I dedicate this painting and poem, “Deviled Eggs”, in memorial to all the brave souls who have died sacrificing their lives for a better world.
As part of my series “Cry of Creation” this work focuses and shines a light on the existential and spiritual threat we face as humanity confronts our own extraordinary power to tip the climate into an imbalance that threatens the future of the world as we know it. We are all important and all uniquely indispensable! Yes—You and Me!
The truth IS, God gathers, the devil scatters!
Mammon (Devil of Greed) would deceive us saying— “We’re entitled! All on Earth is ours for the taking!” then turn and make our world an Omelet of Deviled Eggs!
From the spoils of our addiction, to profits quarterly earned, is spun the myth of Utopia! While Greed clear-cuts timber, and ancient forests burn
Priceless black blood lies in the womb of our Sacred Earth. The Blood of Dinosaurs and giant Ferns. As we—Sucking-up on it like Mother’s Milk— We as Combustion Burn!
The myth of endless growth slurps up— “me thinks” the broth of Sacred Life, eons ago gone Extinct.
Yet we reward extravagantly reckless greed. We make no shame, but tribute pay, to those who would pay-out our future lives away. To what extent and how far down are we drilling and willing to ignore, the council of our Wisdom that makes up Freedom’s Core.
What has blinded our good sense? That binds us to our folly. knowing it will be at our future world’s expense.
What has hobbled our humility and morphed it into Pride? Who has turned us off our path and broken up our stride?
We sing and shout the chant of Mammon “If I can buy it, it’s mine! If I can do it, I will!
Oh Stupid! Oh, Self-Deceived Fallen One We follow! Down our hole we Go?
No! Let us ransom our Earthly Mother— from out the skillet—set her free! So she can spin and twirl in dance, Blue Mother Dancing Free!
Lord God has let us ride through this our space and time, a ride given to us FREE. It’s where Earth has always been for us and where She always wants to be.
Fishers of Men go out further than any boat can know. They sail over the shoals and rocks, where no others dare to go!
They fish with nets of Mercy in seas and oceans drag, for those who’ve lost their footing and off the decks were dragged.
They troll in lakes of poison, in rivers clogged with slime to pull aboard the wretched that Sin has rendered blind. They scoop up the fragile and their kind, that hold fast to the line of flotsam and jetsam that hope has left behind!
They surf the tides of turmoil and teach no fear of death. They rise in swells of innocence until clear knowing builds and crests.
Fishers of men, fish for Souls, Souls that lose their way, those who’ve sunk below the pale, who in the deep of muck and dark, in the bottom lay.
Fishers of Men are Saviors! Compassion, Love, and Mercy are how they reach so deep. Following the Savior they’ve learned “Saving Grace” comes through Faith, Humility and Penance in Redemption is forgiveness. It is the Master’s Way, the Truth and the Life.
So as they Fish they teach us the Way to Pray, which is to say, fish to save, for ALL on Earth are fragile and ALL on Earth need us to Pray, to Serve, so in our own turn—We may save and with our Savior stay …
When the pandemic was announced in early March 2020 we were ordered to Lock-down in Quarantine.
As a professional woodcarver, and not knowing how long we would be quarantined, I realized I need to do a woodcarving—carving has always acted as a grounding effect for me.
And I knew it would need to be a carving that would speak to the Pandemic, but also that which I believe brought on the Pandemic—an imbalance in the mode in which we live with Nature, the destruction of the cosmos! Impending climate collapse!
The Question is, are we—the Human Species—continuing to cause this imbalance and if so, can we correct it?
This Question is the essence of the message of the carving.
We see our modern-day Adam pondering this question shown more as his temptation—recalling the original story of the Garden of Eden.
To answer this the parable of The Garden of Eden and the forbidden fruit speak to us here and now as we find ourselves in A Garden Moment of Time.
Eve and Adam
“Our Garden Moment”
Time was we thought right from wrong, was caused by what Adam did for lack of judgment less than strong.
But since we left the Garden we’ve wandered and we’ve strayed, off the straight and narrow, off the path we’ve paved.
Seems some still hold the feeling that it should not be them to shame— But that “surely it was the Other.” So they invented Blame.
So they reject the garden story along with forbidden trees. They see no problem in doing anything they “Damn Well Please!”
Now our Modern Adam has quite a powerful Thrust. Cause with nods from his Investors it is “In Him they Trust”
So it’s come and so it goes so many times around. It’s made us all quite dizzy and scrambled Sacred ground.
So now We stand-in with Eve and Adam, but this time we’re ALL around, looking up once again. But knowing the Forbidden Fruit still is mostly underground.
But now the truth stands out for us, for all of us to see, where once were lies, it’s clear, spoken in whispers, OH so low, whispered in one man’s ear.
So with Eve we tremble, as our new Adam eyes what may be reason, for the last time that we Fall. And again mistakes in thinking of no consequence if he listens to The Snake.
