The Religion Network publishes Monday, Wednesday & Friday
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Welcome To The Religion Network!
I'm Lisa Bowman, editor of The Religion Network, a multi-faith Web site. This site provides inspirational quotes through an
exploration of a new spiritual theme every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Religion network is offered with the
conviction that inspiration can be found in all spiritual faiths, and furthermore, that finding the commonalities
among the world's religions is more healing than pointing up their differences.

Religion as an institution is a precious gift, blessing individuals and uplifting communities. However you choose to
worship, I hope this site enhances your journey. If you'd like to know my story, click on biography.



Beth Vendryes Williams, Madeleine L’Engle, Aristotle, Michelangelo, Thomas Merton,
James Whistler, Star Richés, Sarah Ban Breathnach, Book of Exodus

Dear Readers,

Today I'm handing the reins over to the fabulous New York artist, Beth Vendryes Williams. I combed through
her online gallery and selected some of her watercolors. Then I asked her if she wanted to write something
just for the readers of The Religion Network. She did, with great spiritual insight; she also contributed most
of today's quotes. You'll delight in her bright artistic soul and in the wisdom of her contemplations. Enjoy!

- Lisa

tree by beth vendryes williams

"What does creativity have to do with spirituality, you ask?  "Magical" describes perfectly the feeling
I have when I make a drawing, a painting, a bowl, clothing, or even a cookie or or loaf of bread. As a
child, I always loved the idea of bringing something out of what seems to be nothing. Even marking a
mark on a piece of paper is making your spirit visible. As spiritual beings in the vessel of our bodies,
it is essential to acknowledge the existence of the invisible soul within us. When I create, I am able to
listen attentively to the voice within me. When this happens, it sounds and feels like what meditating
is like. It gives me time and space to hear my God and then simply to articulate my response,
query or praise with my imagery. It is praying with images instead of words.

 I am sure that you have had an idea that you imagined in your mind and sooner or later, you actually
have created it. This is the process of creating, no matter which material you have used. All of us
are artists within the context of our own lives. So when you decide to clean the house, fold laundry
or arrange food on a plate, you are making your ideas visible in this world. When you
perform these acts with the intention of an artist by listening and responding,
suddenly a mundane act becomes a work of art and a prayer.

  Twyla Tharp, in her book, “The Creative Habit” and Madeleine L'Engle, in her books,
both point out the importance of working daily, regularly, disciplining ourselves
to be receptive to inspiration by developing a creative habit.

Many religious traditions also support prayers at certain pivotal points of the day.
In the Christian monastic tradition, the "liturgy of the hours" explores up to eight
times during the day to pray on a regular basis. This further impresses on me
the importance of habit in developing a creative habit that by its nature,
encourages listening to one’s soul.

Set aside a time each day to live creatively, whether it be reading a book or writing one,
drawing or looking at art or making a delicious and beautiful meal and sharing it.
Living creatively is one habit that will enrich your life, both inside and out.
When creating anything, even when making a mistake and transforming
it into an opportunity, there is a rising inside my heart of the fresh
breeze of a power greater than myself."

- Beth Vendryes Williams

Beth's paintings:
Beth's blog: Make art. Transform life.

Beth Vendryes Williams painting of a Boy Angel
Beth Vendryes Williams                         All rights reserved

We write, we make music, we draw pictures because we are listening for
meaning, for feeling, for healing. And during the writing of the story,
the painting, or the composing, or singing, or playing, we are returned
to that open creativity which was ours when we were children. We cannot
be mature artists if we have lost the ability to believe that which
we had when we were children. An artist at work is in a condition
of complete and total faith.

Madeleine L’Engle (1918 - )
From "Walking on Water,"
Wheaton Literary Series, 1980


The aim of art is to represent not the outward
appearance of things, but their inward significance.

Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)
Greek philosopher; teacher of Alexander the Great


The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.

Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect

Beth Vendryes Williams watercolor of landscape
Beth Vendryes WIlliams                                  All rights reserved

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.


Learn how to meditate on paper. Drawing and writing are forms of meditation.
Learn how to contemplate works of art. Learn how to pray in the streets or
in the country. Know how to meditate not only when you have a book in
your hand but when you are waiting for a bus or riding in a train.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968)
American Trappist monk and prolific author

Beth Vendryes Williams                                        All rights reserved

Art is not an end in itself. It introduces the soul
into a higher spiritual order, which it expresses
and in some sense explains.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968)
American Trappist monk and prolific author


As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight.

James Mc Neil Whistler (1834-1903)
American-born artist


Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul - and you answer.

Star Richés

Beth Vendryes Williams                                          All rights reserved

Whatever you're about to do today can be transformed into art,
if your heart is open and you're willing to the Great Creator's conduit.

...St. Francis of Assisi explains the creative process this way: the woman
who works with her hands only is a laborer; the woman who works with
her hands and her head is a craftswoman; the woman who works
with her hands, her head, and her heart is an artist.

Excerpted from "Simple Abundance,"
by Sarah Ban Breathnach
Warner Books, 1991


Creativity is a way of living life, no matter
what our vocation or how you earn a living.

Madeleine L'Engle
Excerpted from "Walking on Water,"
Wheaton Literary Series, 1980

Beth Vendryes Williams                                            All rights reserved

To work on a book is for me very much the same thing as to pray.
Both involve discipline. If the artist works only when he feels like
it, he's not apt to build up much of a body of work. Inspiration far
more often comes during the work than before it, because the
largest part of the job of the artist is to listen to the work, and
to go where it tells him to go...To pray is to listen also.

Most artists are aware that during the deepest moments of...creation,
they are out on the other side of themselves, and so are free from time,
with the same joyousness that comes in the greatest moments of prayer.

Madeleine L'Engle
Excerpted from "Walking on Water,"
Wheaton Literary Series, 1980

The Last Word:

All who are skilled among you are to come
and make everything the Lord has commanded.

Exodus 35:10

















































































Totally Random Bonus Quote:

Life is short, art eternal.

(ca. 460 - ca. 370 BC)
Greek physician of the Age of Pericles




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