I was young the day that JPII died, but I remember vividly the feeling of loss, as though a dear friend had passed away. Of course I never actually met Pope Saint John Paul II, but when I was inspired to begin painting a series of saints his was the first image I chose. Only now do I realize why: one of his greatest messages was the call for this generation to a New Evangelization. I am this generation, and this is but one small I way I can share Beauty and Truth with the world.
I am coming to see that the only way that someone as flawed and weak as I am could possibly get to heaven is if Jesus bends down and picks me up in his arms, and lifts me to the heights of holiness himself. He is the one who will unwrap these ropes of doubt and sin and equip me with the grace to live this ordinary life with extraordinary love.
When Thérese was a child, her older sister Leonie decided that she had outgrown some of her playthings. Before giving them away, she offered them to her younger sisters. Celine politely chose a single toy. When it came to Thérese’s turn, she grabbed the entire basket and proclaimed, “I choose all!”
This story illustrates well how this future saint approached the spiritual life. She understood that there are many degrees of holiness and she wanted the very highest degree. “My God,” she cried, “I choose all! … ‘I choose all’ that You will!”
I was inspired for this painting during mass one day. As it was one of my first attempts at digital painting, I spent dozens upon dozens of hours working to get it just right. My dad has been selling magnetic prints of it from his site since the Christmas after I painted it, and it’s weird to walk into random people’s homes and see it stuck to their fridge.