January 16, 2022, was the 1 year anniversary of my entry into Opus Angelorum. It was a big moment in my journey with the angels that have played an important role in my life. I began my official year-long preparation at a silent retreat in Oceanside, CA in August 2019, and I was scheduled to return there in 2020 to finish the process. Unfortunately, the pandemic changed those plans, but I finally got to do it in Buda, TX when a representative from the order came to the area.
I have intentionally chosen angels as a central or supporting figure in the majority of my paintings over the last few years and wanted to do a piece specifically on a guardian angel in honor of this big event.
I decided to paint this angel with an indigenous-Mexican appearance. I intentionally paint Latino-focused characters and was inspired by the Matachines that I love to see dance for the celebrations of December 12th. Like most Mexicans, my bloodline is mixed from many different cultures, and the indigenous celebrations are ones that viscerally speak to my heart.
Symbols of the Painting
“Enlighten my mind and heart…”
(From the Prayer of Consecration to the Guardian Angel)
“Enlighten my mind and heart,” is my favorite line from the angel consecration prayer as we asked the angels to increase their influence in our lives. The light is the force the angel bears as he approaches in the midst of darkness around.
The angel is posed mid-jump and dance, similar to the dance of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Tilma. He celebrates the inspiration he offers as a co-worker in life. His gesture is offering the gift and emerging from the darkness as he approaches in peace. His arm is also about to take action and the viewer can choose their interpretation of what the angel is about to do.
The patterns of dots of light and on the staff are reminiscent of many indigenous styles while not belonging to any one culture. It intentionally breaks a traditional style of European patterns in religious art.
“Behold, I send an angel before you, to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place which I have prepared”