Voûtes Célestes,
Light projection by Miguel Chevalier (born 1959),
Digital projection installation,
Performed in 2016
© Miguel Chevalier

Voûtes Célestes,
Light projection by Miguel Chevalier (born 1959),
Digital projection installation,
Performed in 2016
© Miguel Chevalier

Gospel of 24 April 2024

I, the light, have come into the world

John 12:44-50

Jesus declared publicly:

'Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me, sees the one who sent me.

I, the light, have come into the world,

so that whoever believes in me need not stay in the dark any more. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully, it is not I who shall condemn him, since I have come not to condemn the world, but to save the world. He who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For what I have spoken does not come from myself; no, what I was to say, what I had to speak, was commanded by the Father who sent me, and I know that his commands mean eternal life. And therefore what the Father has told me is what I speak.'

Reflection on the Light Projection

Six years ago this art installation was screened and performed in the Church of Saint Eustache in Paris. 'Voûtes Célestes' is a light projection work by Miguel Chevalier that turned the Gothic church ceiling into the backdrop for a constantly morphing celestial sky chart. Cycling through 35 different coloured networks, it made the ceiling glow with each successive pattern, highlighting the grand architecture that lay below the swirling universes above. Gothic architecture and virtual, digital reality came together that evening. The light projection was also accompanied by some organ music, thus immersing the audience in a wash of sonic and visual splendour. You can see a short video of the evening here: https://vimeo.com/185925081.

'I, the light, have come into the world,' says Jesus in our Gospel reading today. The point Jesus is making is that if you believe in him, he will be the light in your life. Anyone who believes in him will never walk in darkness. This means mainly two things: first of all that we don't have to search for any other light, even though the world might be offering us alternative ones. Secondly, when we let him light our way through life, we can have a closeness to God like never before and be at peace.

Chevalier was born in Mexico City in 1959 and has lived in Paris since 1985. He is a digital artist, using computer-generated images and technology as an artistic means of expression. He draws from nature and art, space and science to create generative and interactive virtual-reality installations. In the 2016 installation he brought light to a dark ceiling... for just one evening. Christ's Light, however, is... eternal.

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Joseph Keppler
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Joseph Keppler
24 days ago

Projecting temporary electric color into cathedral architecture highlights a temporal difference between stone and light, then and now. Contemporary viewers have eyes more accustomed to seeing with imaging devices than to living without them, in coloring looks and presenting anatomy rather than in being one body and soul altogether.

George K
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George K
24 days ago

I believe I am a spiritual being having a human experience.
I believe the sun brings light to my human journey; however, the sun does not always shine.
I believe The Son, Jesus, always makes His Light available to my spiritual nature. Unfortunately, there are times I turn my back to Jesus and I see a shadow, I see only darkness. The good news is that I always have the choice to turn back to Jesus, to The Light. The Light overcomes the dark nights of my soul. Nowadays, I know nothing can extinguish His Light, and I consciously try to never close my ‘eyes’ to His Light. Today I have His Light and Words to guide me as I continue my journey.

Zeffi
Member
Zeffi
24 days ago

The Light comes into the dark places of the world, chasing away the shadows, and disrupting our cosy complacency, giving us a new perspective. Jesus is the great Disrupter, calling us to change our stuffy old ways and making us see all things anew.

Elvira
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Elvira
24 days ago

When I enter a church the first thing I look at is upwards, the height of the ceiling and how it is decorated. A few days we contemplate here in CA the coffered ceiling of the church of San Silvestro, much lower but very decorated to attract our attention… In a gothic cathedral, its great height makes us transcend, it ascends us to heaven… I think for me , that’s enough….(although I would have liked to see that projection of lights)
Jesus is the light that came into the world. Here John takes up what he had said in the prologue: “The word was the true light that illuminates every man who comes to this world” (Jn 1:9). “The light shines in darkness, but darkness could not overcome it” (Jn 1:5). Here He repeats: “I came to the world as light, so that all who believe in me do not continue in darkness”. To believe, to see, involves listening to their words, not just hearing them. Jesus is the answer to the great questions that man has, He is presented as the light that shines in the darkness. He is a light that brightens the horizon. He makes the luminous side of the darkness of faith known.

