Feeding The Lake

Walking On Water

Reflections on Faith & Art

Chapter 12

To serve a work of art is almost identical with adoring the Master of the Universe in contemplative prayer. In contemplative prayer the saint (who knows himself to be a sinner, for none of us is whole, healed, and holy twenty-four hours a day) turns inwards in what is called “the prayer of the heart,” not to find self, but to lose self in order to be found.

~Madeline L’Engle

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The Other Side Of Silence

Walking On Water

Reflections on Faith & Art

Chapter 11

When I am writing, on the other side of silence, as it were, and I am interrupted, there is an incredible shock as I am shoved through the sound barrier, the light barrier, out of the real world and into what seems, at least for the first few moments, a less real world. The same thing is true in prayer, in meditation. For the disciplines of the creative process and Christian contemplation are almost identical.

~Madeline L’Engle

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The Journey Homeward

Walking On Water

Reflections on Faith & Art

Chapter 10

Artists have always been drawn to the wild, wide elements they cannot control or understand—the sea, mountains, fire. To be an artist means to approach the light, and that means to let go our control, to allow our whole selves to be placed with absolute faith in that which is greater than we are. The novel we sit down to write and the one we end up writing may be very different, just as the Jesus we grasp and the Jesus who grasps us may also differ.

~Madeline L’Engle

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Do we Want The Children To See It?

Walking On Water

Reflections on Faith & Art

Chapter 9

A pianist does not have to be a practicing Christian to play Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata or the rippling second movement of Ginastera’s piano concerto. As my friend Tallis once remarked, “When your car breaks down, you don’t ask if the mechanic is an Episcopalian. You want to know how much he knows about cars.”

~Madeline L’Engle

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The Bottom Of The Iceberg

Walking On Water

Reflections on Faith & Art

Chapter 8

I’m grateful that Bach’s Christianity was realized in both his conscious and subconscious mind. But being a practicing Christian is not part of the job description, and sometimes God chooses most peculiar people to be vessels of genius. My mother used to sigh because her beloved Wagner was such a nasty man. And I was horrified to have some students tell me that a lot of people actively disliked Robert Frost. How does one separate the art from the artist? I don’t think one does, and this poses a problem. How do we reconcile atheism, drunkenness, sexual immorality, with strong, beautiful poetry, angelic music, transfigured painting?

~Madeline L’Engle

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Names And Labels

Walking On Water

Reflections on Faith & Art

Chapter 7

The world wants to shove us into what it considers the appropriate pigeonhole. I do not like to be labelled as a “Christian children’s writer” because I fear that this will shove me even further into the pigeonhole which began to be prepared for me when A Wrinkle in Time won the Newbery medal. If I am so labelled, then the implication is that I am to be read only by children, and Christian children at that. Though the chief reason that Wrinkle was rejected for over two years and by thirty-odd publishers was because it is a difficult book for many adults, the decision was made to market it as a children’s book; it won a medal for children’s books. Therefore, I am a children’s writer, and that is all I’m allowed to be.

~Madeline L’Engle

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Probable Impossibles

Walking On Water

Reflections on Faith & Art

Chapter 5

Let me return to Aristotle’s “that which is probable and impossible is better than that which is possible and improbable.” I’ve been chewing on that one since college, and it’s all tied in with Coleridge’s “willing suspension of disbelief.” If the artist can make it probable, we can accept the impossible—impossible in man’s terms, that is. Aristotle, not knowing the New Testament, could not add, “With man it is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” — The artist at work is less bound by time and space than in ordinary life. But we should be less restricted in ordinary life than we are. We are not supposed to be limited and trapped. As a child it did not seem strange to me that Jesus was able to talk face to face with Moses and Elijah, the centuries between them making no difference.

~Madeline L’Engle

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A Coal In The Hand

Walking On Water

Reflections on Faith & Art

Chapter 4

I am grateful that I started writing at a very early age, before I realized what a daring thing it is to do, to set down words on paper, to attempt to tell a story, create characters. We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are, to see through plastic sham to living, breathing reality, and to break down our defenses of self-protection in order to be free to receive and give love.

With God, even a rich man can enter the narrow gate to heaven. Earthbound as we are, even we can walk on water.

~Madeline L’Engle

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Healed, Whole And Holy

Walking On Water

Reflections on Faith & Art

Chapter 3

All children are artists, and it is an indictment of our culture that so many of them lose their creativity, their unfettered imaginations, as they grow older. But they start off without self-consciousness as they paint their purple flowers, their anatomically impossible people, their thunderous, sulphurous skies. They don’t worry that they may not be as good as Di Chirico or Bracque; they know intuitively that it is folly to make comparisons, and they go ahead and say what they want to say. What looks like a hat to a grownup may, to the child artist, be an elephant inside a boa constrictor.

So what happens? Why do we lose our wonderful, rackety creativity? What corrupts us?

~Madeline L’Engle

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Cosmos From Chaos

Walking On Water

Reflections on Faith & Art

Chapter 1

Plato spoke of the necessity for divine madness in the poet. It is a frightening thing to open oneself to this strange and dark side of the divine; it means letting go of our sane self-control, that control which gives us the illusion of safety. But safety is only an illusion, and letting it go is part of listening to the silence, and to the Spirit.

~L’Engle, Madeleine. Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

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