Sister Wendy Beckett, a Carmelite nun from Norfolk, England, has gained an international reputation for finding the sacred meaning of classic and contemporary art. She offers her enlightening commentary on thirty-one representations of saints and eight modern "Images of Love." A motif that threads through both sections is the view of prayer as surrender, receptivity, and response. The faithful ones such as Andrea del Sarto's "St. Agnes" and Lorenzo Lotto's "St. Catherine of Alexandria" reveal the serenity of absolute confidence in God. Stillness in the presence of the Most High is a theme in two of the modern works — Anthony Caro's "Early One Morning" and Michael Finn's "Crucifix."
All of these artists help us see that the spiritual practices of listening, reverence, wonder, and yearning are mystical avenues of approach to the Beloved. Or as Sister Wendy Beckett puts it, "May we learn to give Jesus utter freedom within us, so that everything we are and do may be used for the mystery of love."