Saint Moses the Ethiopian


“‘Abba Poemen said: Abba Moses asked Abba Zechariah a question when he was about to die, and said unto him, ‘Father, is it good that we should hold our peace?’ And Zechariah said unto him, ‘Yea, my son, hold thy peace.’ And at the time of his death, whilst Abba Isidore was sitting with him, Abba Moses looked up to heaven, and said, ‘Rejoice and be glad, O my son Zechariah, for the gates of heaven have been opened.'” — The Paradise of the Holy Fathers

Editorial from the Winter 2013 Issue of The Stained Glass Quarterly

Research: It’s What to Do With Winter

Right now, I’m working on a project that involves tracing the development of iconography in certain key Biblical scenes relevant to the life of Christ and frequently depicted in visual art from their earliest origins to their most recent presentation, with the goal of closely examining the spiritual truths presented in these scenes and of coming to a fuller understanding of how those truths are communicated to the viewer in a meaningful way that further develops an understanding of the relationship between the substance of the message and the style of its presentation. This will, I imagine, at some point, result in an article. Although, if it doesn’t — if, ultimately, my working premise cannot be either supported or modified to produce a meaningful result and I end up abandoning the project entirely — well, at least the research is worth doing. Besides, I write this on a morning when the weatherman said we can expect our first winter weather, with possible minor accumulations of snow and ice overnight tonight and tomorrow morning. It could be a long winter, and I really can’t think of a better way to spend it than working on a few research projects.

There’s a nice research article in this issue. Bryant Stanton’s The Dark Age of American Stained Glass: The Tiffany Glass Company 1888 – A Productive Year (which begins on page 272) takes an in-depth look at a group of Good Shepherd-themed windows from Tiffany produced in 1888 and installed in churches across the country. I know Bryant personally, and I know he put a lot of time and effort into producing this article. It’s quite an article; I enjoyed reading it and am very glad to be able to include it in this issue of the magazine. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I would love to be able to print more research articles in the coming issues of The Stained Glass Quarterly. If there’s something you’d like to know more about — a window, a theme, a style, a particular artist, windows from a particular region or period — really, anything you want to know more about — I would strongly urge you to consider doing the research and presenting what you find in an article for publication. The fact that you want to know more about a certain topic probably means that others do, too. Doing in-depth research and presenting one’s findings is a great way to advance everyone’s understanding of stained glass, or religious art, or painting techniques, or even the history of how stained glass windows are sold.

One of the great things about pursuing a research article is that you don’t have to start out an expert… but you might end up one, if you carry the research far enough. It is amazing what one can learn if one is willing to collect the pieces and connect the dots. Besides: education is its own reward; it’s not possible to waste time when that time is spent in learning something new or in coming to a deeper understanding of something already learned.

If what I’ve written here inspires you to pursue such an article, I look forward to reading it and hope I can include it in a future edition of this magazine. Of course, I’m looking for other types of articles as well. I would very much like to be able to print more articles about the business of stained glass written by stained glass businesspeople. Technical articles — articles about how to do specific craft techniques, or a new way of approaching a task — are always something very much in demand.

The thing about the readership of The Stained Glass Quarterly is that the people who read it are the experts in the field. That’s the nature of a professional trade journal: Its readership includes the very people who should be sharing their knowledge, experience, and skills with others in the form of articles. Winter is upon us. Won’t you take a little time this winter and consider writing an article?


Thursday of the First Week in Advent – Reflection

Good Shepherd

Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

Scripture speaks to this theme often. In other places, it warns us not to be mere hearers of the Word; it warns that faith and works cannot be separated. In today’s Gospel, we hear Our Lord addressing a warning to “everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them.” Christ tells us that those people “will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

However, that is not the reality to which we are called. We who hear the Word of the Lord are called to action. We are called to works.

We build our houses firmly on rock: we build them on the rock of faith; we build them on the rock of the Church. Then, when various trials come – when the winds of life blow and the rains fall, our house and our faith does not collapse. It is set firmly on rock.

Jesus is calling us to action today. True faith – the kind worthy of our call as followers of Jesus Christ – compels the faithful to live the faith we profess. When our faith is lived, it is seen. We become a witness to the joy of faith. But to live the faith, we must do the will of Our Father in Heaven. God can accomplish many good works through one who is prepared to answer Christ’s call and authentically live the faith.

Artificial Control

“Of course production cannot be unbound from limits and as with all attempts at freedom beyond limits the result is violence. This violence is evident across the country in confinement chicken and pork operations. In both cases animals are bred for very particular ends such as large breasts or lean bacon that often result in a weakened gene pool. The goal is to create a series of perfectly-mirrored animals without any of the variety found in nature . These animals are then kept in large warehouse-like structures and kept in a way that is intended to maximize the speed of the animal’s weight gain with minimal losses that might affect the bottom line. The animal is not seen as an animal, but as a part of an industrial process that will result in a protein product. This is exemplified by Cargill’s move to follow the current business orientation toward providing ‘solutions’ rather than products. The pigs being raised for Cargill are a part of Cargill’s ‘Meat Solutions’ division — a pig is then reduced to a solution to a protein problem. Gone is both the joy of food and the tradition of animal husbandry — a tradition in which the words ‘products,’ ‘protein’ and ‘solution’ seem fairly out of place.”

–Ragan Sutterfield, “Farming As A Spiritual Discipline”

Monday of the First Week of Advent, 2013

jesus and the centurion 2

“Lord, I am not worth that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” We say these words at Mass every day – and even at today’s communion service – when we behold the Lamb of God… when we behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. And when we recall that blessed are those who – like us – are called to the Supper of the Lamb.

In today’s Gospel, we hear these words spoken by the centurion. A centurion is a professional soldier in the army of Rome. An officer. He would command at least 80 men; likely, he commanded a cohort – 480 men. He might have even commanded more. He was a man with considerable temporal power. He gave orders and those orders were obeyed; to disobey could carry dire consequence.

And yet – despite that – here we see a commander who understands that there is a limit to what he can command. He has the wisdom and the humility to recognize that his power is limited – his power: the power of the world; the might of the Roman Empire – has its limit and it is nothing compared to the power of the Lord. He sees that he is not even worthy to have Jesus enter under his roof. It would not be a meager roof, but that’s not the point.

Despite his worldly power, it was his humility that brought him to faith in the Lord. Kindness caused him to seek the good of another – not an equal according to the order of worldly power. A servant. And faith caused him to realize that the power of Jesus was such that he didn’t have to come; he didn’t have to visit the house and see the servant. Jesus could simply command it, and it would be done.

This is the kindness and concern for others that we should show. This is the faith and humility to which we are called – we who come from the east and the west. No matter how powerful a person may become, no one can save himself. Jesus – our Lord – can heal us; can make us whole; he alone can bring us to the kingdom of eternal life. In the end, worldly power means nothing. Divine power – the power of the Lord – is the only true power.  It is the only eternal power. The only saving power. And this is why we pray every day, “Lord, I am not worth that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”