The Mark of a Mountain

“The mountains are calling and I must go,” a quote from John Muir, has always held a special place in my heart. This summer my family was fortunate to be able to visit my cousin and her family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There I began to learn what it is about mountains that captivates my heart the way it does-a connection to God. Mont Sainte-Victoire, an impressionistic painting by Paul Cézanne captures this feeling in the most beautiful way.

Cézanne was so mesmerized by the mountain of Sainte-Victoire in his homeland of France that he created around forty paintings and forty-five watercolors featuring this motif. To me, this testifies that mountains have a strong connection to our faith. Just as in the Old Testament, they give us a feeling of closeness to God. This beautiful painting represents the feeling of desire for Confirmation to me. As I am not yet confirmed, I feel a desire in my heart to be brought as close to God as this world will allow; this manifests in my heart as a proverbial journey up the mountain to meet God.

Mountains are often associated with wind, whether it be a breeze or a strong gust that threatens to pluck hikers off the path to the peak. It is well known that the Holy Spirit, who comes down upon those receiving Confirmation, is represented in a mighty rushing wind. This is represented in Hebrew by the word ruach (meaning a life-giving force), the word used to describe the first wind in Genesis. In the painting, Cézanne uses smooth brush strokes to represent the presence of wind and clouds blowing around the mountain, showing the presence of something greater than the mountain itself at work in his view.

Confirmation fulfills the human need for closeness to God by placing an indelible mark on the souls of those confirmed. This mark not only brings us closer to God, but strengthens our ability to be an example of His love in the world. The mountain represents a change in oneself, the idea that after reaching the peak one will be changed forever.  It is only with perseverance and fortitude that one reaches a mountain’s peak. At Confirmation the gift of fortitude is given to the candidates, a gift from the Holy Spirit itself to help the confirmed journey up the mountain avidly pursuing the God for whom all human beings intrinsically long.


3 thoughts on “The Mark of a Mountain

  1. You see the thing mountains is that they beckon us to climb them, just like our faith. Mountains, and faith, will change you for the better. But they take everything, and at moments of climbing a mountain you believe that you may never make it, yet you do. And at the top of a mountain is when you see the real beauty of the climb…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gary Clark says:

    Most thoughtful analogy. Many of the so-called Mountain Men of the nineteenth century referred to “God” in their comments about what they saw and experienced in exploring the West. In any case, I liked what you wrote.
    Keep thinking and keep writing about it.
    Grandpa Clark

    Liked by 1 person

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