Patricia O'Brien
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Patricia O'Brien
24 days ago

I love this sort of thing – the contrast and incongruity of the art and its setting makes it even more impressive.

Noelle Clemens
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Noelle Clemens
24 days ago

I watched half of the video Fr. Patrick posted and found it rather disturbing, the organ music jarring. Years ago I saw Son et Lumière on the front of Notre Dame de Paris, slower, quieter, and with the bonus of historical narrative. Today I’m visiting another Cathedral, where there have been several installations recently, but quieter, more meditative. There are lots of different kinds of light. I’m looking for the Light that teaches, shows me the Way, and never goes out. I wonder if Christ’s light shines differently for each each one of us? A beautiful dawn here, what a difference light makes in our lives. Lord, keep Your light alive in us.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
24 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Noelle, you just made the definitive point about today’s gospel AND today’s art.
Christ’s light does shine differently for each of us…just as some see stunning beauty whereas others are unmoved 😊

Noelle Clemens
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Noelle Clemens
24 days ago

So true, Patricia, that perceptions vary! I am passing through the most glorious countryside on the train journey, yet most seem unmoved and are glued to their phones – as I am, but briefly!

Rosemary Hart
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Rosemary Hart
24 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Glued to their phones! I realise they are entitled to their preferences but to me that feels sad! I live in glorious countryside (after years spent existing in towns) and every time I leave the house I’m still , after 20 years, rejoicing in my good fortune in living here!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
24 days ago
Reply to  Rosemary Hart

So sad. Live in the moment – be aware of the world and your surroundings I tell my children. How often you try and strike up a bit of a chat when you are out and people have some device shoved in their ear.
Be porous – soak up life and this world and you might even encounter God while you are out and about!! But not if you’re listening to the latest bit of news.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
24 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Thumbs up, Chazbo, wise words.

Rosemary Hart
Member
Rosemary Hart
23 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Today it’s Beethoven’s 6th – the Pastoral, on the radio at the moment. The Shepherd’s Hymn of Thanksgiving says everything about the joy of experiencing God in Nature, and I love it even more than the 7th!

Last edited 23 days ago by Rosemary Hart
Rosemary Hart
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Rosemary Hart
23 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Quite right, Chazbo!

Rosemary Hart
Member
Rosemary Hart
24 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Thanks Noelle, I’ll watc h without the sound because I’m currently listening to the opening movement of Beethoven’s 7th, which I mention because it’s so joyful that it echoes the theme of today’s message. It was the main work in a charity concert I went to a few days ago, in a beautiful church, and in all the years I’ve loved this symphony I never before heard it resound with such joy as it did then!

I often think that if you are an atheist, life must seem incredibly gloomy. Put Jesus back into the equation and I instantly feel happy again!!

Last edited 24 days ago by Rosemary Hart
Rosemary Hart
Member
Rosemary Hart
24 days ago
Reply to  Rosemary Hart

The video is beautiful and it goes very well indeed with Beethoven’s 7th symphony!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
24 days ago
Reply to  Rosemary Hart

That’s a good recommendation, thank you Rosemary.

Monica Doyle
Member
Monica Doyle
24 days ago

We had some thing similar in Cobh, Ireland a few years ago and it was a huge hit! People loved it! Brought gang back to a Cathedral they may never have spent time in! A gift!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
24 days ago

I hestitate to say this as it might come over as rather downbeat but I don’t really approve of these attempts to ‘upgrade’ beautiful churches. It is done a lot in this country in the big cathedrals.
This light display would be a great improvement if trained onto an ugly 1970s building for example.
‘Gilding the lily’ comes to mind.

Crissymontes
Member
Crissymontes
24 days ago

I have been thinking it would be cool if a digital artist would make Dante’s “Paradiso” come to life. Looks like Chevalier is the one who could do it!

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