though, a friendship had begun. I will never forget him.
To seize those moments of communion, to seize the beauty of an encounter, all that we need to do is to welcome reality with an open heart with the simplicity of a child, able to recognize the beauty of each one. Each person reveals to me how much the heart of a man is made for beauty. Art is revealing Beauty and therefore is revealing the beauty of mankind, the beauty of the heart.