Laboureur dans un Champ (worker in a field),
Painting by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890),
Painted in Saint Rémy, France, early September 1889,
oil on canvas
© Christie's New York, 13 November 2017, sold for $81,312,500

Laboureur dans un Champ (worker in a field),
Painting by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890),
Painted in Saint Rémy, France, early September 1889,
oil on canvas
© Christie's New York, 13 November 2017, sold for $81,312,500

Gospel of 7 December 2022

Shoulder my yoke and learn from me

Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

Reflection on the painting

During 1889, Vincent Van Gogh was hospitalised and treated for mental health issues. This painting was done a few days after he was released from hospital, and we see a gentle Vincent here at work, rediscovering the colours, landscapes, and nature around him after his illness. Having begun this painting of a ploughman tilling the soil of a plot of land during the final days of August 1889, the artist completed it on 2 September, a few months before he died.

The brush strokes still show an anxiousness present in the artist, with angular lines, rather than free flowing ones. Especially poignant is the deep engagement Vincent shows with the soil and the turbulence it conveys. We often feel as though we have to plough our fields of doubt, brokenness, insecurities... but Jesus is making clear in our Gospel reading today that when we plough the fields of our souls, we should share our yoke with him and have him always right next to us.

This painting sold for $81 million in 2017 at Christie's New York.

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Hans Winter
Member
Hans Winter(@hans)
1 month ago

niet
nietig
niets doen
brengt herstel,
maar aangedragen
bijna nabije bestemming
voor ons als mens van de weg,
met ‘ja wees er’ begeesterd
rijst het rijk der hemelen
reeds van de grond,
oppakken komt er
van tast van pas,
gelijk van span
met hem
die je
vond.

naar Matteüs 11:28-30

Michael Trudeau
Member
Michael Trudeau(@michaeltrudeau)
1 month ago

The yoked animal has a task, a direction and a guide. It doesn’t wander but is fruitful. And it is obedient. Jesus captures a lot in just a few words.
A second thought: The Van Gogh Museum is amazing; but not as amazing as the Father answering the prayers of his children for a person they will likely never meet. That’s mind boggling.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
1 month ago

Shoulder my yoke and learn from me. This are very good words to ponder, loaded with meaning.
Today’s picture: $81 million!! I always wonder if whether we would even take any notice of VVG’s paintings, without the story….even in this, it’s his story that grabs us. I’m not a fan – though visiting the museum dedicated to him (which is curated chronologically along with his life) by the time I got to the end, I was seriously choked up – though not by the paintings. He is a modern phenomenon that’s for sure.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
1 month ago

Agree, I’d say better – and his ‘dark’ peasant studies are brilliant!

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
1 month ago

I love the ploughing paintings! There are many analogies to ploughing in the gospels, and for months I used this analogy to get through what has been a very difficult time indeed. We sometimes just need to take up that plough time and again, however rocky the ground, because He has taken up that yoke with us. I want to say thank you for all your good wishes and prayers yesterday. The change in my son’s mood was remarkable. I pray for you all this morning with deep gratitude and humility. God is good indeed.

Anthony
Member
Anthony(@anthony)
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

You are welcome. It seems timely that after yesterday’s prayer requests for loved ones we should have today a painting by a man with mental health problems and an encouraging reflection. I think the Lord is telling us He is with us now, and in everything. Thank you again Patrick.

Charles Marriott
Member
Charles Marriott(@chazbo)
1 month ago
Reply to  Anthony

Well said Anthony.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Thanks be to God.

Charles Marriott
Member
Charles Marriott(@chazbo)
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Excellent news! Prayers work….My daughter too is a bit better today.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
1 month ago

Deo gratias

Andy Bocanegra
Member
Andy Bocanegra(@bogie29)
1 month ago

Nice to hear. I will continue to include your daughter in my Rosary intentions today.

Andy Bocanegra
Member
Andy Bocanegra(@bogie29)
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Thanks be to God and the intercession of our Blessed Mother. I will include him again in my Rosary intentions today.

Anthony
Member
Anthony(@anthony)
1 month ago

I love Van Gogh. He put his heart and soul into his work.
Thank you Patrick that is a wonderful reflection.

Anthony
Member
Anthony(@anthony)
1 month ago

First book I read about VG was titled “In his own words” I was hooked. There is a super documentary about an amateur historian and Jeremy Paxman who tracked down the truth about Vincent’s ear.

Charles Marriott
Member
Charles Marriott(@chazbo)
1 month ago

He had the best brother anyone ever had. His wife allowed him to be buried next to Vincent as they were so close. So generous.

Silvina Tirabassi
Member
Silvina Tirabassi(@silvina-tirabasso)
1 month ago
Reply to  Anthony

I love Van Gogh for the same reasons that you say.

My father gave me the book “ Dear Theo” ( Cartas a Theo) when I was very young. He told me it’s talks about the love of brothers, tolerance and respect.

Papá estaba en lo cierto, “ Cartas a Theo” me acompañó toda mi vida.

Pd: we are four sisters… 😊!

Charles Marriott
Member
Charles Marriott(@chazbo)
1 month ago

Some of the most moving words ever spoken by Jesus. Surely the inspiration for the poem written at Ellis Island immigrant reception centre in New York; ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…send these, the homeless, the tempest tossed to me….

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