Prayer, study, meditation, work – Le Farad

At the end of the 90s of the last century, and at the request of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, some monks left the Cistercian Abbey of San Isidro de Dueñas, in Palencia, for Ecuador, where, near the In the town of Salcedo, in the Sierra, they founded the first monastery of contemplative life, Santa María del Paraíso, where I was received twice. And it was in the Abbey of San Isidro de Dueñas that the painter Indalecio Sobrino entered, for a short period, and from which he left laden with sketches of monastic figures and situations on paper, and animated by the breath of the spirit that they breathe these figures and these situations. Sketches and spirit, which took artistic form in the paintings which, under the title “The Light of Silence”, are exhibited in the “Obispo Manuel Sánchez Monge” exhibition hall of the Cathedral and the Diocesan Historical Archive of Santander.

In the pictorial work of Indalecio Sobrino, the artist gives pride of place to people in the exercise of their various activities, exercised by hobby or profession, human figures who dance, fight, play an instrument. .. or simply “are there”, under the eyes of those who want to see them. People whose soul has doors open to the outside, and it is this opening that Indalecio Sobrino paints in the human bodies he paints.

They are also human figures that he shows in “The Light of Silence”, but human persons who, without ceasing to “be there”, their spirit is open doors inward, paradoxically towards transcendence, c that is to say people who “are by themselves”. I’m not an expert in painting, neither theoretical nor practical, so it’s not up to me to go into techniques or styles. I am not a monk either, but I frequently frequent monasteries, more nuns than monks, who, beyond gender, identify themselves by a mode of life, the contemplative, according to fundamental rules which order their work and their hours.

It was enough for me to enter the exhibition hall of the cathedral for “The light of silence” to make me feel that I had entered a monastic environment, in which the monks respect the times of prayer, reading / study, meditation and work, which is to say to feel the spirituality which makes the being and the doing of the monks, expressed in their faces and in their gestures, whether in the choir, in the refectory, in the library, in the orchard… because the contemplative life has its component of activity – contemplative life -, both of calm and quiet moments of interior and intimate isolation, as well as of time of physical work in the cultivation of the land, that the “pray and work”, has its complement in the “mens sana in a healthy body”. The attentive mind to study and meditation; the heart, immersed in prayer; the arms, at the service of the earth which, in turn, serves them: three different activities and a single true being: the locked up monk, again the paradox in a world open to transcendence, the cloister.

“The Light of Silence” makes the spectator, this spectator, sympathize with the emotion of spirituality, which emanates from a mysticism of everyday life, where the transcendent good and the true compete, and where it is the beauty of the paintings that , through the impression of the senses and the shock of sensitivity infuse in the spirit of the spectator, of this spectator, this truth and this goodness.

Pray in silence, but isn’t silence already a prayer? Indalecio Sobrino captured the light, which illuminates this silence, when the choir is in darkness. And it excites.

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