Jonathan Mason is a parishioner at The Annunciation Church in Chesterfield and a Catholic artist. He writes about one of his paintings.
“I have at last finished the painting of the ‘Holy Eucharist’. This painting was originally going to be called ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness’, but as I proceeded with the painting I was persuaded by my prayers and meditations that it would serve God more if it drew one’s undivided attention to the Holy Eucharist. The very object which we hunger and thirst for as there is only one righteous one and that is Jesus the Christ.
“This painting was a long time in coming and the ideas and meditations started in 2019. The final painting was finished at the end of April, 2020. Albeit there were a few paintings I have completed in between. This one is a very special painting for me and my family as I painted it when we were denied the bread of heaven.
“There are interpretative parts in the painting that I had not considered, but ended up in the piece, nevertheless. I feel that this is the work of Our Lord. This is rather unusual for me as I do plan out my work meticulously and try to include hints into my prayers, meditations and contemplations.
“At the risk of sounding arrogant and insensitive to the artistic interpretation of others I would like to elaborate a little on the painting by giving the basic set up of all the pieces that make up this composition. The person on the top is Jesus (the model for this person was John Mullen) who was crucified, and this can be seen by the wound on his hand. The person at the bottom is a priest that is offering up the bread and wine. The priest that posed for this image was none other than our own Fr Bede. For all the non-Catholics Fr Bede is wearing the Easter vestments as this image is all about the Easter sacrifice.
“The scroll running through behind the Eucharist is the ‘Book of Life’. It has over 100 names written on it. Try to figure out the significance of the names and why they are upside down.
“The crucifix is a wooden sculpture. It is there to remind us first and foremost of the sacrifice that our sacrificial lamb paid as a ransom for our souls. The secondary reason is to remind us to pick up our own cross and to follow him into glory.
“The most important part of this painting is the Eucharist. This is the sole purpose of this painting and everything draws attention to it. It is the brightest part of the painting and the most contrasted. It is positioned over the very wound where the spear pierced his side. The chalice, which has the reflection of the priest, is position right below it as if to catch the blood and water that flowed from his side.
“I would also invite you to turn the painting upside down and see if there are any interpretative insights you can get from the painting being upside down. There are also interpretative elements of darkness and light, order and chaos.
“Now to mention a few accidentals that were not deliberately thought out by me but mentioned to me by others. The first comes from my brother, David Mason. This was the absence of faces. I did position the priest deliberately with his back to the congregation as that was the way the Mass was said before Vatican II. The priest would stand with his back to the congregation so that he would face the symbolic east (the Apse) where the light would rise. So that the whole congregation would follow the priest (who is Christ in persona) where he offers his body and blood for us, as a sacrifice. But coming back to the lack of faces I feel this is a great insight as the whole image is about the Holy Eucharist and there should be no distractions. So, thank you for that David.
“The second insight came from my daughter Crystal Mason. The hole in the sky just above the cross which was to signify that our route into glory is through the cross, is also has similar dimensions to that of the Eucharist. It looks like the Eucharist was taken from that part of heaven. This was a great insight as it opened a whole new level of interpretation as it reminds us of the manna from heaven and reinforces that this is the food from heaven, and whoever eats of it will never hunger. But as I say this alone is enough to contemplate on for a long time. So, thank you Crystal.
“There is so much more thought and insight to see in this image, I just pray that it will inspire you to take the time and let the Holy Spirit reveal its secrets to you.”