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The illusion of peace. (meditation).

GOOD IS NOT A JUDGMENT we can make about ourselves. We instinctively react against Ingres' young marquis, who so obviously has a high opinion of himself. Whether he considers himself virtuous is not spelled out, but he stands before us with the restrained smirk of self-admiration. Those who are genuinely good always doubt their goodness. Peace does not depend upon anything, certainly not upon our own certainty of moral righteousness. It depends upon humble desire (with the emphasis on humble) to do what is right. Ingres' sitter, decorations prominent, simplicity of attire elegantly visible, hands electric with a sense of superiority, has a totally dependent kind of peace. Humiliation and failure would explode it, whereas true peace is impervious to events. Peace rests upon the decision always to struggle toward goodness, whatever our condition. In this light, one feels compassion for Amedee-David, with all his spiritual disadvantages.

By SISTER WENDY BECKETT of Norfolk, England, well-known for her BBC and PBS television art series and her popular art books. Reprinted with permission from: Sister Wendy's Book of Meditations (DK Publishing, 1998; 888-342-5357). Painting: Amedee-David, Marquis de Pastoret, by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1826, The Art Institute of Chicago).
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Title Annotation:painting of Marquis de Pastoret
Author:Beckett, Wendy
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2002
Previous Article:Communion waiver: let's not spurn Jesus' invitation to drink from his cup. (the examined life).
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