P u b l i c a t i o n s   

“Giving Glory to God: Reflections of an Artist"

Exploring her own experience and discovery of the
unique tensions between spirituality and art, author
Gisele Bauche seeks to provide a voice and the
means for artists to reconcile these tensions and be freed for artistic expression of faith once more. Recognizing spirituality as the important motivator,
this book offers artists a source for prayerful meditation, creative inspiration, practical reflection,
joy, hope and praise in giving glory to God's eternal beauty, compelling the reader to give birth to the sight, sound, taste and touch of God's unconditional love in creation.

Foreword  by  Rev. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

Few things have the raw power of beauty.   It is the one thing that cannot be
argued with. What is beautiful, stuns, holds, draws, awakens, and transforms. 
Beauty enchants.  Drawn by its power, we stretch beyond ourselves and grasp for
more light and love. In Christian thought, there have always been theologies of beauty,
though rarely have they been used sufficiently.  Beauty, theologians tell us, is one of
the ways we journey towards God and each other. 
How does beauty work?

When we see beauty, we spontaneously begin to search for its ultimate source. 
In contemplating beauty, we search for God, pure and simple. Beauty therefore has a
summoning power, an arresting quality.  And the language it speaks is as elemental as heart attack.  It chooses us; we do not choose it. We know from personal experience that beauty comes upon us as a command, an imperative, a moral demand, as something that stops the heart.  To refuse beauty is to put a knife to our own soul. 
In this sense, even when we do not consciously relate it to its ultimate source, beauty still works to expand us, to turn us outward, to make us moral. 

It does this by reminding us, in a deliciously palatable way, that everything
second-best is really second-best because there is something that is first-best,
beyond where we are now.  In doing this, beauty reminds us too, as foes the
first page of scripture, that it is not good to be alone, that living in sovereign
aloneness and being lord to oneself is also something second-best.
And why is beauty so powerful?  What gives it its power to enchant?
Why is it that, despite sin, violence, self-absorption, third degree tiredness,
and flat-out stupidity, we can fall, as Hans Urs Von Balthasar so beautifully puts it,
into “aesthetic arrest”? At the deepest level of our being, we already know beauty and
resonate sympathetically with it because we are ourselves beautiful, created so by the
Ultimate Artist.  In the depth of our souls we carry an icon of the One who is beautiful
and is the source of all beauty.

And in that image of God inside of us. We carry the dark memory of once having
known perfect beauty and of once having been caressed by hands far gentler that
any we have met in this world.  In that place, all that is true. Good, loving,
and beautiful “rings true” because it is there that we are still innocent and inviolate
and bear the imprint of God’s beauty, God’s love and God’s truth.

In essence, beauty rouses dormant divinity inside of us.  It stirs the soul where it is
most tender.  What beauty does is kiss the soul in that same place where it still
remembers, in some dark manner, having once been kissed by God, long ago, long
before birth.  Beauty awakens the soul by mirroring it.  In beauty, the soul sees itself,
recognizes kin. Beauty then has an immense power to transform us, to call us back
from hurt, tiredness, and sin to health, enthusiasm, and gratitude. 
All beauty – be it the beauty of nature, the masterpiece of an artist,
the stunning grace of the human body in its bloom, or the more abstract,
though no less real, radiance of virtue and truth – is equipped to do this.

Beauty should be honoured.  Like love, it softens the heart and invites us out of
ourselves.  And, perhaps even more so than love, it reminds us, as Merton once said,
that we are “all walking around shining like the sun.”  Good theology must first of all
be beautiful. Some of us write our theology on paper.  Gisele Bauche writes hers on
church walls, on large canvasses, and, for icons, on pieces of wood stained with egg
tempera.  Mostly she does not use a word processor or a pen but a paintbrush and a
canvas.  But her goal is the same: to imprint God’s word into the human soul – and to
do it in a way that stirs dark memory and puts us into “aesthetic arrest.”