In a time when the world is chasing likes and shares and being “seen” by others from the other side of a screen, unleashing true creativity- to make something original and beautiful for the sake of itself, something that reveals authentic humanity, beauty and truth- is becoming more and more necessary. In a time when every other famous movie or song is a riff/take on something created 20 years before, we absolutely need the creative- not just the imitative. We don’t need Christians who imitate the culture that embraces trends while trying to also stick out from the crowd as “different” and “unique”, we need Christians who challenge the dysfunctions they see and experience in the light of Christ, hold a mirror up to the world and reveal the truth of its dry wells.
How do we answer the call to the creative? It’s something every Catholic saint has shown us how to do, by simply and freely becoming who they were made to be. They looked to the God who created them- unique and unrepeatable from every other person in the world and, instead to trying to fit the mold and somehow come out unique, they let the unrepeatable part of them do the work it was meant to do. In doing so, they were able to tap into the creativity of God, to walk into the niches that only their unique persons could.
There are people you are meant to meet, souls you are meant to touch, lives you are meant to change, that only you can reach. No amount of trying to repeat St. Francis of Assisi or St. Therese of Lisieux is going to accomplish that work. It takes a Sophia, going to the icon workshop that only she was into, in that particular moment in time, to reach that person who sat in the corner of the room and needed a kind word. If she had tried to be a St. Teresa of Avila or St. Jerome in that moment, it wouldn’t have worked! She would’ve been somewhere else; unable to reach the soul that needed who she was and made to be (with all of her unique experiences in life and of the love of God), in that moment.
St Iranaeus once said, “The glory of God is man fully alive”. This being alive encompasses embracing the length, breadth and depth of the creativity that the Lord has posited in you. There is no need to fear breaking boundaries or barriers within such a space, and there is no better example of this than Mary. Our Lady did not hesitate when the angel announced to her the immaculate conception- probably something she had never heard or dreamed of, before that moment. Yet she let her person, embrace the creativity of God, and spoke her Fiat. And this is the ultimate beauty of entering into the creativity of God- a God who makes every snowflake different from another, who chose to make butterflies with short lifespans beautiful anyway, a God who gave you and me different voices when maybe he could have given us all one monotonous voice (and by that choice created our ability to sing and make music). This God, our God, oozes creativity from every pore. He makes impossible things happen, using methods and people in ways that you never thought of. He challenges and surprises in every space of creation, because He is God and, the wind, water, time, matter and physics bend to His tune.
I often wondered about what the Lord meant when he said, “In the last days…I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams” (Acts 2:17). Often we talk of young people as dreamers and the old as visionaries, but here the Lord is doing something new. He shows us that even we are young and lack wisdom, he can provide visions and when we are old and have lost hope in dreams, he can delight our hearts beyond our wildest imaginations. Imagine what each of our lives would be, if we allowed ourselves to enter into the heart of such a Creator? If we allowed Him, to inspire us and, lead us to create in the world? We would no longer need to be imitators of the world, but could instead show through simple beauty, what the hand of God can do, and what heights he has destined for those who walk with Him.