With our hands, but with your strength. The works of the Benedictine Monastic Tradition
“Who will give me wings like those of a dove, to fly and then find rest?” (Ps 54: 7). Can money, health, career, or a life full of comforts totally quench the original sigh expressed by this Psalmist, a sigh that manifests the need for a fulfillment that man cannot achieve with his own hands? Everything that man pursues as an end unto itself, even an object that is apparently good, dies in his hands if it doesn’t acquire a breath of the infinite. “Who will give me wings like those of a dove, to fly and then find rest?” Man will always remain with this eternal enigma which makes life and everything man touches, a mystery, because nothing is connected to anything else if the source of Being doesn’t make Himself familiar to man in a gratuitous, loving, and totally human encounter, which opens things and reality up to a divine horizon. Considered within this love relationship with Christ, even the smallest human gesture is transformed, recovered and can no longer be lost. It becomes part of God’s history in the world, and it acquires value in time as evidence of He who has created it and set it in motion. This is what gave origin to the Middle Ages with its cathedrals, works of charity, and Saints. This is how a new civilization was born. It is difficult in this epoch to find the names of the authors behind the works from that time, because it was a whole people who reflected on those stones the light of that Beauty which had illuminated their hearts. “With Our Hands, but with Your Strength”: this is the title of the exhibition that the monks of the Cascinazza are presenting at the Meeting, in cooperation with the Foundation for Subsidiarity. This title is not intended to reduce the importance of man’s work, which is an expression of human freedom. On the other hand, since man, through his work, cooperates in the implementation of God’s design, his work is more bold and creative than ever: “I can do all things – so says Saint Paul – through Christ Who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). This exhibition wishes to document how a Christian work is not born as a project but as an example. These works are not born in order to solve the world’s problems, but rather they are born out of wonder, a wonder that is the overabundance of what corresponds to one’s heart. All that is done according to this method ultimately turns out more adequate to the total needs of the person. The Christian works indicates a different relationship with reality. It is a relationship that originates from salvation, and yearns to save all of humanity, because this is exactly man’s ultimate need: to be saved. This exhibition presents 15 centuries of Benedictine monastic tradition. It is not simply a list of works, but, rather, it aims to highlight the method through which a work of art truly originates (Opus Dei), and how it can preserve this truth as it develops in time. If it is accomplished “with our hands, but with His strength,” it will always renew the wonder at how God, even today, makes the flower of true humanity blossom out of nothing.
Edited by the Monks of the “Cascinazza” and the Foundation for Subsidiarity.