October 2011 Prayer and Reflection

From the October 2011 cover of Living with Christ

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imageRed Vineyards at Arles, Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) LOCATION: Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia CREDIT: The Bridgeman Art Library International

By Living with Christ Staff

In 1888, after filling many canvases with images of the summer harvest in Provence, Dutch post- Impressionist Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) turned his attention to the vineyards of the region. Believed to be the only painting he sold during his lifetime, Red Vineyards at Arles is a wonderful example of his shift to the arbitrary use of color to express mood.


As peasants—mostly women—labor in the vineyard harvesting the grapes, a radiant sun pulsates with its life-giving energy. Broad brushstrokes portray the workers in dark tones, while the red vines, yellow sky, and shimmering yellow-blue road brighten the scene. Although the mood may seem a bit somber in the foreground, as we move back toward the gracious sun the mood lightens, suggesting the brighter day ahead.


This month’s cover invites us to consider how God sees “vineyards”—the vineyards of our hearts, of our labors, of our Church.


If you wish, sit quietly with the picture, and reflect on the following questions:


  • What gifts have I been given for use in the vineyard of the Church?
  • Where in God’s vineyard am I being called to labor?
  • How have I experienced God’s “sun” as I labor?
  • How might God want to harvest the fruit that grows in the vineyard of my own heart?


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