From the beginning, the Divine Artist wanted to reveal himself to man through beauty. God did not want to present Himself as doctrinal content, as a set of norms. In creating the world, He gave us the ability to produce colors, shapes and sounds to fascinate the human heart and to testify that in Him man can find beauty that satisfies all his desires.
God does not want to ‘convince us’; He wants to conquer or attract us. “Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow Him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendor and profound joy […].”1
I did Christian art for 29 years. The aspect that characterizes Christian art in evangelization is that it does not enter the field of rational conviction. Through beauty, aesthetics, emotion, and senses, art conveys an experience of God that goes straight to the heart. There are no barriers. When it is done with genius, with beauty, with anointing, art seduces and disarms a person. For people immune to the faith, art becomes the best tool to communicate the Gospel, the values, the truth, through this process of seduction, of attraction. (Wilde Fábio, Missionary and Responsible of the Shalom Community Secretariat of Art)
For this reason, “In order to communicate the message entrusted to Her by Christ, the Church needs art.”2 Creative art3 has been present in the Church since its beginnings, being considered a righteous activity and almost a sacrament4, a sacred and sensitive sign of an invisible reality.
The experience I have is that the God who knew me, who knew who I was, needed to find a way to reach me that was not the way of rational discourse. Because in this kind of discourse He would never have attract me to Himself. And so, He inspired me to make art. And in this art, I grew up, maturing, discovering myself as a person, as a child of God, and as a celibate. And today I can say that the person I am was made by God within the arts and in creating art. (Wilde Fábio, Missionary and Responsible of the Shalom Community Secretariat of Art)
The art in the Shalom Community is the expression and proclamation of the experience with Christ, the Risen One who passed through the Cross. For the founder, Moysés Azevedo, the stage is “a land of mission” and, therefore, a place to offer life in view of the salvation of men.
Through art, music, dance, and theater, with passion and new methods, the ever-same Gospel of Christ is proclaimed and reaches many people.
Certainly, the reaction to the preaching of a religious group can result in prejudices and criticisms; but for a well sung song, a well-executed dance or a visceral and profound play, it is impossible for a person not to surrender. I saw the life of so many people transformed by the encounter with God through beauty, through the arts. I have seen people so hurt, poor in the moral, social, and material sense that in the context of experiences with God and Christian art they have found meaning, dignity, human growth, and love. Art is not only an instrument of evangelization, but within it takes place the process of sanctification and deification.
In many continents, the fruits that I gather in people’s lives are immense. I was always amazed when an art that was produced here in Brazil goes to France, Germany, or Hungary and touches people who are so different from us, but who essentially have the same aspirations and desires. I feel great gratitude to God for art and art for God. (Wilde Fábio, Missionary and Responsible of the Shalom Community Secretariat of Art)
1 Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 167.
2 John Paul II, Lettera agli artisti, 12.
3 Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 167.
4 See Cardinal Montini, Speech to the members of CUIA (Catholic Union of Italian Artists).
Do you want to help the Shalom Community share with others the experience of God through the arts? Click here.