|The Patron Saint of Lost Items ever helpful St Anthony & child
On the long days when nothing seemed to get done, I would ask St. Therese to help me to be thankful for the small things I accomplished with good intention and not to be overwhelmed by the big unfinished tasks that lay in front of me. The St. Anne statue was getting the most attention because every speck of paint had to be dissolved gently and carefully before she could don a new outfit. Patience reigned and no one complained. I would move from one to the other, waiting for a repair to dry while I sanded and sculpted a finger for another then moved on to wash St. Therese's face with a soft cloth and cleanser as the gold leaf edge on a robe dried.
|St. Therese "The Little Flower"
Weeks later, all of the other saint statues had been completed. It was time to face the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue I had avoided. One morning I came into the studio greeted by my very excited assistant, who had spent the entire night tediously removing the old paint, uncovered something totally unexpected. The original finish on the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue wasn't what I thought it had been at all. Instead, a highly detailed gold leaf over cream robe revealed itself. The statue was much older than I had thought. She traced the design, then like an archeologist, filled in the missing parts of the border so I could duplicate the pattern during restoration. She had unearthed pieces of the original finish hidden from view for years. As an artist, it's beauty took my breath away. I saw clearly what the Italian sculptor had worked so hard to achieve. The folds on the robe created a flow of gold that drew your eyes to the most important part... the Sacred Heart of Jesus and his outreaching arms. Even though the subliminal artistry was immaculate, the colors weren't the traditional ones Father Bill and I had agreed on. As an artist, I was torn by the need to restore the statue to the sculptor's original intent and Father Bill's wish for tradition. So of course, using current tradition, I texted Father Bill to visit.
|The Sacred Heart of Jesus statue in midst of restoration
Again, I texted Father Bill. "The Sacred Heart of Jesus statue gave me permission to be painted as you wished". Realizing I had just experienced a lesson in obedience, I added "Thank You". He replied "Obedience creates humility". I choked silently as I humbly ate my words.
I had thought obedience was listening to someone's words and doing what they told me to do. After all, I came of age in the era of feminist enlightenment where obedience was a four letter word. I realized now it's actually about listening with intent. Often, it is the silence between words where true meaning is found. I hadn't thought I needed to learn about obedience or humility but like cutting a steak with a scalpel, it may not be necessary but it's profoundly effective once you experience it. Who knew? Father Bill and The Sacred Heart of Jesus knew exactly what lesson I needed.