Our Eve cries out “Listen to us Mothers and Will-be Mothers, for little time is left. Hear our voice, it is our choice to birth and bear our kin. Who if worthy of Us, will do for those who follow, what WE now do for Them.”
For it was before, we little thought beyond our children and theirs. Now we must “In God we Trust” be the bridge for all our children’s future tomorrows…
BREATH OF LIFE “and then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and Man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
On this Earth Day 2019, I share this 27 x 40-inch oil painting. I conceived it with Teilhard de Chardin’s “Cosmogenesis” in mind. It makes visible how we are physically part of the Cosmos and of our Mother Earth. Hence it is a visualization of how all things are connected in God’s creation.
Significantly it is a reminder of the crisis we find ourselves in.
We here in Puerto Rico who have lived through Hurricane Maria have seen both the most beautiful and the most destructive forces of nature. When I think of the devastation, the waste and the suffering, I lament that we humans have contributed in a significant way to this most devastating, climate crisis.
Let us meditate on this Earth Day 2019 on our connectedness to all things.
We are the conscience of planet Earth!
Lord we pray, help us to be the Stewards of your Creation as you created us to be. Amen
“Earth lies polluted under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.” (Isaiah 24:5)
A.Vonn Hartung designed this poster for an ecumenical conference on the environment organized by the Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace in Puerto Rico on Earth Day 1993.
The poster is interactive. Hence the participants who purchased the posters received crayons. Proceeds went to the Faith-based environmental movement.
It depicts St. Francis giving thanks for Creation but he stands in a semi-polluted world. The scripture reading is from Isaiah 24:5 (“The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant”).
“Latter-Day Jonah” is a concept, that is, a drawing with a paste on image of planet Earth. It speaks of the crisis that we face with climate change due to the overuse of carbons in our energy consumption. Furthermore it highlights the unsustainable development that is taking place because of our predatory economic system. In fact, the technology that we have developed is so powerful that it is threatening to destroy the natural balance of God’s creation.
The threat that we witness in the drawing is both the terrestrial devastation shown by the power of the bulldozer and the crisis we face in over-fishing and pollution of our oceans. Here we see a young fisherman being swallowed like Jonah by a giant fish. This is symbolic of the Awakening of consciousness that we as a species are Awakening to as scientific data is revealed to us.
This drawing in some ways is a self-portrait. Indeed I recall becoming aware of the crisis that we face as Humanity peers into and contemplates our future.
I recently received an email from a theology graduate student at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown New Jersey. Eileen Connor Callahan stated that she was writing about the correlations between Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato Si’ On Care for our Common Home and my painting On Earth as it is in Heaven: through Him all things were made Jn 1:3(shown here). Indeed she was visualizing “Laudato Si'” through my painting. For this purpose she went on to ask me a few questions for her paper and slideshow. She presented them in early December 2018.
I painted this work 26 years ago, and it’s more relevant now than ever before! I now see it as an aid to visualizing “Laudato Si'”.
Certainly, I was inspired because of the deteriorating environmental conditions on this most delicate island, Puerto Rico. Unquestionably Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ On Care for our Common Home spelled out the environmental problems on a global scale.
Its message was loud and clear!
Undeniably, its message is clear and eloquently stated. Hence, it is a theological clarification of what the science reveals to us. Furthermore, for me Hurricane Maria brought it all into focus!
Some folks think we as an industrial society and economic system have little to do with causing climate change/global warming. But what parents would gamble on their children’s lives and future generations if there is a possibility that we can do our best to protect God’s sacred creation?
I have become aware that most Catholics/Christians have not read Laudato Si’, let alone studied the encyclical. It is clearly written and elegantly concise. What’s more, Pope Francis has quoted popes going back to Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI as well as the research of the most eminent international scientists renown in their fields. But unfortunately it is not being discussed as a prioritized issue in our churches or society in general.
This painting points to Laudato Si’ which spells out in everyday language both the environmental and spiritual crisis we are facing.
It was 49 years ago that we first received an image of ourselves from the Moon. In the process of sending a man to the moon for the first time, Joseph Allen, one of the astronauts who was involved in the planning process recalls:
“Among all the arguments that were made for and against traveling to the Moon, nobody mentioned the possibility that the best reason would be simply to observe ourselves.”
Undeniably, that turned out to be the reason. In other words to see ourselves from outside as planet. Thus, when we received the photo of our planet, it was a global revelation that changed the way we think. Thereafter our consciousness has never been the same. Specifically, we saw ourselves as we really are; that is, alone in the vast darkness of space; small, delicate, resplendent with life and divine beauty. Through Him all things were made.
To clarify, it was not until the beginning of the 70’s that we began to think about ethics and care of the environment. Generally, only mystics and environmentalists had commented on this. However, since then everything has changed. Significantly, the world has responded with a lot of important reflections. Moreover, we now have the scientific tools, the philosophical and ethical thinking to begin to reason about our responsibility regarding the environment.
