Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Gift of Inspiration

"The Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being (Genesis 2:7)."

I was recently attending to my private night prayer, slowing myself down and consciously breathing in the Holy Spirit, when I felt the consolation of noticing God's inspiration within me. From the Latin word Inspirare (In-into + spirare-breathe). One might also define inspiration as grace--a gift freely given by God.

In a fragment of his poem The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe, Gerard Manley Hopkins writes:

"this needful, never spent,
and nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life's law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise."

Artists, in the most general sense of the term, derive their life's work from inspiration. There is something about much art that goes beyond the artist. Somehow, the art taps into the Divine, is charged with the grandeur of God. God breathes into the artist, and through the art-form, that inspiration is channeled timelessly into the many that come into contact with the inspired creation.

How wondrous is the inspired event of the breaking of the bread?

We do well to take notice, to humbly receive the ever-present gift, and to offer exhalations of thanksgiving.

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