As he continues his central roles as a Legionary of Christ priest and as Patrons International Director, Father Mark Haydu has added a new chapter to his story—launching a career as a published author. On Novermber 1st, 2013, his authorial debut, Meditations on Vatican Art, was published by Liguori Press. True to its title, Meditations on Vatican Art aligns masterpieces from the Vatican Museums collection with passages, prayers, and reflections to guide readers through an Ignatian-inspired regiment of spiritual meditation. While the concept clearly takes a page from his major vocations, it is exciting to learn exactly how he arrived at this beautiful idea. In the following excerpt, Fr. Mark speaks candidly about the inspiration and path to fruition of Meditations on Vatican Art.
“Where did the idea come from? Walking through the [Vatican Museum] galleries and stopping in front of a work of art, I often found myself provoked to reflection and then eventually to prayer and meditation. A detail I had never seen before would jump out at me and I would relate it to my life in a new way. At times I would be praying at home and I would remember a painting that expressed what I was praying about. So, I thought it would be great to use works of art in my own prayer. I found it added so much. My imagination became an ally rather than a source of distraction. Then, the problem became which works to pick and how to arrange them. The Spiritual Exercises seemed like a natural choice since I had followed St Ignatius’ retreat every year since entering the seminary. Marrying the greatest collection of sacred art with a time-tested method of prayer is a powerfully transformative spiritual combination. But this was all just an idea until a Patron suggested that Liguori contact me to write a book on art. [When they did,]we spoke for a bit in a hotel cafe in Minneapolis and [their rep] told me what ideas they had. I didn’t think I could write any of them, and I said so. Then, she asked me what book I would like to write. I started telling her my idea and I got more and more excited as I spoke. A few weeks later the head of Liguori, Luis Medina, flew down to Houston to see me, and we signed a contract.”
For more information on Meditations on Vatican Art, visit its website www.VaticanArt.org.