Laudato Si’ spells it all out
Correspondingly, I painted this Work (Oil painting on wood panel, 42 x 57″) when I was a member of the Justice and Peace Commission of C.O.R. here in San Juan, Puerto Rico back in 1992. Certainly, I was inspired in part because of the deteriorating environmental conditions on this most delicate island. Specifically, the thoughtless over-development and pollution that was going on, and furthermore the destruction of local communities. Unquestionably Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ On Care for our Common Home spelled it all out completely. Undeniably,its message was clear and eloquently stated. Hence, it was a theological clarification of what all the science said. Furthermore, for me Hurricane Maria explicitly slammed down the proof of it!
To summarize, the painting is rhetorical in concept and presents us with two possibilities. That is, one in harmony with God’s Creation. In other words, a future of justice, peace and sustainability. The other of plunder, chaos, endless war and an ultimate collapse of nature and life on our planet home as we know it. Earth is painted in the form of an egg. This is to metaphorically symbolize the fragility of Earth’s ecosystem as well as her natural abundance and fertility. The metaphor of the egg is also used to show a covenant broken and the resultant rupture of earth’s fragile ecology as well as humanity’s fall from grace. Indeed, this has been caused by a flawed linear economic system based on the misuse of power and wealth, symbolized by the unholy use of GOLD.
Caring for the environment is a moral issue
There is no doubt about this. We humans have the tools to destroy or save civilization, because God created us with that capability. But he also created us with free will.
Caring for the environment is a moral issue. Through Him all things were made. Pope St. John Paul II emphasized the priority of ethics over technology, and spirit over matter. If we destroy the earth, we destroy the divine creation, we destroy ourselves.
Por medio de él todas las cosas fueron creadas (Jn 1:3)
Fue hace 49 años que hemos recibido por primera vez una imagen de nosotros mismos desde la Luna. En el proceso de enviar a un hombre a la luna por primera vez, Joseph Allen, uno de los astronautas que estuvo involucrado en el proceso de planificación, recuerda:
“Entre todos los argumentos que se hicieron a favor y en contra de viajar a la Luna, nadie mencionó la posibilidad de que la mejor razón sea simplemente observarnos a nosotros mismos”.
Y, esa resultó ser la razón, para vernos desde afuera como planeta. Cuando recibimos la foto de nuestro planeta, fue una revelación mundial que cambió la forma de pensar. A partir de entonces, nuestra conciencia nunca ha sido el mismo. Nos vimos como realmente somos; solo en la inmensa oscuridad del espacio; Pequeño, delicado, resplandeciente de vida, divina belleza.
No fue hasta principios de los años 70 que comenzamos a pensar en la ética y el cuidado del medio ambiente. Esto sólo fue comentado por los místicos y los ambientalistas, pero desde entonces todo ha cambiado. El mundo ha respondido con una gran cantidad de reflexiones importantes. Ahora tenemos las herramientas científicas y el pensamiento filosófico y ético para comenzar a razonar acerca de nuestra responsabilidad con respecto al medio ambiente.
Laudato Si’ lo explicó todo
Pinté esta obra (pintura al óleo sobre panel de madera, 42 x 57 ″) cuando era miembro de la Comisión de Justicia y Paz de C.O.R. aquí en San Juan, Puerto Rico en 1992, inspirado en parte por el deterioro de las condiciones ambientales en esta isla tan delicada, el sobredesarrollo y la contaminación irreflexivos que ocurrían, y la destrucción de las comunidades locales. La encíclica del Papa Francisco Laudato Si’ Sobre el Cuidado de la Casa Común lo explicó todo por completo. Su mensaje fue claro y dijo de forma elocuente. Fue una aclaración teológica de lo que decía toda la ciencia, y para mí, ¡el huracán María aplastó la prueba de ello!
La pintura es retórica en el concepto y nos presenta dos posibilidades: una en armonía con la Creación de Dios, un futuro de justicia, paz y sostenibilidad. El otro del saqueo, el caos, la guerra sin fin y el colapso final de la naturaleza y la vida en nuestro planeta, tal como lo conocemos. La Tierra está pintada en forma de huevo, simbolizando metafóricamente la fragilidad del ecosistema de la Tierra, así como su abundancia y fertilidad natural. La metáfora del huevo también se utiliza para mostrar un pacto roto y la ruptura resultante de la frágil ecología de la tierra y la caída de la humanidad en desgracia causada por un sistema económico lineal defectuoso basado en el abuso del poder y la riqueza, simbolizado por el uso profano de oro.
Una cuestión moral
No hay duda acerca de esto. Nosotros, los humanos tenemos las herramientas para destruir o salvar a la civilización, porque Dios nos creó con esa capacidad. Pero también nos creó con libre albedrío.
Cuidar el medio ambiente es una cuestión moral. Papa San Juan Pablo II hizo hincapié en la prioridad de la ética sobre la técnica, y el espíritu sobre la materia. Si destruimos la tierra, destruimos la creación divina, nos destruimos a nosotros mismos.