Franz Kafka was a prolific author of novels and short stories from the nineteenth century. In an interview, Kafka connects religious devotion (prayer) to art:
Prayer and art are passionate acts of will. One wants to transcend and enhance the will’s normal possibilities. Art like prayer is a hand outstretched in the darkness, seeking for some touch of grace which will transform it into a hand that bestows gifts. Prayer means casting oneself into the miraculous rainbow that stretches between becoming and dying, to be utterly consumed in it, in order to bring its infinite radiance to bed in the frail little cradle of one’s own existence. (From BrainPickings.org)
In art we ask for gifts of grace. We don’t know where the ideas come from or what the Muse might tell us… but we need a miracle.
In prayer we ask for gifts of grace. A gift to love the unlovable. The gift of presence from the Almighty. Prayer is a plea for something we can’t do for ourselves. Art and prayer both require an act of the will.
Art is a mystery. We don’t know why we create, or where the ideas come from, or when they’ll come, or why we can’t stop creating stuff… But by the grace of God the miracle of art comes in time.
Art can be a spontaneous response to beauty. Prayer is a response to the beauty, grace, mercy, and power of God and his creation.
Prayer and art seek the same things. Prayer and art use the same process. Asking, pleading, listening, and thinking. Art and prayer seek the same goals.
Gifts of grace.
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