Inspiration as Grace

The other essay in the Theological Aesthetics book I am reading that has especially moved me is by the liberation theologian Leonardo Boff from his book Liberating Grace:

“The poet, the musician, and the writer feel overtaken by inspiration.  On the one hand, it is they who do the work. Their energy and their deepest selves are totally involved. The effort to express themselves often leads to complete exhaustion. On the other hand, they feel possessed by something that is above them, outside them, or within them. It drives them to create, compelling them to express their inner experience to the outside world. The poet exclaims that he is overtaken by words. The painter explains that forms and colours take possession of him. It is an experience of gratutitousness.

“Artistic creativity does not dispense us from effort, serious preparation, and discipline.  But these things merely pave the way for inspiration. Inspiration itself cannot be produced. It breaks in unexpectedly. This explains the importance of the right moment, when a host of imponderable factors come together to allow for the explosive emergence of creativity. That is why people make a distinction between technique and creativity. Technique can be exercised anytime.  Creativity has its own time, and cannot be compelled to show itself whenever one wills it.”

Do you ever experience inspiration as grace?

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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